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Blue hand painted Cornish kitchen with Barneby Gates wallpapers

Country House Heroes

Barneby Gates – Wallpapers & Furnishing Fabrics

October. 2023
During a Guild Anderson colour consultation clients often arrive with a clear picture of the colours they want to use for their bespoke cabinetry.  Others reference a favourite painting, wallpaper or furnishing fabric to act as the starting point for colour choice.

One fabric and wallpaper brand we are increasingly seeing clients use is Barneby Gates; producing unique, contemporary wallpapers and furnishing fabrics from their studio in Wiltshire.

With a similar brand ethos to Guild Anderson; Barneby Gates offers a very personal service centred around a range of quality products, designed and printed exclusively in Britain. Barneby Gates wallpapers and fabrics are unique and diverse.  Their designs have a strong contemporary handwriting in both heritage and modern colour ways.  They are whimsical, yet they reference traditional English motifs, often with a sense of humour. They make you take a second glance.

Barneby Gates Pheasant Fabric - a symbol of the British countryside
Barneby Gates Pheasant Fabric - a symbol of the British countryside

UNIQUE CONTEMPORARY BRITISH WALLPAPERS & FURNISHING FABRICS 

Established in 2009 by childhood friends, Vanessa Barneby and Alice Gates, it is now a brand synonymous with contemporary British textile design.  Vanessa spent five years at House & Garden magazine before taking the role as Living Editor at British Vogue, where predicting trends in design, styling shoots and examining the correlation between fashion and interiors were all part of the job.

Alice studied figurative painting in Italy before achieving an MA at the City & Guilds of London Art School. She went on to collaborate with a number of fashion brands, designing prints for ready-to-wear collections.

Alice met Nick Anderson about 15 years ago when they were both exhibiting at Decorex.  Barneby Gates commissioned Guild Anderson to design and make an island unit for their stand that would house their wallpaper and fabric samples during the show.

This happened to coincide with Alice and her husband renovating their Wiltshire home.  Alice says that it was a natural choice to work with Guild Anderson to design their family kitchen and laundry room.  As a relatively young local Wiltshire based company she felt an affinity towards Guild Anderson.  She was drawn to the bespoke design and the possibility to create something that looked as if it had always been part of the period house.

Barneby Gates is a UK based wallpaper and fabric studio; the brainchild of lifelong friends, Vanessa Barneby and Alice Gates

Marratons kitchen, Cornwall home to Barneby Gates wallpapers and furnishing fabrics
Guild Anderson designed Marratons kitchen in Cornwall, © Ben Phillips Photography

CORNISH KITCHEN

In 2022 Alice was tasked with renovating her family home; Marratons in North Cornwall, and again she chose to commission Guild Anderson.  While the kitchen in Cornwall has a similar Shaker style, the bold blue colour choice and bespoke design mean that it feels very settled in its location by the sea. With an 18 month refurbishment now painstakingly completed, Alice is rightly proud of her former childhood home with it being recently featured in the October 2023 edition of The English Home Magazine with photography by Ben Phillips.

Alice is thrilled with both of her Guild Anderson bespoke kitchens for different reasons.  While the Wiltshire house feels more like a farmhouse with its wooden countertops and brass Armac Martin handles, the Cornwall property boasts a glazed cocktail cabinet, polished concrete worktops and Buster and Punch hardware.  When questioned about whether there is anything that she would change, she can only think of one thing – “open shelves – they need dusting!”

Known for a diverse range of prints, combining traditional techniques and historical reference with a fresh, contemporary twist

BARNEBY GATES Deer Damask, Claret & Gold
Barneby Gates Deer Damask wallpaper, Claret & Gold

INSPIRATION

Having both grown up in the English countryside the Barneby Gates head office is now located just outside Pewsey in Wiltshire.  Housed in a beautiful courtyard of barns, it is no wonder Alice Gates’s starting point for all her designs is nature itself; intricately woven through each collection be it expressed in more obvious motifs such as pheasants, bees and deer; or in a more subtle way through geometric forms inspired by the shapes of a flower.

With 14 years of trading under their belt Barneby Gates have secured quite a cult following for those seeking contemporary designs with a traditional twist.  In the past 5 years their international stockists have grown with agents throughout USA, and more recently South Korea and Japan.  They have a keen following in Scandinavia; where Alice confesses that they understand our brand and its edgy and often less traditional aesthetic.

Testament to the strength of their collections, their first design Deer Damask is still in existence.  They are now seeing a resurgence in demand for the design due to its popularity in new areas of USA where clients are using it for their ski lodges and country retreats.

Hand-drawn, designed and proudly printed in England, their collections includes wallpaper by the roll, fabric by the meter and a range of cushions hand-sewn in the UK

Vanessa Barneby & Alice Gates, Burleigh x Barneby Gates
Vanessa Barneby & Alice Gates, Burleigh x Barneby Gates

COLLABORATIONS

Twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, they launch 2 new wallpapers, with coordinating collection of 13-15 fabrics launching every 2-3 years.  More recently they have found that clients and designers are shopping in a different way and are far more used these days to Instagram as a new way of communication.  Now when they launch a collection they have a ‘launch lunch’ inviting press and influencers for a more informal and personal presentation.

They have a history of collaborating with other brands and designers and their next venture sees them creating wallpapers based on two of Burleigh Pottery’s designs.  Burleigh is the last pottery of its kind, where the best of British ceramic design and craft manufacturing is protected and celebrated. They produce handmade tableware, teaware and gifting items, and have been proudly making earthenware since 1851 in Stoke-on-Trent.  They were approached by Burleigh because they too use traditional printing methods and follow a similar brand ethos.  

Barneby Gates’ beautiful prints lend themselves to any surface and they are now naturally looking to expand in to other areas.  Alongside the wallpapers, fabrics and cushions, this year Barneby Gates have launched a new range of lampshades using their own fabrics.  All made to order they are the perfect addition to any room and a great way of introducing their inimitable designs in to your home.

Their wallpapers are printed on environmentally accredited paper using non-toxic organic pigments

Marratons kitchen island with polished concrete worktop
Marratons kitchen island with polished concrete worktop, © Ben Phillips Photography

COLOUR

Often the colours used within their designs are unique to them, adjusted here and there to ensure the print is a true representation of their brand.  Alice loves the colour combination of pink and green, offering that it doesn’t have to be sickly sweet or overly pretty, and if used in the right way is calming and fresh.  Another favourite is Indian ochre yellow paired with denim blue grey; a bold colour combination, not for everyone.

Alice encourages anyone frightened by print to embrace it.  Big bold patterns can work anywhere.  Some of Barneby Gates collections are large scale prints, so if you feel hesitant then chose a colour that you love and work that through your interiors scheme instead.  To layer prints she suggests “starting with one print that you like, then layer others that work together to create a rich and interesting room”.  Again colour can be the tie that binds the designs together.

Guild Anderson’s goal is to create bespoke cabinetry for modern family spaces which respect the architectural heritage of our clients houses.  To encourage clients with a period property to move away from traditional fabrics and wallpapers, and embrace their more contemporary prints, Alice Gates suggests to not be constrained by the period of the house.  The bones of the house will retain its heritage, but you can create a very contemporary interior with clever use of interesting fabrics, wallpapers and colour.

If you have a country house project that wish to discuss, please contact us

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