India Hicks invites us inside her childhood home, the serene Oxfordshire estate where her father’s design legacy continues to inspire.
Published Oct 9, 2013 3:01 PM
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The Grove, the Hickses’ Oxfordshire estate since 1979, is surrounded by rolling wheat fields, perfect for quiet strolls or (for the children) four-wheeler adventures.
During a recent visit to The Grove, India Hicks strikes a pose while son Conrad swings by.
The library is furnished with what David called a “red-and-blue Turkey carpet,” and a wingback chair covered in one of his iconic textiles, Herbert’s Carnation Weave. Marbleized paper pasted onto the existing lampshades produces a custom look.
Though India now lives in the Bahamas with her partner, David
Flint Wood, and their four children, she often returns to her family home in Oxfordshire, where her mother still resides. “It’s a constant retreat,” says India, “a place where the family can gather together
and relax, and where my mother feels totally at ease and happy.” Together, David and Lady Pamela—whose parents, the celebrated Lord Louis and Lady Edwina Mountbatten, were confidantes of the English royal family—filled their new house with family treasures. These range from the precious, including the seven portraits by 18th-century painter George Romney that now hang in the drawing room, to the sentimental, such as David’s mother’s repurposed velvet evening dress, which he had recut to cover the wall above the library’s chimney. Unlike in the Hickses’ previous residences, which had doubled as showrooms for David’s avant-garde designs, “nostalgia ran riot” at The Grove, writes their son, designer Ashley Hicks. Here, they freely created a tradition-infused fantasy of English country life.
To lend a vintage touch to the hall’s rustic charm, David laid its floor with 18th-century waxed York flagstone (lifted from the kitchen of the family’s former home). The walls are covered in melon-colored paper and framed in wide brown borders.
The drawing room, The Grove’s largest space, was added onto the home in 1790, giving the farmhouse’s simple dimensions a touch of grandeur. Hicks covered the room’s walls in pale pink cotton and added the white marble mantelpiece.
Beside a large Regency-style window, Lady Pamela’s desk overlooks The Grove’s sprawling gardens, a passion of David’s final years.
Low-key beige strapwork carpeting lets the room’s exquisite antiques shine.
India relaxes on her father’s chintz-covered half tester bed in the room he referred to as his “small white mezzanine library.”
These grisaille panels, by renowned artist Rex Whistler, were commissioned by Edwina Mountbatten in 1937 to adorn the bedroom of her London penthouse. Two years later, they were placed in storage to survive the London blitz; David eventually had them rehung in The Grove’s dining room.
These alphabet charms, created as a tribute to her father’s famous four-H logo, make simple, elegant accessories.
India’s jewelry was inspired by the geometric patterns of her father’s textiles!
An improvised bar makes creative use of open space beneath the stair.
India and Conrad stroll through the estate’s allèe of clipped chestnut trees.
A view of The Grove, as it appears from its formal gardens.
The mudroom is home to the family’s country garb.
Sculpture with hat
The biggest changes David made to The Grove occurred outdoors—though they had a
profound effect on the house’s interiors. After two trees were strategically uprooted outside
the drawing room, what had once seemed a narrow space was suddenly flooded with light,
with direct sight lines to a landscape that would become an extraordinary view. He had,
writes Ashley, “looked out the window, and seen that the garden was another part of the
room.” It was the start of the elaborate, 18th-century-inspired gardens David would devise
and construct throughout the property over the next 19 years, until his passing in 1998.
Over time, these projects would become, says India, “my father’s masterpiece