Art sculpture

Janine Stone: creating spaces to display your art, your sculpture, your car or even your wine collection

A beautiful interior provides the perfect setting for valuable collections, from paintings and sculptures to classic cars and vintage wine. Janine Stone sat down with Country Life’s Giles Kime to share her tips on how to create the perfect display space.

If you explore Britain’s grandest country houses, it becomes clear that their beauty lies not just in the architecture, but also in the treasures that fill them. An integral part of the magic of homes, art has also served a variety of functions over the centuries, from demonstrating family ties to shaping foreign travel itineraries, particularly in the 18th century when painting and classical sculpture transformed the houses into monuments to their origin. Grand tour of the owners.

Today, the best collections are equally eclectic, reflecting the breadth of an individual’s tastes and interests. In this regard, the art collection can offer people the opportunity to express their personality, as well as create spaces that are both distinctive and individual. For the interior designer, integrating a collection into a home is both an exciting opportunity and a challenge. If art gives soul to a space, it needs a framework that is both friendly and pleasant to live in.

A designer with a long history of juggling these different elements is Janine Stone, whose practice is responsible for designing some of the world’s most luxurious homes, both new and old. Her work not only demonstrates the magic that art adds to a room, but also how it can be seamlessly integrated into the best of 21st century living. Here she examines the transformative possibilities of combining high art and design.

What advice would you give to those wishing to start a collection?

The more beautiful works of art you look at, the sooner you will discover the styles, subjects and art forms that you are instinctively drawn to. The longer you watch, the deeper your interest and passion is likely to run. Public and commercial galleries, real and virtual, offer a rich vein of inspiration wherever you are in the world.

What is the best way for collectors to exhibit paintings?

So much is dictated by style and size. Displaying isolated paintings will put more emphasis on each of them than hanging a number nearby. However, grouping artworks with a similar theme or subject can create the multi-layered and eclectic feel of an art gallery.

It is also essential to consider sightlines from the positions at which an artwork is most likely to be seen and how these interact with furniture and architecture.

What role does lighting play in the display of works of art?

In dimly lit – or dimly lit – spaces, it is important that artworks are bathed in a sympathetic light that makes them more visible. However, the lighting should not be so strong that it distorts the appearance of an object — and the light source should always be as unobtrusive as possible.

Is it better to integrate collections or create a dedicated space?

It all depends on the depth and breadth of your art collection. Ceramic and glass lend themselves to display in lighted wall cabinets and can look striking in a purpose-built space. A large, airy and well-lit space is also the ideal setting for sculpture. Both can be easily installed in lobbies and other internal circulation areas.

How is it possible to ensure that a piece finds its place in an interior?

The rules are the same as those for incorporating any other element into a space; there must be a harmonious balance between scale, proportion, color and texture. This is not an object or work of art that matches its setting – sometimes dramatic contrast can work brilliantly. Instead, there must be a mixture.

An important and sometimes overlooked aspect of artwork is the frame: in a period setting, there is no doubt that an ornate frame can complement both a painting and the room in which it is displayed. However, in a more uncluttered space, artwork with simple frames – or frameless – can often sit more happily.

And the other collections?

A gallery-style space is not only the perfect setting to store a classic car, but also allows its owner to enjoy it in a comfortable, well-lit environment. Beautifully lit vintage wines also create a striking backdrop for the tasting rooms.

Janine Stone & Co specializes in the construction and renovation of residential projects, incorporating architecture, interior design and construction management, and has provided Country Life with professional knowledge and expertise through this series of ‘Masterclass’ over the last few months – below you can see links to other masterclasses by Janine.

To speak with Janine Stone & Co about your project, please telephone 020–7349 8888 or visit

In the third in our series of masterclasses, interior designer Janine Stone answers Giles Kime’s questions about how to