As The White Company has evolved, I have learned that there are many simple decorating and styling tricks that make such a difference to how a white home can look and feel. When I think of my favourite white spaces, I think of the spa-like feel of an inviting bathroom, layered with soft white towels and flickering with candlelight. I imagine a kitchen full of sunlight, where the cupboards hide neat stacks of pure white china all ready to go. I picture a wonderful bedroom, a true retreat that offers perfect comfort and vital rest at the end of a busy day, and, of course, comfortable, inviting living spaces with a roaring log fire and cosy seating.
Our love of white is stronger than ever. In our hectic age – an era of constant connectivity – the idea of creating a peaceful white home and its relationship with calm and well-being seems more valuable than ever.”
The White Company’s Chrissie Rucker tells SO magazine why white is so right:
How did the idea for your book first come about?
I had been thinking for a while about how we should celebrate the 25th anniversary of The White Company, and we knew that we wanted to do something really special to mark the occasion. We had also been tempted by the idea of a book now and again, but knew that we only wanted to go ahead when it was definitely the right time and the right idea. So For The Love of White was a result of everything coming together just in the way that I’d hoped, and we are all really proud of the book.
What makes this book special for you?
It was important, right from the start, that the book celebrates real homes that are not just wonderfully white and neutral but also full of character, personality and individuality. That was the starting point, in a way, with this idea of showing how white can work so beautifully in very different settings, whether it’s a town house, a country cottage or a seaside escape. These are restful, relaxing and comfortable homes layered with white, but they are also full of life.
Will we see your own homes in the book?
Yes, you will, as we wanted the book to have a personal side to it and I wanted to explain some of the ideas that make my own living space so special to me and to my family. But For The Love of White also celebrates a spectrum of other homes that use natural tones and textures in a rich variety of ways and in some very different places. There are period country cottages, city retreats and even a lighthouse, all belonging to creative thinkers with their own fresh take on new natural living. There are architects, artists and designers in the mix, including friends from The White Company and beyond.
Does the book also offer some practical advice on designing and decorating with white?
Absolutely. It was really important to me that the book was not only about celebrating beautiful houses, which have been beautifully captured for us by photographer Chris Everard. I also wanted to look at styling details and design ideas along the way, and pick out the things that make those spaces really special and inspiring. So you will see pages all the way through For The Love of White where we take a moment to look at the layers, vignettes and finishing touches that help bring these spaces to life and add character and comfort. So there are plenty of tips and tricks to take away, whether it’s for a garden room, the kitchen, bathroom or a guest bedroom.
Do you think that white works in any kind of setting?
I think the book proves that, yes, it does. We have townhouses that are restful retreats where you can come in and close the door and forget about the city outside, which is really important when our lives are so hectic. But we also have country homes and seaside escapes where neutral colours and natural materials create a soft, warm and wonderful backdrop for family living. These are houses with big personalities and plenty of character, but that comes from the architecture, the materials, the fabrics and textures layered in ways that are subtle and sensitive.
Why do you love living with white?
For me, a white home is like a little black dress – it just feels right. It’s simple yet stylish, modern but classic. There’s a magical, calming quality to white and neutral spaces, and I think that’s become more important now than ever, given the pace of life, work and all the pressures that we have to deal with. We all need an escape and a place to feel calm and relaxed. That’s why white works so well for me, and that was also how The White Company started – offering all the essentials for living with white.
What makes a white room really come alive for you?
I think that’s what this book is all about – the layers and the little touches that transform a house into a real, living home. For me, an important and often overlooked aspect for any home is feeding all of the senses in a space. So touch is really important to me, and introducing lots of different textures, but sight and smell also need to be nourished which is why I love candlelight and being by the fireside or spending time in a beautiful spa-like bathroom. White speaks of purity and order, but it’s all those tactile elements that make natural and neutral spaces such a pleasure – soft white towels and crisp sheets, stacks of white plates and folded napkins at the dinner table, along with all those little, personal touches that make a house into a home.
What are the secret stories behind a successful and beautiful white home?
For The Love of White celebrates a lot of very different ways of living with white, which is one of the ambitions of the book. But behind all of these houses there is plenty of planning and thought. These are restful houses where the owners have spent a lot of time thinking about the layout and the flow of the rooms, the way that the lighting is going to work and what the focal points are going to be. Thinking about the details helps a space really work and function well, while plenty of storage helps to keep the house clean, calm and uncluttered. Once you have these basic elements in place, then it’s so much easier to hold onto that essential sense of calm and order.
Any special tips from your own home that you can pass on?
As you can see in the book, I love ‘engine room’ spaces like larders, pantries and laundry rooms. Even if they are small, tucked away spaces they make a huge difference to family living and help keep the rest of the house running smoothly. We all love a wonderful bathroom or a country kitchen, but I am also in love with my laundry and my larder.
If white is just a colour, why do you love it so much?
White is not one colour but a thousand different shades and tones. It’s this wonderful, soothing palette of naturals and neutrals that are all delightfully different from one another but work so well together. That’s what I love. White brings all the details of a room to life and then becomes this perfect canvas for all the layers that you want to add – the furniture, fabrics, art, books and little treasures. It works with the old and with the new, with antiques and modern pieces, so it becomes timeless. That’s why I love white so much, and that’s why it’s our foundation stone, both for my own home and for The White Company. That’s what For The Love of White is all about and that’s why white is stronger than it has ever been.
For the Love of White: The White & Neutral Home by Chrissie Rucker & The White Company is published by Mitchell Beazley, £30, and available in stores nationwide and from www.thewhitecompany.com and www.octopusbooks.co.uk The book was the 2019 number one interior design book in the UK, based on Nielsen-tracked sales.