Minding Her Manor

© Andrew Lawson

The manicured gardens of Anouska Hempel’s home outside London reveal yet another aspect of the designer’s array of talents.

There, you can see how I work,” says Anouska Hempel of Cole Park, the stunning 16th-century manor house west of London, in Wiltshire, where she has lived with her husband, financier Sir Mark Weinberg, and their children for three decades. “It’s a nice, old house,” she says. “But the gardens that envelop the house make it really special.”

Hempel, known also as Lady Weinberg, is one of the most in-demand names working in interior design today. Her clients have included luxury favorites like Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef & Arpels, along with the Warapuru Hotel & Resort, in Bahia, Brazil, and the Baccarat Hotel in Rabat, Morocco. She is also behind her own successful line of restaurants and hotels—notably Blakes, one of the first so-called boutique design hotels, in London, and La Suite West, in Notting Hill. Her London- based studio, Anouska Hempel Design, specializes in not only residential, retail, and hotel interiors but also furniture, yachts, and, of course, landscape architecture. “If you can design one thing, you can design anything if you’ve got two wits about you, a keen eye, and a good team,” she says. At Cole Park, the 20-plus rooms of the house are immediately recognizable as Hempel designs, particularly in their attention to symmetry and layering— two Hempel signatures.

When she moved into the manor, there was very little landscape design other than a square moat that enclosed the property— a feature that she had always wanted—dating back to 1602. As Hempel began to design the manor’s surroundings, she made sure that every door from the home had an avenue that led to an edge of the moat. She planted rows of meticulously manicured trees and greenery on the sides of neat gravel pathways and imported more than 1,000 white horse chestnut trees from Germany to line avenues. Like her interiors, the landscape is controlled and perfectly defined.

Hempel also used plants and flowers to soften the sharpness of walls and hedges. She added wisteria along walking paths and kept the property’s original and much coveted Wellingtonia tree. In a newer outdoor area that she calls the cathedral, imposing beech hedges are cut into walls that surround two rows of dome-shaped lime trees lining both sides of an outdoor marble dining table for 20 people.

One would think that after her efforts, Hempel’s work is done, but she notes that Cole Park’s landscape, as living sculpture, is never finished: “You don’t stop. Gardens have to be maintained, looked after, revisited.”

Image Credit: © Jonathan Weinberg

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