Retrouvius worked with Katie and Alex Clarke on the interior design for The George when they first opened in 2006 and, despite the trauma of fire damage in 2019, it has been a great privilege to work together again to help bring it back to life. 

Refurbishing the building has been a project of longevity and of rekindling relationships, not just with Katie and Alex, but with the building too, and also with James Stevens, one of our first employees at Retrouvius and now of BARD who we collaborated with closely on the design.

Our approach celebrates the history and feeling of the building and structure, wherever possible. Fire damage made it possible to open up the flow of the public spaces, while still respecting the floorplan of the original C18th coaching inn. The bar, restaurant and parlour are a series of rooms that bring people together, whether for milestone celebrations or cosy, regular gatherings. In the journey from the bar to the restaurant and up to the ballroom, there is a transition from earthy charm to high glamour. 

Given the architecture of the building, each of the thirty-four bedrooms has its own distinctive character with bold use of colour and vintage textiles guiding the artistic language. In the public spaces, we have introduced salvaged materials that bring a relaxed tactility; the pine cheeseboards, a Thames barge sailcloth, Iroko lab tops, cast iron tiles and leaded windows. These reclaimed elements have tangible soul – you don’t need to know the provenance to feel their warmth.