Trip The White Fantastic


Effortless and timeless, white is the blank canvas for stylish living, as crystalised by Chrissie Rucker OBE, Founder of The White Company. Natalie Flaum reveals the power of the white interior.

Patterns and colours come and go, but white is classic yet modern and, just like a little black dress, wonderfully timeless,” says The White Company founder, Chrissie Rucker OBE "Whoever we are, whatever our style is, white always works.” From the very beginning, Chrissie’s vision was to create a destination famous for carefully curated, beautifully designed luxe white pieces for every day, bridging the gap between designer and high street.

Based on the reality that the colour white can be a thousand tones and gentle muted shades, beautifully designed products range from the softest Egyptian linens to the finest cashmere socks. From humble beginnings to a global brand showcasing some of the most elegant British lifestyle collections, The White Company offers a multitude of luxe fashion and homewares. With a focus on texture and comfort, brand identity has remained a bedrock of the company since its foundation in 1994.

Chrissie attributes the success of a white interior to natural materials and finishes, including weathered wood, ‘slubby’ linen, marbled slate, stone, sisal floors and simple greenery, all of which add texture, interest and connect us to nature. “A white and neutral home never dates and is a wonderfully peaceful colour to live with,” she says. “It’s also the perfect canvas for art, antiques and discoveries to stand out.”

In 2017, together with her husband Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt shirt company, the power couple received OBE’s for services to businesses. Chrissie’s Buckinghamshire home that she shares with her four adult children Tom, Ella, India and Bea and their four dogs, perfectly encapsulates her pared-down aesthetic. Rooms echo soothing, neutral palettes of chalky whites, creams, pale greys and taupes. Chrissie selected a warm white shade, Paper and Paint Library’s Slate 1, to decorate her home. A seagrass staircase and bedroom floors, natural wooden and stone floors, fused with antiques and modern furniture and window dressings reveal layers of natural linens and voiles, for an ethereal feel. “Home is a magical place, somewhere to cherish and make memories,” Chrissie enthuses. “Creating a home we love, is one of the most important things we can do, which takes love, patience and time as it continually evolves with us. I like mine to feel inviting, calm, organised and peaceful, full of family and friends to enjoy long lunches at the weekend, play games, have fun, turn the music up and dance. I’m a great believer in buying essentials that will stand the test of time and be loved for many years to come.”

In 2014, The White Company set up Chrissie’s White Heart Foundation, an initiative that focuses on helping vulnerable people in the UK have brighter futures. The foundation focuses on three charities; The #ChangeAGirlsLife (#CAGL) Campaign for Women Supporting Women at The Prince’s Trust, of which Chrissie is Founding Gold Patron of, St Mungo’s, who work to prevent homelessness and provide life- changing support and mental health charity, Samaritans.

With a ‘strong and safe growth,’ mantra, Chrissie is focused on ensuring her work remains pure and true to its belief as it always has. An outstanding achievement for a sixteen- year-old school leaver, who at 24, using £6,000 that her grandmother left her, started a business from her attic. That initial 12-page mail-order brochure has become a global must have and boasts more than 60 UK stores. “I’m not someone who tends to look back,” she says. “Often what comes with every mistake, and we’ve made plenty, are great ideas or new ways of doing things. The wrong decisions can inspire great ones moving forward.” Chrissie reflects on what she’d say to her younger self or to aspiring entrepeneurs; “When you stand at the door of a crowded room and feel daunted, know that at least half the people there feel the same way. Be brave, walk in, smile and say hello, you’ll be amazed at how many interesting new friends you could meet and what can happen.”

Chrissie's White Guide

With our homes being a real investment in cost and time, here’s Chrissie’s lowdown to unleash the power of white:

• White and neutral homes need to be emotive and feel sensory, there’s nothing lovelier than fabrics, throws and textures that feel wonderful to the touch - a soft rug underfoot, or a diaphanous drape at a window can truly transform a room.

• White pigments in paints not only bring rooms to life, but they also accentuate architectural details, mouldings and woodwork.
• In this hectic world of constant connectivity, bedrooms need to be a calm space to retreat to with accessories that make climbing into bed a joy. I’m quite evangelical about sleep, our Canadian goose down pillow is an absolute must and a bedtime read always helps me sleep better.

• Layered soft white towels create a spa feel to your bathroom. Scented candles and diffusers create warmth and an ambience to any room and are a mood enhancer. There’s something about the ritual of lighting a candle to disconnect and totally unwind in the warmth of a flickering flame.

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