RH takes the U.K

Words by
Jemima Sissons

6th June 2023

RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, launched its UK expansion on Saturday at one of the Cotswolds most iconic stately homes, Aynhoe Park, with an incredibly starry party, reports Jemima Sissons. Not content with renaming their business, they’ve renamed the house too, as Aynho Park.

For the last few years there was only one place those in-the-know were making a sequined beeline for afterhours at Wilderness Festival – Aynhoe Park, a buttermilk pile owned by rave entrepreneur James Perkins. Goldie would play in the secret subterranean nightclub and liveried butlers served vodka on the rocks to the merry crowd. If those walls could talk.  

Now it has a new lease of life – as the U.K headquarters for RH, the billion-dollar U.S lifestyle and interiors brand. Or, to give it its full new name: RH England, The Gallery at the Historic Aynho Park.

Gary Friedman and guests at the launch of RH England at Aynho Park
(L-R) Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Gary Friedman, chairman of RH, Sydney Sweeney, Zoe Saldaña and Bella Hunter

An opening party on Saturday night heralded its glamourous arrival. As the setting sun bathed the elegant bones of the 17th century Grade II house in golden light, rock violins played a riff on the Succession theme tune. Very apt, as a stream of well-heeled locals swept in with half-term tans and jaunty suede driving shoes, to sup on Cipriani’s Bellini and morsels of caviar-topped potato. 

Against a bucolic backdrop of bleating ovines, overlooking the Cherwell valley, elegantly clad influencers and actors from Sydney Sweeney and Michelle Dockery to Zoe Saldaña and Regé-Jean Page drifted around, to dine on 72-hour fermented sourdough pizzas (the best in the shire we think) from The Loggia, the new informal pizza terrace at the house. This was washed down with Rumor rosé from the Wine Lounge next door. 

RH England includes an exhibition dedicated to British architect Sir John Soane

Photography courtesy of RH

RH England includes an exhibition dedicated to British architect Sir John Soane, who updated Aynho Park in the early 19th century

RH England’s Aynho Park also features The Juicery, and fine dining restaurant The Orangery, which served up wagyu beef and cauliflower steaks, accompanied by glasses of British sparkling wine Hundred Hills or fresh grapefruit spritz.  

Sky high heels tapped along the limestone lobby to the dedicated John Soane exhibition space downstairs, while upstairs the rooms at Aynho Park embody Soane’s design ethos of classical antiquity with mid-century modern that now serve as showcases for RH furniture.

The fine dining Orangery Restaurant at RH England, Aynho Park

Photography courtesy of RH

The fine dining Orangery Restaurant, RH England at Aynho Park

Further upstairs, in the former servants’ quarters, visitors will find the latest in luxury home furnishings from RH’s Interiors, Contemporary, and Modern lines. The east wing houses the RH Interior Design Studio, featuring beautiful room sets, and a design library showcasing a breadth of RH textiles, furniture, and lighting. 

Those with inglenook abodes look away – these pieces are on a US scale, and made for UK homeowners with capacious Cotswolds estates, or homes with proportions as generous as a Holland Park mansion.

The Gallery at Aynho Park houses the Architecture and design Library for RH England

Photography courtesy of RH

The Gallery at Aynho Park houses the Architecture and design Library for RH England

“While some call us the company formerly known as Restoration Hardware, we are not a hardware store”, said the very tanned CEO and owner Gary Friedman at the event. “We are not a travel or hospitality company. Our strategy is simple: we do what we love, with people we love for people who love what we do. Our vision is to create an endless reflection of inspiration and love that unites the human spirit, that we hope will change the world.” 

Idris Elba hit the decks at RH England

Photography courtesy of RH

Idris Elba DJ-ed at the launch party for RH England at Ayhno Park on Saturday night

As the moon rose, Ellen deGeneres briefly took to the decks - her wife Portia de Rossi supplies RH through her art publishing company General Public - drawing an enthusiastic dancefloor. She was joined by Idris Elba whose fusion of soul, funk and '80s remixes played perfectly to the multigenerational crowd.  

Only 18 minutes from Bicester Village and an hour from London, Aynho Park must now be one of the most desirable destinations outside the capital for those looking to update their wardrobe or house and make a healthy dent in their wallet – or to just share a truffle pizza and blush pink bottle of rosé in one of the country’s most beautiful settings.  

RH England opens June 9