My Style Story: Mary Berry

The doyenne of home cooking tells us about her go-to colours and collection of antique books

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The first piece of furniture I ever bought was a small, light-mahogany dining table for £30 from Bath Market in 1960. I restored it myself and we still use it to this day.

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The oldest thing in my home – apart from its owners – is a cookery book dating from 1660.

The newest piece of furniture we own is a dining room table that we had made by Guild Anderson Furniture Ltd. It’s beautiful – round in shape with pedestal legs in a lovely light oak. It seats eight people as we love to entertain. I prefer a round table as I feel it’s naturally more sociable.

At the top of my wishlist is an AGA cooker. It’s at the heart of the home and is so warm and cosy. I’m always cold, so leaning against an AGA is the place for thoughts and warmth.

My most treasured possession is my diamond engagement ring, which was made from two antique earrings that belonged to my mother-in-law.

On a free day you’ll find me in the garden, picking flowers or hoeing – weather permitting!

My home in one word? Classic. My husband, Paul, is a retired antiquarian bookseller and art dealer, so we have a lot of artworks and books, along with inherited furniture. Paul loves dark wood. The kitchen, however, is my domain and it’s more modern with traditional styling and design.

I’m currently collecting antique mugs, siting hens, glass… You name it, I collect it!

On a free day you’ll find me in the garden, picking flowers or hoeing – weather permitting!

The artistic skill I wish I had is to be able to paint pictures, rather than just walls.

At the moment I’m reading Down to Earth by Monty Don. I have a huge soft spot for him as I’m a passionate gardener and love anyone with great knowledge whom I can learn from.

Mary is an avid collector of sitting hens, much like this Staffordshire hen on nest tureen, £625.54 from 1st Dibs. Soft aquamarine is one of her favourite shades. Try Aquamarine Pale Absolute Matt Emulsion, £21 per litre from Little Greene.

I like to listen to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Chris Evans and Graham Norton on BBC Radio 2.

The colour scheme in my home is grey and pale aquamarine. These are currently my favourite shades as they are so muted and gentle.

My kitchen is special because it’s light, warm and definitely a working room. I also choose to write at my kitchen table rather than in the office.

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Classic by Mary Berry (BBC Books, £26) is on sale now.