Trad gets a twist and battered is beautiful in party-girl-turned-designer Pearl Lowe’s Somerset pile
‘I love faded glamour,’ says Pearl, sitting on her favourite sofa with its scuffed gilt paintwork and gold-threaded fabric that’s been patched in places.
Pearl with Angie, her cavalier king charles spaniel, by the gallery wall in the kitchen, which includes I’m Not Sorry artwork by Zoe Grace (lawrencealkingallery.com)
‘To me, an object that was once the height of elegance but is now a bit battered has far more allure than something brand new. That’s why I’ve always been drawn to vintage clothes – why would you want to look the same as everyone else?’
Pearl, a fashion and interior designer, has the knack for spotting pieces with character, whether that’s an original 1940s dress or a quirky, slightly skewwhiff chandelier.
Just as importantly, she also knows how to put her finds together – and this rambling home is the perfect setting for her style.
Pearl and Danny’s Somerset home
Pearl, her musician husband Danny Goffey (of the 90s band Supergrass) and their children – Alfie, 21, Frankie, 18, and Betty, 11 – moved to this 11-bedroom Georgian pile in Somerset just over a year ago – but her love affair with the property goes back far longer.
‘Six years ago, a friend tipped me off about an amazing house that wasn’t even on the market yet. She said it was just so me. My reaction was, “Gorgeous, but ridiculously big” and so we dismissed it as a crazy idea.’
‘The kitchen is where we all congregate,’ says Pearl, pictured here with her daughter Betty. ‘Danny is an amazing chef who loves nothing better than cooking for everyone, so he’ll be working away while I’m just hanging out, chatting.’ The kitchen is by DeVol (devolkitchens.co.uk). The photograph on the wall is by Sam Taylor-Johnson (samtaylorjohnson.com)
Pearl and Danny had long since left their London partying days behind and moved to the country, but this house with its tall windows, worn-in floorboards and elegant plasterwork seemed to be waiting for them.
When Pearl bumped into the owner again she was about to reduce the price and the couple ‘couldn’t resist’.
In Pearl’s bedroom, wallpaper by Nicholas Herbert (nicholasherbert.com) provides a calm backdrop for statement touches such as the bed from The French Depot (thefrenchdepot.com) and vintage painting. ‘I found the chandelier as a tangle in an antiques shop,’ says Pearl, ‘and I’ve added to it over the years – it’s nutty but I love it’
Pearl’s take on country house style is woven through its spaces, with traditional wallpapers used as a backdrop to more eclectic contrasts.
Lotus wallpaper by Farrow & Ball (farrow-ball.com) and a leopard-print chair – an auction find Pearl had reupholstered – add a Biba-esque air to the bathroom Daisy uses when she stays. Below In Daisy’s bedroom, wallpaper by Little Greene (littlegreene.com) is a foil for dramatic Victoriana touches, such as the brass bed. For a similar one, try lookingforantiques.co.uk
In the bedroom for Pearl’s eldest daughter, model Daisy Lowe, Victorian Gothic furniture creates a louche, decadent mood.
Meanwhile, stripes and powder pinks in Betty’s room feel as if a circus troupe has just blown into town.
Betty chose her bedroom scheme herself, with monochrome stripes and checks softened by soft pink curtains. ‘There was no way I was getting a say, so I just went with it,’ laughs Pearl. The wallpaper is Farrow & Ball (farrow-ball.com) and Pearl made the curtains in velvet from Pongees (pongees.co.uk). The bed is vintage; for a single four-poster bed try Maisons du Monde (maisonsdumonde.com)
The living room sets chipped-gilt glamour against Babington House-style comfort and the kitchen mixes vintage finds with luxe marble and old-school cabinets.
‘I’ve always been drawn to a thrown-together look rather than anything too perfect,’ says Pearl.
‘I love furniture that says, “Once upon a time I was so glamorous, but now I’m older…” The same could be said of me!’ Pearl jokes. In the living room, her finds include a mirror from Les Couilles du Chien (lescouillesduchien.com), a vintage chest of drawers and a table lamp by Anna Hayman Designs (annahayman designs.com)
Living in the West Country means Pearl is well placed for seeking out the treasures – she regularly trawls out-of-the-way shops, flea markets and fairs.
‘I’ll tell you a secret,’ she says. ‘Lots of the “granny chic” furniture that ends up in London’s vintage shops is bought down here by dealers.’ That’s if Pearl doesn’t beat them to it, of course…
For Pearl’s fashion and interior designs, visit pearllowe.co.uk
Styling: Charlotte Page. Hair: Abigail Constanza (abigailconstanza.com). Make-Up: Lisa Caldognetto (lisacaldognetto.com). Flowers, saintfloral.co.uk