Today on Interior Inspiration we will be looking at the beautiful Quintessentially English Home of Pauline Fox, the owner of Betsy Blair Home.
Tell us about where you get your inspiration from?
I’ve long been inspired by cosy, traditional, quintessentially English homes. Think ‘Rosehill Cottage’ from the movie ‘The Holiday’. My personal style is uncluttered; I like to have a place for everything and everything in its place (not that the boys in the family take any notice!). With that in mind, I tend to source furniture not just for its aesthetic appeal but for storage possibilities too.
Laura Ashley heavily influence my design choices and my current fabric crushes can be found in the designs of Cabbages and Roses, Kate Forman, Ernest and Matilda and Sarah Hardaker. Fabric has often been my starting point when creating a room design.
Rachel Ashwell, the creator of Sabby Chic, was my next big influence. I was able to create a similar relaxed, time worn look, in a style which also suited my budget. Weather-boarded, Hamptons style homes are also a big favourite. I love the neutral backdrops and mix of materials particular to the style, featuring comfortable soft furnishings in mellow shades of pale blue and beige, complimented by the mixed use of wood and painted furniture.
Where do you like to shop for your home?
I have usually had to work with a small budget and have often carefully selected furniture and vintage items from charity shops, online auction sites etc, which I paint and up-cycle.
My living room seating is a mix of old favourite Laura Ashley and Tetrad, all lucky sale finds. I have benefited often from Laura Ashley’s excellent offers, anything from wallpaper and paint to large furniture items and the quality of their bed linen is excellent. I often buy soft furnishings and accessories from Ikea and Homesense (sister company of TK MAXX). Predominantly, I use Farrow and Ball paints and Little Green Paint Company for furniture re-vamps and shop locally for both.
Finally, of course I love to buy from independent retailers. A perhaps unexpected source of shopping for the home is Instagram, I have discovered so many wonderfully talented retailers, many of them independent, who are creating the most wonderful, often unique items with love, care and fabulous attention to detail.
If you could move your house to anywhere in the world where would it be?
I have to confess I’m not one of those wonderful globetrotter types, I’m a real home body, so have not seen much of this wonderful world! However, when I have ventured further afield, destination highlights for me were Boston and Manhattan in the US. I didn’t make it to the Hamptons whilst in the States so would love to visit one day.
I spent many weekends this summer looking at Universities with my youngest, travelling up hill and down dale. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of our countryside, architecture and history. York and Lancaster were both beautiful, Bath has always been a favourite, but it was Warwick and Leamington Spa that took my breath away.
That said, my ideal location for my home, would be the Cotswolds. It has everything I love in terms of landscape and architecture, it’s quintessentially English and is understandably designated as an area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Your favourite room?
My favourite room is our living room. The entire house needed a lot of decorative work when we purchased it 14 years ago. In the living room, we re-instated a reproduction Victorian fireplace and surround and also removed and replaced the very ugly brown wooden window frames. Fortunately the original wooden sash windows were still in place throughout the rest of the house.
The room has recently been re-decorated, with the aim of achieving an updated take on a traditional style. Featuring a calming, neutral palette of off-whites and pale, but warm greys, to enhance the light and create a far brighter space. However, I was also keen to maintain a cosy, comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, so introduced soft furnishings and accessories in varying texture such as wool and faux fur and used subtle, faded floral fabrics.
The area once designated as a study area has now been re-purposed as a dining-come-sewing space. I sourced second hand furniture which I painted, along with every other piece of existing furniture, and re-purposed to store my work materials from view when not in use.
Any advise for people that want to use your home as inspiration to create their own little slice of heaven?
My advice would be to find a style that suits your way of life, helps you relax and most importantly, makes you feel happy to come home. Research well, I’ve spent many a spare moment searching Pinterest, Google images, Instagram to find inspiration.
Also, shop carefully, remember that spending heaps isn’t imperative to achieving the home style you want. Any interior style, whether it be traditional or contemporary, needn’t be prohibited by a small budget. If you can’t find exactly what you want, have a go at making it, painting it etc. You will experience a great sense of satisfaction from creating something with your own hands. You may even, like me, find yourself with your own little business at the end of it!
More Images of this gorgeous quintessentially english home…
The Living Room
The Kitchen and Dining Area
By Ishari De Silva
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