Welcome to the fourth episode of the Great Indoors and do we have a treat in store for you. But first, as ever a huge thank you to DFS for their continued support and sponsorship and our fab producer Kate Taylor. If you haven’t already, you can listen to the full episode here.
Firstly, let me set the scene for today’s location. Kate and I were lucky enough to be sitting with a view of the gorgeous Somerset countryside through equally gorgeous Georgian windows from a rather Insta famous kitchen. Surrounded by fringed lampshades, modern art, neon signs and vintage pieces, we went through the keyhole to interior and fashion designer, former singer/songwriter, wife of a pop star, mum-of-four Pearl Lowe.
So Pearl’s extensive country pile has been a true labour of love. But Pearls heart was captured on the very first viewing. When she arrived, the elderly owner was tobogganing down the hill and the deal was done. Then she discovered the house had no central heating ‘far too expensive!’ said the old girl and the doubts set in. After a few years on the market the price came down and Pearl was finally led by her heart and it’s truly her dream home and she is convinced, as is Kate and I, that you do find the house that you are meant to have! Despite the enormity of the project, with its eleven bedrooms (!), Pearl has made it work for her and her family. I love the fact that she shuts half the house off in the winter to save on heating bills and they rent out the house for shoots and short stays so the house can in part it’s earn its keep as much as possible.
We went on to chat about her beautiful deVol kitchen and she very openly admitted that she did, in fact, have a bit of a disaster initially where she gave them the wrong measurements for her fitted alcove cupboards. It’s so refreshing to hear that even seasoned designers make mistakes. Although there were weeks of tears and despair, peppered with grovelling to kitchen company, it was all finally sorted and Pearl got this room absolutely right, wouldn’t you say!
I love the fact that the hand made kitchen feels and looks very authentic and individual and that’s partly due to all of the ‘Pearl’ touches, like the incredible lighting, vintage pieces and gallery wall. Kate and I loved the varying worktops – you don’t have to stick to the same throughout the kitchen, mix it up a bit. The units are also partly glazed, open shelves and mixed up with vintage free standing furniture for a really eclectic look.
Moving on to the living room, it was actually Pearl’s husband Danny Goffey, who insisted the original green wallpaper had to go. It gave him connotations of a 1980’s conservatory! So, after quite a few ‘conversations’ and deliberations they went with the same wallpaper by Robert Kime but in the fabulous red colourway as Pearl wanted to introduce some warmth to the room. The scheme became even more dramatic with the charcoal painted curved window and original shutters – no plantation shutters much to Kate delight! I think that’s another potential design crime on the horizon!
On to the floor – for you devoted listeners out there you may remember in the 2nd episode of the third series of the Great Indoors Kate and I chatted about layering rugs for added texture and interest and low and behold – Pearl has nine of them in the living room over a fresh off-white floor. In terms of heating the large room, Pearl has some nifty little fans on top of her Charnwood log burner from Amazon which helps circulate the heat round the room.
Round Dining Room
The moment you walk into the striking round dining room, the first thing to hit you is the zebra tablecloth (which Pearl made) over the bespoke oval dining table. Pearl had the idea one evening that she would love a window seat, so the fitted bench was added to create a very sociable dining space and it’s actually very clever as it makes the most of the rooms space. Just not great for who ever is sat in the middle, if they need a comfort break!
The house of Hackney wallpaper wraps around the whole room, and with the black lace panels at the window, really makes for a dramatic space for late night dinner parties. The dining room also doubles up as Pearls office, and there are racks of her vintage inspired dresses and piles of her flea market spoils.
Up the Roger Oates candy striped stairs to the bedrooms. The landings are papered in Pearls impressive range of wallpapers, all available at Woodchip and Magnolia. From the landing you can get a glimpse of her incredible bathroom. Where she uses alot of black black downstairs, I love the way she uses pink link all the rooms in the house together up stairs.
Last time I visited Pearls house this bathroom was papered in an incredible chinoiserie green wallpaper and i absolutely loved it. But for Pearl it wasn’t right and if something doesn’t sit right with her, she changes it! So here is her bathrooms new incarnation, complete with these amazing pibk Bert and May tiles. And the copper roll top bath is a real show stopper. Again the newness is quickly wiped away by her collection of authentic antique foxed mirrors and sheepskin rugs everywhere!
Pearls own bedroom is a song in dusky pink and green. Her amazing bed, inspired by the 1930’s is in fact from Soho Home and was made for Pearl especially. She’s teamed it with vintage mirrored bedside tables. She has a vintage mirrored chest of drawers and dressing table too and was an early adpoter of the mirrored furniture trend. But she says it’s almost impossible to find it anymore and if you do it costs a fortune. her love of Morrocco is also scattered throughout the house with her enormous collection of Berber rugs.
The butterfly mirror that stars in daughter Daisy’s room is going to be on the cover of Pearls new book, Faded Glamour (out 8th October, pre order here). It was a rather expensive market find that she just couldn’t live without. The book was born after visiting so many houses that she just loves, it was time to share her passion for all these spaces and of course her own house.
If you follow Pearl on Instagram @pearllowe, like me, you will know that she is an avid vintage buyer and is known to visit many an auction and flea market. After being inspired by Marie Kondo Pearl has adopted a new shopping strategy – only buy things you love and things that make you joyful.Pearl also has a wonderful fluidity about what she owns and seems only very attached to a few key pieces. Daisy laments that she never recognises her bedroom (she lives in her own flat in London full time). And Danny has literally had the rug taken away from under his feet as he sits in the living room, shouting, ‘Hey Pearl I like that one’, to which she replies, “Sorry darling I’ve sold it’! If you follow Pearl on Instagram she regularly puts her vintage treasures up for sale and helps source amazing one of pieces for her clients. She has an expert magpie eye.
Of course we had to ask Pearl her top tips when buying vintage online. Key is to be as specific as possible, it’s all about finding those key descriptive words that will show you what you are looking for, and this seems more trail and error than any hard formula. “Watch out for anything that says ‘antique style’ as you’re likely to end up with a reproduction piece”, which declares Pearl is her Design Crime.
Pearl’s go-to vintage sites:
Decorative Collective, decorativecollective.com
The French House thefrenchhouse.co.uk
Rag & Bone ragandbonebristol.com
You can view Pearls dresses and accessories at Pearllowe.com.uk
You can pre-order her book, Modern Glamour here