When Pearl Lowe moved to Somerset five years ago she stripped her farmhouse right back to its bare boards and began again. With her distinctive style, a vibrant mix of clashing prints, strong colours and vintage boudoir chic, the house seems both comfortable and effortlessly cool. Pearl takes Country Calling on a tour around her home and opens up her West Country interiors address book.
This room really seems to encapsulate your style as a mix of modern and vintage. Do you start out with an idea of the whole or collect things and then see where they work?
It really depends on the room or an item I've bought, but most of the stuff I have, I've had for years. The chairs are painted junk shop finds that I've been collecting for years, the chandeliers are from Ollie's (Ollie & Bow 69 Golborne Road London) in Golborne Rd and La Belle Etoffe in Frome and the wallpaper is from Lewis & Wood. I don't know what draws me to a piece, but if I can't live without it, then I'll buy it.
Wallpaper is clearly one of your passions – in some rooms you’ve put it on the ceilings as well as the walls. What do you love about it?
This house was super modern when we bought it, the walls were perfect, there were white slate tiles everywhere, so the only way to make it look vintage, was to cover the walls and ceilings with wallpaper and the floors with oak wood planks from the Frome Reclamation Yard.
Love the turquoise-y blue – did you always have that colour in mind? How much input did your children have into the designing of their rooms?
My son Alfie has white washed over that gorgeous colour since that picture was taken. I really let the kids choose their rooms, I just fill it with lovely furniture. That turquoise colour is Aqua from Zoffany, it's in the kids bathroom too.
This room is really feminine with its rose pink walls and feels very decadent having a bath in your bedroom.
I love my bedroom, it's so cosy. I'm really obsessed with 1920s decor, so I wanted to create that look for this room. The 1920s mirrored chest of drawers I bought 12 years ago in Lisson Grove in London. The bath is wonderful apart from when I have to go to work and my husband is sleeping, so I have to have baths in the dark.
Clashing wallpapers and prints seems to be one of your hallmarks – how do you make it all work? I’m guessing there’s a method behind the madness that pulls it altogether? Did you find your furniture locally?
My husband insisted on buying a red velvet sofa from Rachel Ashwell, so we worked around that really. The fringe lamps we collected, one from Paris, one from Bath and one from Judith Michael & Daughter in Primrose Hill in London. I'm quite into throwing everything together and hoping it works.
I love the way the kitchen feels modern but countryish at the same time. It looks like a very relaxed and light space – did you have to change a lot to make it that way?
We literally had to rip it all out and start again, our friends Matt and Jay and my husband Danny did such a great job creating a vintage kitchen. I love white painted floorboards, but they're just not practical downstairs in the country especially with muddy children and dogs. I love the way floorboards look, I can't stand carpet.
Would you recommend some of your favourite West Country places for vintage house finds?
My favourite shops in Somerset are Susannah and The Antiques Centre in Bath. In Frome particularly on Catherine Hill there are so many - I love Le Belle Etoffe, antiques shop The Crowman (27 Catherine Hill), vintage clothes from Poot (23 Catherine Hill) flowers from Bramble & Wild (13 Catherine Hill) and Holly Anna (9 Catherine Hill) and Antique & Country Living (43-44 Vallis Way BA11 3BA). Then there's the Trading Post in Wells and all the brilliant reclamation yards: Wells Reclamation Yard, Frome Rec, Glastonbury Rec. All my wallpaper was sourced online from Wallpaper Direct.