At Home With: Pearl Lowe in Frome

woman sitting with dog on sofa next to drinks trolley

The interior designer and Babington House member shows us around her magical home in the Somerset countryside - and tells us why she just can't do modern

By Kate Lough    Thursday 17 January, 2019

Just outside arty Frome at the end of a long lane, you’ll find Pearl Lowe’s magical Grade II-listed 19th century house. Part gingerbread cottage, part fairytale castle and part manor house, Pearl, her husband Danny Goffey and their children moved into the house and its rolling acres of Somerset countryside in 2017 after five moves in 11 years.

On the outside, with its turrets, mullioned windows and pink-tinged stone walls, it looks like the perfect fit for a sugar-coated Tim Walker set; inside, it’s a riot of ribbons and roses, Pearl’s flea market finds and fairytale dresses hanging from antique armoires.

Here, the interior and fashion designer gives us a glimpse into her family home, telling us about her design inspirations and why she just can’t do modern.

How did you find the house?
A good friend of mine told me about it, telling me I’d flip when I saw it. I thought it was incredible but it was out of our budget. Six years later it was still on the market and one day I bumped into the owner, who said: ‘Come and see it again, I just know it’s your house… make me a silly offer’. There were horses in the fields, the sun was out and it was just so magical, so we did. At the time we were living in a farmhouse sandwiched between two dairy farms and it just wasn’t working for me. This is the first house I can honestly say I don’t want to leave; it’s very pretty and that’s how I decorate too - whimsical and fairytale-like.
double bed in bedroom with large wardrobe and rugs
How did you go about renovating the house?
At the beginning, I was overwhelmed by the vastness of it - it has 11 bedrooms. My first priority is always to get the previous owner out; I don’t keep anything. With this house, I did it all in eight weeks, including the plumbing, the electrics and even changing every light switch - they have to be gold. But I did make a few mistakes, which is why this is the third round of decoration. I should have had proper plans drawn up for each room like I do for my clients. It’s always better to live in a house first and then renovate room by room; you need to understand where the light is and how colour will work in different rooms.

What’s your favourite room?
Our bedroom. When you’re little, a bedroom should be magical and enchanting with lots of sparkle. When you’re older, it should be sensual. Ours is inspired by Morocco: it has a pink and green colour palette, the wallpaper is Nicholas Herbert and the curtain fabric is by Kate Forman - with a rug from The Beldi. My friend Zoe Grace made me a neon hart in a bell jar, which turns the whole room red and is beautiful at night. And our kitchen, where we spend all our time. I especially love the gallery wall which Danny put up - he finds all our art.
fireplace with elaborate floral design on mantle
bottles and glasses on bar cart
Tell us more about your interior aesthetic?
I like things to look magical, feminine and flouncy - even the boys’ rooms. My son Frankie has a turquoise attic room with an antique French orange velvet bed we found in Frome and Moroccan rugs on the floor. I like lots of prints and fabrics and textures all thrown in together so it looks cosy and makes you want to curl up. Most of all, it has to feel lived in - I hate the stark look.

So you’re more of a vintage person?
I can’t buy modern. I love anything that’s old and has history. It drives Danny mad as antiques do tend to be rickety - he’ll pull out a drawer and it will fall on the floor or the knob will fly off. But I like that broken edge and things that are imperfect - there’s a beauty in that because it means somebody else has owned it and loved it.
two cosy armchairs in a living room
Where do you go hunting for antiques?
Flea markets are what gets me up at weekends. Around here, there’s always one on a Sunday so I’ll get up at the crack of dawn to get there before anyone else - you have to if you want the best stuff. There’s one in Shepton Mallet that’s brilliant - once I got there too late at 8am and missed out on the most beautiful French wardrobe, but I did recently find some chenille curtains and a rug for the kitchen for £20. With antiques, when you find something you love, you should just buy it. I still think about a 1920s mirrored bar that I didn’t get in Camden years ago. I also find - and sell - a lot on eBay, particularly armoires.

What else inspires you?
I tried Pinterest but I started following thousands of people and had to shut it down. But Instagram has been incredible, I follow so many wonderful interior designers in France. In fact, I’d describe my style at French rather than British and I get a lot of inspiration from travelling there. I love Cligancourt market in Paris - I found a fringed lamp there that’s now in our living room. Danny went mad because we were on our way home on the Eurostar and it was so heavy. We got stopped at customs and so he said it was his great-grandmother’s who’d just died and we had to bring it home. Perhaps it’s better to go with a van…

Next on my list is Brussels, my friend who runs the Pig hotel gets everything from there. 


Images by Milo Brown

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