Bohemian rhapsody: designer Alice Temperley’s whimsical Somerset home

Back within the spring, vogue designer Alice Temperley was scouring on-line market Preloved for classic cloth and ended up within the pet part. “Within an hour, I had driven five miles up the road and come home with a house rabbit. Florence is an amazing character, either very rampant or very cuddly. She lives under the piano in the sitting room, where we all hang out.”

“We” is Temperley and Fox, her 11-year-old son, any chickens who “just come into the house when they feel like it” and naturally Florence. The 4 llamas stay exterior. “They’ve always got their heads just slightly over the garden wall.”

Freedom and flare are the watchwords in Cricket Court, Temperley’s Somerset home, a Grade II-listed stone folly inbuilt 1811. She rented it in 2010 “when I was desperate to get out of London and have some space with my child”. She’d appeared spherical it one “golden evening” along with her father, who lives on a cider farm in the identical city, the place Temperley grew up. “The house seemed like a magic place. I hadn’t seen a house like it.” She finally purchased the eight-bedroom Regency manor home and, two years in the past, moved down completely.

Window on the world: the light-filled kitchen. Photograph: Andrew Farrar/The Observer

There is a superb synergy between the rule-breaking interiors and Temperley’s romantic collections. “There is escapism in the house and in my work,” she says, whose followers embrace Florence Welch, Beyoncé and the Duchess of Cambridge. “It’s totally Alice in Wonderland, totally creative. It is fairytale, and I am not going to deny that.” There are even fortress ruins – Plantagenet, no much less – within the grounds that embrace paddocks and woodland.

The limitless rooms work a type of Britpop wit underpinned by a really grown-up English nation home aesthetic. It’s all about mixing various things that work collectively, says Temperley. “It’s the same as when you are doing a collection – an eclectic mix tells a story.”

His-and-hers bogs make the purpose. “Hers” is reached by way of a small staircase that descends from the principle bed room. “His” lavatory is “up”, reached by one other small staircase. The bathtub in “hers” is a basic rolltop, the partitions are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Pelt – “deliciously deep purple and one of my favourite colours” – and there’s a conventional sink, gilt mirrors, a kilim and shuttered home windows. So far, so protected and English trad. Except that the bathtub is roofed in a mosaic of mirrors, working a disco vibe on a picket ground painted with a Union Jack. “My friend [model] Jade Parfitt and I just decided to smash the mirror up,” says Temperley. “Four o’clock,” she provides, “is a good time to get in the bath with a bottle of cider. The light is great then.”

The ornate bathroom with rolltop bath

‘Four o’clock is an effective time to get within the bathtub with a bottle of cider’: the lavatory. Photograph: Andrew Farrar/The Observer

Temperley may be very keen on a disco ball. Her boyfriend, Marcus Cresswell, has made her “the most amazing pizza disco-oven. It sits out on the terrace by the blossom tree.” Another disco ball hangs out behind one of many portico’s 4 pillars, like a glowing visitor ready to be requested for a dance. “It fell during a storm. I stuck it back together and glued flowers in it to hide the damage.” A fibreglass statue of a Grecian youth lingers close by. “It’s totally out of place,” says Temperley. “I just think it’s entertaining.”

The youth would possibly properly really feel intimidated by the home’s classical options that embrace a double-height entrance corridor with domed ceiling. “You walk in and you’re surrounded by Venetian pillars and look up to the dome. The guy who designed the house [it was built by Stephen Pitt, a relative of Pitt the Younger] was obsessed by light, as I am. Every room has a ceiling detail. He was also scared about fire. A metal balcony runs all the way round the house.”

An ornate ceiling

Looking up: an ornate ceiling. Photograph: Andrew Farrar/The Observer

More gentle pours into the round, wood-panelled library that includes a domed ceiling painted in deep sienna. It’s completed off with an oculus, or glass opening. Winston Churchill held secret conferences right here with British and American leaders in 1944, when the home was owned by the media magnate Lord Beaverbrook. A Tolstoy scion, Count Nikolai, purchased the pile after the warfare.

Plaster roses are strewn throughout the coffered ceiling within the eating room, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Turkish Blue. Its French doorways lead on to the gardens, which overlook the Quantocks. In case the view wasn’t bucolic sufficient, a mural of silver blossom and peacocks, painted as a present by domestically based mostly artist Frederick Wimsett, enlivens one wall, and a pendant chandelier from Sunbury Antique Market at Kempton Park presides over the lengthy oak eating desk, initially from Wells cathedral and picked up from Glastonbury Reclamation.

Additions had been made to the older a part of the home, which, says Temperley, explains why there are 5 flooring on one aspect and three on the opposite. “It’s a mishmash of floors and weird little staircases and windows.” Its historical past makes itself felt, nonetheless. “There’s a weird dungeon in the basement. I don’t go in there at night.” In reality, the cellars, thought to this point from the early Tudor interval, home a bear-pit, one in all just a few remaining within the UK.

A vintage headdress

A classic headdress. Photograph: Andrew Farrar/The Observer

The front room is a cosier affair, and basic Temperley. When she moved within the partitions had been painted “a horrible yellow, washed with sponges, and it was full of the worst English chintz you can imagine.” The partitions and the curtains at the moment are aubergine: “Really earthy and really calming.” A golden palm tree, discovered on Golborne Road, close to London’s Portobello market, sits in a single nook, simply because. “It’s the dogs bollocks,” says Temperley, who likes to “plonk”. This explains the pirate ship, moored in entrance of the Venetian mirror that hangs above the Regency hearth. Two lamps inlaid with glass and a chinoiserie display purchased in Hong Kong add extra glitz, whereas the ottoman is roofed in “amazing fabric with silver discs all over it” and sports activities a candelabra on a brass tray.

The messy luxe vibe continues in Temperley’s bed room, the 9ft-wide mattress, handled to a rotation of quilts: someday leopard print, the following, one thing floral. An ER insignia with Union Jacks poking out of it hangs over the mattress, a pair of pink and crystal wall sconces both aspect on the Farrow & Ball Hermitage Pink partitions. Temperley can be keen on a flag. Her newest, a whopper union flag from Portobello Road, is to hold within the courtyard.

Wardrobes aren’t a lot in proof. “I have a beautiful vintage clothing collection and just hang pieces around. Otherwise you never see them.” A Turkmenistan bridal robe and a Japanese kimono cling by the window within the visitor bed room and over the ornate headboard hangs a framed fragment of Chinese embroidery that belonged to Temperley’s “amazing” grandmother, a collector of materials.

Fox is equally industrious. When he’s not practising within the piano room that adjoins the lounge, overseen by Florence the rabbit, he’s outdoor. “He has to do his chores and feed the llamas in the morning.” Then it’s breakfast within the kitchen, its conventional items designed by Elliott & Co: Out of The Wood and painted a smooth inexperienced to match the Fired Earth wall tiles, vases stuffed with flowers from the backyard. The brasserie mirror was picked up at Clignancourt flea market in Paris. “Everything finds its home. That’s what I love about collecting.”

Art course and vogue styling by Violet Naylor-Leyland; photographer’s assistant Noah Sagum

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