Gloriously decadent but well lived-in, fashion designer Alice Temperley’s country home is a positive treasure trove of decorating inspiration. In this extract from Faded Glamour, her friend Pearl Lowe’s beautiful new interiors book, we take a tour of this Somerset party pad
WHEN ALICE ISN’T ENTERTAINING, THE DINING ROOM DOUBLES AS A STUDIO WHEN SHE NEEDS TO SPREAD OUT. IMAGE: AMY NEUNSINGER
Romantic, dreamy, luxurious, ornate and above all, quintessentially British – these are just some of the adjectives that spring to mind when thinking about the creations of the fashion designer Alice Temperley, but they could just as easily be applied in turn to Cricket Court, the eight-bedroom Regency mansion in the heart of Somerset where she resides when not running her eponymous and much-coveted label from London.
Built in the early nineteenth century, Cricket Court – set in five acres of land – is the most extraordinary house. When Alice was once asked to describe it, she joked that it reminded her of ‘an M.C. Escher wedding cake’.
(LEFT) OLD MEETS NEW IN THE DOMED LIBRARY WHERE CHURCHILL WAS ONCE ENTERTAINED BY THE HOUSE’S PREVIOUS OCCUPANT, LORD BEAVERBROOK; (RIGHT) THE ARCHES, PILLARS, ALCOVES AND FLAGSTONE FLOOR, SEEN HERE IN THE HALLWAY, ALL CONTRIBUTE TO THE SENSE OF GRANDEUR. IMAGES: AMY NEUNSINGER
Deliciously whimsical to look at it may be, but it is also a house steeped in history. It was here that the Canadian newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook resided during the Second World War, where he is said to have entertained Churchill in the house’s domed library. There is also an original Tudor bear pit within the grounds, which now – fitted with a makeshift dancefloor – has a new, more entertaining and less grisly lease on life, serving as Cricket Court’s very own nightclub.
Those familiar with Alice Temperley’s designs will recognise her deep fascination with heritage. Modern and edgy as her creations are adored by some of the most stylish women in the world, they defy trends by being classically timeless at the same time, and this sense of style is reflected in her country house, where she playfully mixes the old with the new.
Alice has, with her inherent romantic aesthetic, created a whimsical, enchanted world here.”
Alice is a great standard-bearer for all things British, which is fitting when you consider that she was awarded an MBE for her services to the fashion industry in 2011. Images of the Union Jack are a recurring theme throughout the house.
ALICE’S LIVING ROOM. THE MODEL SHIP ON THE MANTELPIECE WAS A GIFT FROM ALICE TO HER SON, BECAUSE AS SHE SAYS: ‘ALL LITTLE BOYS LIKE PIRATES AT SOME POINT!’ IMAGE: AMY NEUNSINGER
Alice isn’t afraid of colour, either – rooms are painted in rich hues: dark aubergine, robin’s egg blue and dusky pink, and are made even warmer with vibrant rugs and textiles. Against this backdrop, she has adorned the house with eclectic finds from the local flea markets: twinkling candelabras, vintage glassware, bespoke china and stacks of rare books are some of the treasures that Alice’s eye is drawn to.
What I love about this house is, that despite the grandeur of the building itself – which in other hands could look austere and formal – Alice has, with her inherent romantic aesthetic, created a whimsical, enchanted world here. Yes, it’s palatial, but at the same time it’s very much a home. It’s the kind of house where you’d feel equally as comfortable arriving for lunch in your Wellington boots after a long dog walk, as wafting into the dining room on a warm summer’s evening in a sequined dress, with a glass of something cold and sparkling in hand.
THE ER ROYAL CYPHER ABOVE ALICE’S BED IS FESTOONED WITH UNION JACK FLAGS – A NOD TO HER SENSE OF PATRIOTISM. IMAGE: AMY NEUNSINGER
And that’s exactly the feeling Alice wanted to create when she bought the property in 2010. Raised on her parents’ cider farm along with her three siblings, despite her achingly cool credentials in the fashion world, she is very much a Somerset girl at heart, and she wanted a country retreat where she could recreate her idyllic rural childhood for her son, Fox. And while this isn’t her primary residence, it’s a home that is very much about family and friends, where children are encouraged to run wild.
Just as this house is very much about people – and parties – it’s also Alice’s sanctuary, a place where she seeks refuge from the day-to-day demands of running her hugely successful brand.”
Saturday nights are heavenly affairs filled with people and music, which she is passionate about – so much so the house even boasts its own piano room. On Sundays there are long lunches where family and local friends are encouraged to bring a dish, washed down with cider from the Temperleys’ farm. Don’t be surprised if a four-legged guest is present either – Alice is the proud owner of two alpacas and her neighbour’s miniature donkeys can often be found wandering into the drawing room.
IN CONTRAST TO ALICE’S OWN QUIRKY BATHROOM, COMPLETE WITH DISCO BALLS AND A MIRRORED ROLLTOP BATH, THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM HAS A MORE TRADITIONAL FEEL. IMAGE: AMY NEUNSINGER
Her annual summer fete has become legendary – it’s where artists, musicians and other creatives gather in the lantern-festooned garden before hitting the bear pit for dancing at sunset. But just as this house is very much about people – and parties – it’s also Alice’s sanctuary, a place where she seeks refuge from the day-to-day demands of running her hugely successful brand.
A spacious, airy workroom is filled with swatches of cloth and jars of sequins and beads, tables stacked high with piles of photography tomes she uses for reference [pictured top]. Dressmakers’ mannequins are dotted around the house, testament to the fact that it’s here, at Cricket Court, that she derives much of her inspiration and puts pen to paper in the first stages of her delectable designs.
This house, to me, is the epitome of chic, faded glamour, it’s a house of stories – old and new – and is very much Alice Temperley’s own Wonderland.
Faded Glamour by Pearl Lowe, published by CICO Books (£19.99). Photography by Amy Neunsinger © CICO Books
Read our interview with Pearl Lowe and take a tour of her beautiful Somerset home here.