At home with Penelope Chilvers in her Romantic Cotswold house with Home & Garden Magazine
A story of a finding the perfect country retreat as an antidote to city life. Our Founder & Creative Director, Penelope met recently with Ticky Hedley-Dent of Home & Garden Magazine.
Looking for a country retreat as an antidote to city life, Penelope found this charming house in the Cotswolds, and set about making it the perfect place for working and entertaining.
It was a romantic notion of emulating Laurie Lee's nostalgic world that sent footwear designer Penelope Chilvers and her husband Steve to look for a house in the country. Their search began in deepest Lee country around Stroud, but when they walked into this house near Burford, they fell in love with it immediately. “I wanted something authentic and in its original state, rather than something that had been modernised. My brief to the estate agent was if it had an island I wasn’t interested!” she laughs. Made up of three former workmen's cottages knocked into one five-bedroom house, this fitted the bill perfectly.
Penelope took on the interior decoration herself, having worked as an artist and interior designer in Spain before her career as a shoe and boot designer took off. “I made a pledge to myself that I wouldn’t buy anything new. I wanted to find a house we could fill with secondhand and old things that were given to us.” The house is the antithesis of the John Pawson house she used to live in in London. “I always found I created such a mess there because it had lots of straight lines and minimalist interiors. It’s not that I am a hoarder, it's just I like to have the stuff around that I am using as inspiration for the next collection.”
With their children grown up and no fixed timetable to follow, the couple split their time between here and their house in Notting Hill. “I ban the conversation about when we are going back until Sunday night. I am trying to be here more than I am in London.” Penelope spends a lot of time in her study on the ground floor. “Luckily I’ve got the room with the best view and I sit at the desk and look out onto the garden and up the hill.”