House tours
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Gorgeous family house in the making…

On Saturday morning, we drove to the West country (Bristol) to go to a friend’s birthday party and while Steve and my brother Francois watched the rugby in the afternoon, I had a nice little time going to all my favourite boutiques in Clifton village including 18 – a gorgeous fashion shop, beautifully decorated with grey distressed floorboards, French antique furniture, mixing fashion labels from Paris, Belgium and Italy and fragrance from Miller Harris, accessories for the home from Daybirger and glassware from Henry Dean.

Being slightly hungover on Sunday morning, I was very much looking forward to having breakfast at Bordeaux Quay, a place which I raved about two years ago when we were living in Bristol and where we – being creatures of habit – had brunch every weekend but Sunday was a real let-down… Francois & I ordered the egg benedict but the bacon was so salty that we couldn’t taste the Hollandaise sauce (which frankly is the best part about the egg benedict!) and the bagel (normally nicely toasted) was also saggy and fried. Steve’s Bordeaux Quay breakfast wasn’t great either so that will be the last time for us there which is a real shame because I really liked the place…
Anyway….at lunch time, we went to our friends Peter and Gabrielle’s new house and I fell totally in love with their family home! I don’t have pictures of the whole house to show you because our time together wasn’t meant for me to act like a demented paparrazzi but they were kind enough to let me do so and let me sharing a few shots on the blog and although the house is not finished yet, I thought it looked already amazing enough to share a few of G’s decorating ideas.
Gabrielle used to work for world-renowned designer Nina Campbell and she is now a freelance interior designer and as you can see her tastes and style are impeccable. The whole house is so light and airy that one just wants to hang out, bare feet and relax. When they bought the place from Gabrielle’s parents, it was quite dark but it had beautiful features like the stairs (below). They got rid of the bathroom which was where I was standing to take this photo and now the staircase stands beautifully between the kitchen and the lounge making the whole landing very luminous with the light flooding from one room to another.

I love this gorgeous Egyptian lampshade that Gabrielle bought from a shop in Amsterdam (about £350) which doesn’t look too ethnic but looks just perfect coming down on their beautiful and spacious staircase. Gabrielle thinks she will eventually buy another couple but smaller to create a cluster. They’ve also painted all the floorboard in white which is a very economic way of freshen up a space but also gives their house an incredible light all day long. It is also very child-friendly as the kids can run around bare feet and if they drop food on the floor, it can easily be cleaned up unlike carpets.
The kitchen is also very airy with natural light coming from a gorgeous sash window. They fitted a black marble top which they bought from the internet for half the price. Gabrielle was really keen to have a white top but was advised against it as it would have stained easily so she went for a gorgeous black top that works better for their family-friendly house and looks perfect with the grey kitchen units painted in Lamp room Grey from Farrow & Ball. They got the unit doors made by a local carpenter but fitted on standard kitchen units (like Ikea’s)

Everywhere I looked, I was smitten and I can not pinpoint anything in particular but the whole feel was genuinely warm and beautiful. I love their old kitchen table which was there when they moved in and on which they fitted a stainless-steel sheet. I also like the simplicity of the white shelves with a few pieces mixing vintage English cups with simple, contemporary chinaware and glass water jugs and the vintage chairs painted in ‘taupe’…

The lounge is a large, welcoming room painted in a soft beige with french armchair (similar to this one) and a beige sofa with antique table lamps Gabrielle got from a place near Alfies Antique market and I absolutely love these old, scratched and distressed looking French bookcases which Gabrielle plans to paint but I really hope she doesn’t because they look amazing just the way they are.

And the garden….well like the rest of the house…..beautiful, beautiful and beautiful….Look at how amazing these old metal stairs are. I mean if you were trying to re-create a shabby chic look, you could not achieve this amazing look in a million years (shame about the branch but I love these 2 shots of Steve)

Well in a nutshell, it was a fabulous weekend so a big thank you to Mandy & Ackland for letting us stay in their home while they were away and Peter and Gabrielle for having us.
Filed under: House tours


Founder of Award-Winning Concept Store BODIE and FOU (now closed) & Photographer, UK's Top 10 Design blog, mum of one cool surfer, 23 years in London, now living by the beach in France, married to a kiwi.


  1. Hi, I’m new to this blog and I totally love it. I am from Italy and I sell stairs kit. I need to contact you for a collaboration. I’ll try to reach you using the contact form, but please send me a private email to this address.
    Kind regards
    Johnny Fontanot

  2. Pingback: Bodie and Fou: A FEEL-GOOD FAMILY HOME IN BRISTOL

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