Home in on Happy… with Josie Fear
For the next chat in our Home in on Happy series, we sat down with the lovely Josie Fear – fashion, lifestyle and beauty blogger! Moving out of London last year to the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, Josie has settled into a stunning grade II listed 14th century rectory and is transforming it into the perfect countryside home for herself, her partner Charlie and their two dogs Dexter and Dickens. We chatted all about discovering her interior style, and how Josie creates a happy home – read on to discover more!
Josie’s interior style
I’d describe our interior style as classic English countryside, with a little bit of farmhouse aesthetics thrown in! Our style has changed hugely since moving from London to the Cotswolds, and we’ve taken time to invest in high quality pieces that will last a lifetime, as well as playing around a little more with colours and textures, and learning to be a bit bolder with our choices!
Above all, I want to create an environment where we can feel completely relaxed and at home in, and a place that our guests will also be able to truly relax in. Our dogs are allowed on our sofas and we want each space throughout the house to feel homely and cosy, as opposed to too tidy and perfect. The overall atmosphere of our home is definitely the number one priority – I want to evoke that sense of calm and ease, as well as comfort.
My favourite feature in our home has to be the fireplaces. We amazingly have 14 fireplaces in the house and the one in the drawing room where our sofa.com Poppy armchair lives, is my favourite. It’s a real ‘wow’ moment when you step into that room for the first time – it’s so massive and tells such a story about the history of our home. If you look closely you can even see some medieval markings to ward off witches! Kind of cool, kind of creepy, but we love them!
Finding interior inspiration
I find inspiration for our home quite literally everywhere! I have to say that Instagram, and specifically finding accounts of homeowners that have properties of a similar aesthetic to ours was great over lockdown, and incredibly inspirational. I also love following interior designers, and aspirational locations such as Babington House, Heckfield Place, Thyme and plenty of others.
Now that we’re able to visit these places in person, I’ve found them even more inspirational, and we take a lot of our interior inspiration from locations like this. We also frequently visit Soho Farmhouse, which is a key source of inspiration for us!
Styling a space
When I start thinking about styling a space, the first thing I consider is how I want that space to feel. Do you want the space to be opulent, rich and luxurious? If so, then think about which fabrics would help emulate that feeling – emerald toned velvets are often the perfect way to bring a touch of opulence to a space. If you’re looking to create more of a relaxed, cosy space where you can put your feet up and light a fire, perhaps earthy tones and natural fabrics could be a perfect fit.
These thoughts help you to start piecing together a colour palette, and think about the materials and textures that would fit in with the atmosphere you’re looking to create.
For example, one of my favourite rooms in our house is the drawing room, which has the most beautiful wooden flooring and wooden panelled walls. These features were key considerations when choosing furniture and accessories to complete the space – we wanted pieces that felt opulent, to tie in with the rest of the room, yet really cosy and inviting. We chose sofa.com’s new Poppy armchair to sit next to the fireplace and it’s the perfect size for this space – big enough to fall asleep in with two sausage dogs on your lap (very important!) – but not so huge that it demands too much space in your room. We adore the classic design of it and chose English oak legs, which work perfectly with the floor and walls. We loved the huge range of fabric options and in the end went for Frost Highland tweed, which has a soft, natural look with a nod to farmhouse style and feels really cosy – which is exactly the vibe we wanted to create in this space.
I love using a web tool called PicMonkey to make collages, it’s like photoshop for beginners! I add in paint colours, light fixtures, rugs, furniture and everything in between to create a collage that represents the space I want to create and shows how everything would fit together.
My advice to anyone starting on an interiors journey like us would be to not feel afraid of making mistakes, or making changes! If you’re nervous, just start small – don’t underestimate what a huge difference something such as changing the drawer knobs in your kitchen can make! Make the experience fun – play around with colours and think about textures too. Collages are a great way to get an idea of the different elements you’d like to include in a space, and if they work together, so play around with collages first, and then go for it!
Creating a happy home
It’s never been more important to create a home that exudes happiness, whether that’s whilst spending an evening in curled up on the sofa, or having everyone around and filling the place with laughter.
Charlie and I have always been the couple that have people over, whether it’s for brunch, dinner or just to spend the day together – we absolutely love to host! Whether it’s Christmas drinks or Charlie’s epic (and legendary!) Sunday roast, entertaining is something we both love to do and something that was so important to us in creating a happy home. We want our guests to instantly feel at home at our house, and I think we’ve managed to achieve this. Now that we are out in the Cotswolds, the odd dinner turns into a weekend away; our house is always filled with friends and family, and everyone treats it like their second home – it’s what we always wanted.
Comfort has a huge part to play in creating a welcoming and cosy atmosphere, so we were really careful with choosing the key pieces of furniture for our home. We wanted traditional and timeless designs in beautiful fabrics to fit in perfectly with the aesthetic of our English countryside 14th century property. Our main sofa in our family room is sofa.com’s Teddy sofa, and it was the classic design that drew us to it initially. We have the four seater, so it works perfectly in our living room – plus its huge plump cushions draw you in after a day in the garden! You literally melt into the sofa, instantly wanting to grab a book and enjoy the rest of the afternoon or evening cosying up by the fire, with your feet up on the Humphrey footstool. Trust me, once you settle in, you’re not going anywhere for a while!
If you’ve enjoyed reading our chat with Josie, head over to Instagram, where you can take a look at our recent #HomeinonHappy campaign, and follow Josie and Charlie’s interior journey at @oldhouseourhome!