From Glastonbury Tor to Jane Austen's beloved Bath and, of course, our very own Babington House, Somerset has always held a fascination for creative types. It's why jeweller Solange Azagury-Partridge spends as much time as she can at her country escape, a jewel box of a house nestled in the green hills of this most beguiling corner of England. She invited us into her topsy-turvy home, a Wonderland-like warren of colourful rooms, prints and patterns and told us how she created her sanctuary.

'We’ve had the house for nine years now and the way we found it is to me like a fairy-tale. My husband came to see a couple of houses in the area, didn’t like them, went for a drive, wiggled down this road and saw a tiny little ‘for sale’ sign. He knocked on the door, the woman said ‘yes it’s for sale’ and he called me up so excited saying "I’ve found it, I’ve found it!". It’s got a turret! I mean, how exciting is that? When I came down I saw it in the driving rain, pitch black and I still loved it. It’s a tiny hamlet – school house, church and this was the coach house. It’s quite higgledy-piggledy and it’s been added to over the years. It wasn’t in my style but it was solid and well maintained.

We’re here every two or three weeks, we do a long weekend, the odd week, bring people with us or our kids will bring their friends. I think the nicest thing if you’re a host or hostess is to let people do their own thing and just come together for lunch and dinner and feel free. The bedrooms are quite cosy so it’s just family and very close friends. The first thing I do when we come down is walk around the house, opening it up, turning on the radiators, getting the lights on, making it feel like home – within the hour. I put the plants where there’s a bit of light and they survive month in month out; I just put them in their correct place and it feels alive again.'


'Clutter to some is minimalist to others! I’m sure this is quite busy for a lot of people, but it can never be too busy for me, I can never have enough pattern or colour. It’s about your own taste and what makes you happy. I definitely think you can mix periods and styles, I don’t think there are any rules on that level. I’ve always known what I liked. I think a lot of people worry about how it’s perceived and so they go for the safe option. Then there’s a lot of people who don’t even know where to start which is fair enough, they’ve got other skills. I think each to their own. But when people decorate a place in order to sell it, then it becomes incredibly bland. You should be able to go somewhere and see beyond the surface to what you could do with it. You want to live in it and enjoy it and feel safe and warm and comfortable, you’re making your home for you.

The office was the room I liked the least, but now it’s one of my favourites. Sometimes when something is a real challenge you invest more time into thinking about it, finding a solution. The sofa was from one of my shops, some things I had in storage; I just got everything out and rejigged it a bit. Some things I haven’t upgraded or changed yet. I think that sofa was red for a while, then it became white and then I got the wallpaper so it changed again; it’s constantly evolving. I hardly have anything new. Most things are old. They used to call me the sofa lady because I kept getting sofas delivered! I have about 11 sofas in the house now – something ridiculous like that. I need to be able to lie down every few steps! That chair’s been to Paris with me, to London, it’s come here. I don’t think it’s a real Eames – I got it off a skip. It’s had three different types of cover. If something’s got good bone structure you hold onto it and a lot of old pieces do.'

Creature comforts

'I love a lamp with a barley twist stem and a beautiful lamp shade. I love mohair throws and a lovely candlestick - you can never have enough candles. People can never believe how hot this house is! A lot of our friends have ‘authentic’ draughty country houses, but we’re Londoners, I can’t cope with feeling cold!'

Think pink

'The first thing we did was I painted the whole house pink. Then it was a process of layering. The kitchen was actually the garage and we only did the knock through three years ago. It was a gradual process while we were coming up and down [from London] – when there were big jobs to do, we could just not be here for a few weeks and then it would be done.'

Setting the scene

'I remember going into a friend’s house in Paris and they had fabrics on the walls. I was quite young and it really marked me, I just thought how luxurious, comfortable and rich it felt and I always wanted to do that. So now I’ve got the house covered in fabric! I just nailed it on the walls, it’s not padded or done properly. It’s a bit like a tent – I could strip it all off, lift up my rugs and it would be as if we were never here. It’s like a set; I could recreate this space anywhere because I’ve got all the elements I’d ever need.'

Outside in

'Whatever the weather, this place makes you feel like you’re in a summer field or something. When the weather’s gorgeous it’s lovely to have the windows and the doors open and let nature and the outside in. There was definitely an idea to bring the outside in so that did inform the way I did it, but who knows... When I decorate I suppose I have one idea and I go with it. I just moved into a new office and I covered it floor to ceiling in dark brown cork because I wanted one big pin board, so everything flowed from there.'


'Somerset’s got a real mythical vibe, hasn’t it? It’s Avalon and Camelot, it’s also the rolling hills, it’s a really beautiful landscape. A lot of our friends have moved here, even my son now lives in Somerset permanently. It’s a lot of likeminded people. The Babington aesthetic is the cool country house, but it’s also very welcoming, very warm, very cosy, very comfortable. It’s definitely played a big part in this area. We’ve got Babington, Hauser, the Chapel – all these incredible, very sophisticated places. Even one would have been enough but we’re spoilt for choice. When you’re a Londoner it’s hard to change your habits! Before everyone would go to the cities but now, every town in the country is becoming a little hub of its own and young people are moving there. There are drawbacks to the internet but it’s enabled people to live far away from the centres and create a more holistic life for themselves.

Inspiration is everything, isn’t it? It’s a feeling. You just want to create a feeling of wellbeing. And what is your home if not your sanctuary from the outside world? I love my bedroom, it’s like waking up in heaven. It’s the light, the fabrics I’ve used, the view of the garden, the way the sun comes in. When I wake up in that room I just feel so happy. When I decorated my shop for the first time, I said it is like a jewellery box which means that the people are jewels as well. I think this house is a little jewel in its own right.'

Babington House

Our Babington collection includes textiles, furniture, statement lighting and accessories found in and inspired by our very first country House.