See how Fearne Cotton found her happy
When broadcaster and writer, Fearne, discovered she was pregnant, the bright lights of the city no longer felt like home. It was time for her and her husband, Jesse, to look for their ‘happy place’.
As a young couple, Fearne and Jesse had built a life in a busy area of London and relished in having lots of cool restaurants, pubs and many of their friends on their doorstep, but when they found out they were expecting their first child together, that all changed…
“I started to see the fun elements of where we lived as problems. Suddenly, bustling London seemed too crowded, there seemed little need for going out late at night where often there would also be a lot of crime and our cool house lacked practical space and outdoor space for a little baby who would grow quickly into a toddling adventurer.”
With a growing desire to move to a quieter part of the capital to suit their growing family, it wasn’t until the day before Fearne went into labour they decided that moving back to South West London was the right move.
“We went for a walk by the river in this area and I felt a huge pull towards being back there permanently. It felt like the right move to make pace wise and we would also be a lot nearer to where Jesse’s older children lived which seemed even more important now they had a little sibling on the way.”
Over the next 18 months, and with new baby Rex in tow, Fearne and Jesse began their long search for their family home. Fearne said “at times it felt utterly fruitless!” 10 house viewings later, the family were tipped off about a house that was already under offer yet with little movement from the proposed buyers.
“As soon we walked through the front door, we looked at each other and just knew this was our home. It was the feeling we had been waiting for. Luckily Jesse and I both love the same type of home. A characterful home with history and quirks and that’s exactly what we had stumbled upon. I think the house dates back to around 1840 so we instantly noticed lots of original features we could really emphasise with a little love and thinking outside of the box. The layout was strange, but I started to envisage how we could make it work on a practical level for our growing family.”
With the home owners growing increasingly impatient as time was running out before they needed to leave, and a wonderful bit of serendipity – the previous deal fell through and a within a few months Fearne and her family were in their new home!
The property needed a lot of love and some practical modifications; layers of wallpaper dating back to turn of the 20th century needed removing, the wiring required a complete overhaul and the parquet floor had to come up to expose the lovely original wooden floorboards.
Five years later and they are only just finishing off the transformation.
Since working on ‘Interior Design Masters’, Fearne explained how the experience really helped her create her dream space: “I’ve added a lot of bold colour to walls, knocked out walls and have been adventurous with tiling. It’s been an incremental process as I think it helps to live in a space for a little while first.”
Having now achieved her dream of a cosy, colourful and characterful family home, Fearne described how she transformed a period house into her happy place:
“There are areas of my home that are 100% my happy place and one of them is my kitchen. We knocked through three rooms to create one open plan cooking, eating and relaxing zone. I’m usually cooking while my kids play nearby, music on, kids tv blaring, the smell of sizzling food, my step kids popping in and out for snacks. It’s the engine room of the house and where we all spend the most time. But for Fearne, it’s not all about the design, but rather who you allow to enter your home…
“My house is a sacred space where we relax as a family, eat and laugh, argue and make up, talk and listen but also retreat in when needed. Each person who walks into your home leaves a little of their energy there, so I’m very careful about who comes to stay and who leaves a bit of themselves there. My home feels happy because so many gorgeous souls have walked in the door. Sunday lunch full of belly laughs and scoffing, tea and catch ups and podcasts recordings where great stories have been told.”
“I think when you’re looking for your next home it is worth waiting for that ‘YES’ moment if you have the opportunity. I haven’t had it with every house or flat I’ve lived in, but I certainly did with this one, so I know I’ll live here a very long time. Often that feeling is hard to articulate, you just know. It’s your soulmate match! It might not be instantly as beautiful as you were planning on, or have the layout you had envisaged, but if you get that joyful feeling in your gut, you’ve probably just stumbled across your very own happy place.”
Looking for your dream home but don’t know where to start? Check out our buyers’ advice page.
New to Happy Place?
If you haven’t yet discovered the brilliant Happy Place podcast, be sure to give it a listen.
The weekly podcast has featured some incredible people so far, with many more to come this series. Fearne and her guests chat about the changes they’ve made in their own lives to find happiness as well as help people every day to find a different way of looking at life.