A Georgian farmhouse decorated with patterned textiles

Richly patterned textiles and an original take on antiques are woven through Chloe and Tom Jonason’s Georgian farmhouse. Photographs Rachael Smith

Published: July 11th, 2022 at 9:30 am

When Chloe and Tom Jonason moved into this Georgian farmhouse, they realised there was no way that their existing collection of furniture was going to stretch to fill its extensive rooms. ‘We had surprisingly little in the way of furniture, as our previous home in Somerset was a rental,’ Chloe says.

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Her solution was to head to her favourite auction houses, vintage fairs and junk shops – and her mother’s attic. There, she found the wonderful range of both eclectic and classic pieces that have breathed fresh character into their new home.
Chloe grew up in a family that values tradition, and her long-standing love of antiques makes ethical sense to her. ‘An Edwardian dresser or Georgian side table will often be infinitely better made than a high-street buy and has already proved it will last the course,’ she explains.

What’s more, in Chloe’s expert hands, even a tatty, unloved chair or a footstool can be transformed with fabric, as she runs her own soft furnishings company. Over the years she had also amassed an enviable collection of fabrics, including vintage suzanis, ikats and Peruvian weavings, which she mixes with timeless designs that draw on Britain’s finest decorative traditions by the likes of Fermoie and Vanessa Arbuthnott.

Chloe’s profession also means she has an innate respect for items that have been crafted by hand. ‘People don’t always understand that upholstery takes time to do properly,’ she says. ‘But, very much like antiques, a piece of upholstered furniture that has been made with great skill is something that will endure.’

When they found this Georgian house, both Chloe and Tom immediately loved its balanced proportions and period feel, but could also see ways to bring a younger, more vibrant style into the rooms.

‘We had viewed lots of houses that had been over-developed and hence lost their original character,’ Chloe explains. ‘With this one, we could see ways to add our own touches but also to celebrate the house’s own history.’

The artworks that decorate the walls of this house exemplify Chloe’s old-meets-new approach. Her collection includes 19th-century oil paintings, colourful book illustrations from the 1940s, prints from John Derian and John James Audubon’s archives and life drawing sketches.

It’s a considered look that feels elegant without being too formal, and fun without being frivolous. ‘I was inspired by my favourite interior designers – including Ben Pentreath and Rita Konig – but I also challenged myself,’ says Chloe. ‘The ultimate aim was to make a home that’s comfortable and reflects our personalities.’

Chloe took a course with Rita Konig and drew on her advice when it came to creating gallery walls in the drawing room and snug. ‘I laid all the pictures out on the floor before putting them up,’ she explains. ‘The trick is to follow your instinct and not be too rigid about what you include.’

Upstairs, Chloe’s creative approach continues, with framed hand-marbled papers in the hallway and a collection of vintage china plates arranged above the bed in a guest bedroom. ‘I believe in being quite creative and relaxed about what you hang,’ she says.

‘I love Ben Pentreath’s ethos that you can make a historic frame feel contemporary, but you always need to be guided by the house,’ she says. ‘This chimes with my aim that, when I add something to our home, it should look as if it’s always been there.’

Fabrics are a key way in which Chloe achieves this relaxed, lived-in style, with ikat cushions and an antique suzani-covered ottoman in the drawing room. ‘This room is all about comfort, but it’s also a very sociable space and the ottoman provides the focal point,’ says Chloe.

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With her skillset and outlook, Chloe views decorating as a process that is never finite. ‘I don’t like the idea that once you have created a style it is immutable,’ she explains. ‘Building up a home with fabrics and upholstery is hugely enjoyable – but you’re never really ‘done’. Our home is constantly evolving and I love the challenge of creating something anew.’

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