Over the past year we have had the pleasure of staying at The Britten Stables in Christchurch a number of times - our accomodation of choice whenever holding our vintage trunk shows or visiting our Cantabrian stockist, Ballantynes. In time, we've been lucky to get to know the gorgeous owner of the landmark location, Isabelle Weston.
Built originally by her father, the late, great John Britten, The Stables suffered extensive damaged in the 2011 earthquakes but Isabelle and her husband, Tim, made it their mission to restore the historic property back to its former glory - adding a few modern accoutrements along the way.
The stunningly appointed Britten Stables 2.0 now operates as a B&B style accomodation spot - and for those looking for a place to stay, we couldn't recommend it enough. With its fine Art-Nouveau details, original stained glass features and Riad-esque entrance, it is captivating from the moment you walk in the front door; its sense of history is palpable.
Running the space is a full time job in itself and now with two gorgeous girls in tow, Adaline and Raphaela, we were thrilled when Isabelle kindly agreed to spend a few minutes with us to chat about the restoration, her approach to style, and how she's been dealing with life's big changes over the last few months...
LR: The Riad-esque indoor pool is the jewel in the communal conservatory; Isabelle with her two daughters, Raphaela, 6 months and Adaline, 4.5years.
You and Tim have done such a wonderful job of restoring The Britten Stables. How long did it take from start to finish, and what is your most favourite part of the home?
From conception to completed repair it took just over 3.5 years.
Tim's favourite part of our home is the billiard room, with its rough finished brick and roaring fire. Personally, I love the kitchen - it reminds me of my childhood.
LR: The original marble and brass staircase was preserved in the renovation, an entry-way nook is turned into a statement with moody tones, metallic accents and a tall floral arrangement; a look down into the conservatory from the second floor internal balcony.
Are there any favourite mementos or furniture pieces in the home that are most special to you in the space?
I have a gorgeous wooden box that belonged to my late father John Britten. It's full of his treasures. It sits by the fire place in our sitting room. I feel it's like having him around. My husband Tim loves his "special" arcade machine - equipped with 1500 games.
LR: A dining space in one of the three self-contained studios available as accomodation on the property; Isabelle's most precious possession in the home, her late father, John Britten's wooden treasure box sits on the bottom shelf in the communal living room; plush textures and exposed brick in the billiard room - perfect for a weekend escape.
What do you love the most about being based in Christchurch?
First and foremost we have incredible family and friends here. We also enjoy the gorgeous parks and beaches Christchurch has to offer right on our door step.
You have two gorgeous girls now, how would you describe your personal style, and has becoming a mum impacted your approach to style at all?
Stain resistant clothing and a total lack of care for what I look like! My most worn pieces are white linen shirts that can be bleached and high waisted Mum jeans that were handy me downs from my little sister.
LR: Isabelle with her youngest daughter, Raphaela; A Givenchy toggle bracelet she purchased from our Vintage Edit.
You recently acquired a beautiful 1980s Givenchy toggle bracelet from us - what was it that caught your eye about that piece?
I was drawn to the Givenchy bracelet as it reminded me of a good charm bracelet owned by my mother that I was very fond of a child.
What's the best style advice you learned from your own mother?
Don't wear horizontal stripes, they make you look wide!
LR: Luxe textures in the Garden Studio, another of the rooms available to stay inside (featuring our Olympia Deity Earrings); a poster of Isabelle's late father, John Britten with his namesake motorcycle.
And if you had to instil one thing in your own daughters when it comes to personal style, what would that be?
You are most beautiful closest to your most natural form. Less is more...
This strange time we are all going through must be no doubt an interesting one to navigate with two little ones. What are some ways you've managed this time? Do you have any recommendations for other parents reading this?
Lots of play. Children learn so much when they are playing.
Our little girl Adaline is so curious and creative, so I like to focus on what she is interested in.
My recommendation is to not stress about planning things too much.
LR: A look back at the main property in all its splendour; A perspex floor window showcases the original stable cobblestones preserved safely underneath the renovation.
How do you plan on celebrating Mother's Day today?
Celebrating at home with the children. Most likely a walk around the park, hot bath and hopefully a foot massage from my lovely husband 🖤
Thanks so much, Isabelle and Happy Mother's Day to all of the beautiful mamas and mama figures out there today - have a wonderful day.
Xx The L&O Team