Posted By The Bower Inn

A vintage revelation in the heart of Somerset

Our Candida knows a thing or two about decorating and dressing rooms.

A former antiques dealer, a professional collector of vintage fabrics, furniture and accessories and an experienced upholsterer, she has just completed refurbishing our 11 new bedrooms here in the heart of Somerset.

"I have collected thousands of vintage fabrics and linens over the years and have hand-dyed some to use for curtains or to re-upholster the antique furniture we have here at the hotel.

"A lot of the fabrics I've used date back from the 1800s and quite a few I have brought over from France. I am a bit of a hoarder and we have a mobile home tucked away, out of sight, at the back of the hotel where I store all my bits and pieces. I even bring things back when we go on holiday. I can't resist!

"Every room has lovely unusual pieces that I have collected. I have an 1820 wood cut, which is on the wall just as you go into room 17, in the new part of the hotel, and it's a particular favourite of mine. It's of Japanese Akitas - they are a very fluffy breed of dog and it's a stylish but playful depiction. Wherever I go, that is coming too!

"All the lighting fixtures and mirrors are antique. We have items of furniture, fabrics and prints that date back to the early 19th century as well as some from the 1920s and 1960s. In our two twin rooms we've some charming paisley eiderdowns, which look like they have come straight out of a childhood Enid Blyton book.

"Some of the lace bed dressing is from the finest, ancient French altar cloth that would have been thrown out if I hadn't have rescued it.

"We also have some fabulous crocheted cushions in our new bedrooms that have been made by a local lady called Lida. All the curtains and cushions are made by a talented seamstress from Taunton, Kim Tolman from my fabrics, some of which I have also hand printed myself.

"People love staying here as they find the eclectic range of furnishing we have in each room just that little bit different and nearly every day someone wants to buy something or wants to know where I have sourced the items from. No two rooms are the same, so very often guests return and request another room so they can experience something new. Every piece has a story too and people love that.

"The secret to finding these amazing items is having wonderful contacts. We lived for some time in France and I got to know just who to ask and where to look for the pieces I wanted and to get them at the right price. It really helps to know the locals."

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