A Tudor Coach House That is Now a Family Home.

Deborah Holden moved to her quirky Tudor home in Ripley four years ago; it ticked all the boxes to create the perfect family home but it also had an extra perk that impelled Deborah to set her own business.

Having sadly lost her father, Deborah moved from Cobham and was looking for a space that could house her Mother, two children Emily and Hugo, and their Labrador, Bella.  These requirements led Deborah to an old coach house that sits in the centre of Ripley. It was once owned by Henry VII and has an abundance of character and charm.

We fell in love with the house; it was very unusual and almost magical.” She says.

As well has having the scope to convert a section of the house into a second dwelling for her Mother, it also had an old shop front in the living room- which would soon prove to be a source of inspiration for Deborah.

After a year of living here, I decided to set up an interiors and homeware shop, Nest Home, from our front room.” She says. “I was very lucky, as it took off quickly and I soon had to move to larger premises on the High Street. Since then it’s grown even further and I now have the shop and a café” she says warmly.

Retail is in Deborah’s blood; her father owned 40 shops selling tableware and her brother owns a glassware business in America.  One of Deborah’s first jobs was working as a shop girl for Ralph Lauren in America; she later worked in fashion and also directly for her brother. But it was always her dream to set up on her own.

We sell beautiful antique furniture, gifts and books and other vintage treasures” she smiles. “I also sell my brother’s glassware. He’s very well known in America and there are only a few stockists in the UK, so it’s lovely being one of them. It’s also great having the café too, as we use all the same crockery. People often come in for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake and end up buying the plates!” She laughs.

Deborah has a wonderful network of suppliers and clearly has the eye for picking stunning furniture for both her shop and her home.

My house is very reflective of the Nest brand; I’ve sourced items for the house that have ended up in the shop and vice versa. I picked up my leather arm chair from Belgium for example, which served as inspiration for selling lots of old, beaten up leather in the shop” she explains. “I also love the chandelier in my bedroom, which then made its way into the shop too!

I really wasn’t sure we’d survive when we first set up, but it seems that people are responding really well and the business is thriving.”

Deborah’s style is unmistakably traditional and despite having undertaken a huge amount of work to her house, she has successfully managed to retain its distinct character.

I like gentle colours” she smiles. “Everyone has their own palette that they feel at home with, but I think it’s important to fuse that with the style of whatever house you’re in.” She says. “My style has adapted to fit this house. I found it hard to put white with so much warm wood, so I felt the house asked for a warmer, muted palette.”

Houses definitely ask for colour, so it can be really good to live in a place and let it breathe before painting” she adds.

As well as aesthetics, Deborah likes to install a sense of belonging and history in her home. “I love the wall of old family pictures and photos” she smiles, “I think it brings the house alive and I like that my children have grown up with a sense of perspective and positioning within our family.”

Deborah is inspirational for many reasons, but primarily for showing that great things really can happen from home.

This article originally appeared in the summer 2013 issue of Heart Home magazine.

Photographs by Emma Lewis.  Words by Liggy Griffiths.