Nursery times

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - LIFE AND TIMES -

At home with the fam­ily be­hind Peter­sham Nurs­eries – who are ready to branch out

The liv­ing room Fur­ni­ture through­out the house is a mix of con­tem­po­rary and vin­tage pieces. Gael and Francesco Boglione are here joined by daugh­ters (clock­wise from left) Lara (with her son Achile, one), Ruby and Anna.

The hall­way The fres­coes, painted by Louis La­guerre in the 17th cen­tury (his work can also be seen at Blen­heim Palace), were painstak­ingly re­stored. ‘They were all cov­ered up, so we brought the house to life again re­ally,’ says Gael.

The house As a clus­ter of hunt­ing lodges, it dates back to 1680, but was al­tered in the early 19th cen­tury when a top storey and bal­cony were added.

The fam­ily be­hind south-west Lon­don’s oa­sis of green­ery and great food, Peter­sham Nurs­eries, launch an ex­cit­ing new ven­ture. By Talib Choudhry. Pho­to­graphs by Alexan­der James

Gael Boglione is the mis­tress of un­der­state­ment, both in terms of the way she has dec­o­rated her el­e­gant 17th­cen­tury home in rich­mond, on the out­skirts of west lon­don, and the mod­est way she de­scribes Peter­sham nurs­eries, the chic gar­den cen­tre and res­tau­rant that ad­joins the house.

‘this place came about be­cause it was at the end of our gar­den and when the pre­vi­ous own­ers re­tired they asked us if we’d take it over,’ aus­tralian-born Gael says of t he f lower-f illed g reen- houses and mag­i­cal ‘café’ (awarded a miche­lin star in 2011 and 2012 while skye Gyn­gell was at the helm). ‘it was a com­mer­cial nurser y and we didn’t want to run it that way, so we just had a go and did our best.’

Con­crete floors were re­placed with earth, green­houses were painted dark green and filled with a charm­ing jumble of plants and ar­chi­tec­tural sal­vage. the in­spi­ra­tion for the hue – now dubbed Peter­sham Green – came from the con­ser­va­tory at the home that Gael shares

with her for­mer-in­sur­ance-bro­ker Ital­ian hus­band Frances co. The cou­ple stripped back the in­te­rior af­ter mov­ing in with their brood (Lara, now 33, Anna, 29, Harry, 26, and Ruby, 24) in 1997.

‘We un­dec­o­rated re­ally, by tak­ing all the junk out and par­ing it down,’ says Ga el .‘ There were bro­cades ev­ery­where and so many swags that you could barely see out of the win­dows.’

Work­ing closely with English Her­itage, Gael and Francesco en­listed t he skill sofa num­ber of crafts peo­ple to re­in­state pe­riod fea­tures. Restora­tion spe­cial­ists spent ‘months and months’ re­mov­ing plas­ter­boards in favour of his­tor­i­cally cor­rect lath-and-plas­ter work. The walls were then painted with nat­u­ral pig­ments mixed by the artist Gerry King, pro­vid­ing a calm back­drop for the cou­ple’ s con­tem­po­rary art col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing works by Gary Hume, Paula Rego and Damien Hirst.

While the paint­ings are mostly by Bri­tish artists, Francesco’s Ital­ian her­itage is re­flected in the fur­nish­ings (a 17 th- cen­tury Gen­ove se chan­de­lier hangs above the fam­ily’s din­ing ta­ble, laid with Mu­rano tum­blers) and the food. The ed­i­ble-flower-sprin­kled dishes served in the café com­bine the

‘We un­dec­o­rated re­ally, by tak­ing all the junk out and par­ing it down’

The con­ser­va­tory Zinc planters filled with Tas­ma­nian Dick­so­nia ferns and clas­si­cal sculp­tures fill the space.

Nurs­eries In a bougainvil­leafilled green­house, pot­ted plants adorn ta­bles and vin­tage mir­rors add a dec­o­ra­tive touch.

The gar­den A strik­ing sculp­ture, Here and There by Antony Gorm­ley, is set into the lawn.

The din­ing room Built in 1929, the ballroom now func­tions as the main din­ing area in the house. The 17th-cen­tury Gen­ovese chan­de­lier is lit by can­dles.

The bed­room An 18th­cen­tury French bed is cov­ered with an­tique linen in the main bed­room of the cot­tage (the old­est part of the prop­erty), which is con­nected to the main house.

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