sneak peek: jessica & ash bettenay


Jessica and Ash Bettenay sure know how to stay busy, mastering the art of building business on special friendships and their joint loves of travel, style, family and far too much laughing. In addition to the convenience of living above their gastro hotel, Bettenay’s — a busy local establishment built on the notion of having great friends come together to eat up a storm — living above a fantastic hotel has other perks (like 7 bedrooms!). Jessica also co-owns The Assembly Hall, an eclectic retail store with interior stylist, friend and business partner, Sami Johnson. Jessica’s passion for different interior design styles comes through in her home where she blends them to create her own livable and functional style that we instantly fell in love with. Thanks so much, Jessica, Armelle Habib for the fabulous photos and to Sami Johnson for the styling! – Anne

Image above: My own personal style is really just an evolution of my life and all the things surrounding it and how they have influenced me. I love original features and the magic of each space’s history; working with that encourages the space to be lived in and loved, and for it to evoke memories and laughter. Living above this fantastic old hotel has many advantages, but it is an enormous space to decorate, so I have been concentrating on getting one room done at a time, and like everything else, time always seems to disappear. The lounge is pictured above: paint is Antique White USA; on the wall is Vivienne Westwood Union Jack wallpaper, which I mounted on timber; and the vintage Victorian railway chairs and old table are from one of my favourite places, Lost Ark Antiques and Collectables.

Image above: My bedroom — pale gray paint; vintage bottles, bobbin and prints collected over the years on my travels; antique Indian textiles that we made into a cushion; and a cushion from the fantastic girls at Pony Rider.

Click HERE to read more after the jump!

Image above: Also my bedroom – on the side table, I have a hand-blown Biot vessel, which I carried in my hand luggage halfway across Europe because I loved it so much! Also on the side table are some antique miniature perfume bottles. The cushions on the bed are made from Pakistani kilims, and the red throw on the bed is an antique patchwork from India. The African Feather Wedding Hat mounted on the wall is from the talent duo at Tractor Home, and the brown chinchilla faux-fur bedspread is from Cruz Faux Fur, but both items are available at our shop.

Image above: Kids’ room that they share, even though they have separate rooms! Teepee, mushroom lamp and Vivienne Westwood love heart shoes are all from the local kids’ store in Williamstown, Olifant. The bedspread is a vintage Kantha from India, and the pirate ship is from Bali. The artwork was given to the kids.

Image above: The donkey was a gift from a girlfriend, and it is wearing Minnie’s Trelise Cooper Tu Tu. The chair is from Camberwell Market.

Image above: Hall — The vintage industrial letters were a present from my brother and are symbolic to us following the death of my father 18 months ago. The stained glass windows are original.

Image above: French cheese board from our store and industrial pendant from Lost Arc Antiques. All the other bottles and tins have just been collected over the years here and there.

Image above: Bathroom — This colour is one of my all-time favourites, and I just couldn’t help myself in the bathroom. As we only lease the hotel, I wanted a dramatic solution in the bathroom that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The floor is Lino and the black gloss sink is from a salvage yard. The little wooden stool is from The Assembly Hall, and the vintage ladder is a gift from a good friend. The hand towel, vase and cross are also all from The Assembly Hall.

Image above: The side table was a gift from mum and dad when I was 13. The butterfly artwork was a gift from my business partner Sami and her hubby, Johnno. The vintage footstool is from Lost Arc Antiques. The soapstone bookends are Orson and Blake but are available at the shop, and the leather journals and vintage chapati sticks are from India.

Image above: Stanley is our cross kelpie/staffie. The owl is a print from Almond Tree Framing.

Image above: Minnie and Checkers on the stairs playing. My kids pretty much only wear clothes from my really good friends at Kido Store. You can always guarantee that Luke and Loz have an amazing selection of clothing.

Image above: The umbrella is from Basil Bangs, again available from The Assembly Hall. All the objects mounted on the wall and the old trike have been collected by the same friend Pete, who gave me the ladder. Pete is part of the Prince Albert Family and ours. He knows all the tricks of the trade, and we would be lost without him. Pete found all these magic bits on Sami’s instruction, and the two of them created this fantastic space.

  1. What an absolutely beautiful place to live! The space, light and architectural detailing is second to none and the owners have completely done it justice with their own eclectic, warm and stylish decor. This is a true ‘dream home’. Beautiful kids too!

  2. sibylle says:

    wow, so beautiful!

  3. Katherine says:

    This place is beautiful. I plan to copy that outdoor space with the tools hanging on the wall.

  4. yellow owl says:

    so lively and livable and personal. The light is just breathtaking. bookmarking this baby under: ME PLEASE!! Also those children are so damn cute.

  5. Lu says:

    lovely house and family. I love those vivienne westwood’s melissas

  6. Your house is amazing, beautiful building and so stlylishly decorated. I absolutly love the colour in the bathroom.

  7. I really love what drove the style of the homeowner: personality. So many spaces lack creative and colorful touches reflective of our interests and passions. You can’t force design. You can only influence it.

    I really adore the Vivienne Westwood wallpaper on timber. Wow. And to see that gorgeous window every time I conquer the stairs… happiness. Beautiful post, Anne!!!

  8. What a beautiful home. I love reading about unusual homes – how cool that they live above their hotel! The stained glass windows throughout the house are stunning.

  9. sara lim says:

    love this home! will be bookmarking for inspiration :)

  10. MB@YarnUiPhoneAppv1.5 says:

    What a gorgeous space…I especially like how it’a part of the Design Sponge style to have “What I like about my house…” hand written on something and photographed. It’s a homey touch for the impersonal Internet.

  11. Paula says:

    What a great home!

  12. Home sweet home!!! the little tent is cute!

  13. Molly says:

    i love this house!! it’s so warm and inviting, and the bathroom paint color happens to be one of my all time favorites too! what a lucky and adorable family

  14. This space is stunning, as are the children. A beautiful balance of warm and modern.

  15. I simply adore this home. It’s perfectly “imperfect” and I love that. The fireplace vignette is gorgeous!

  16. Karen E. says:

    I absolutely love the Union Jack artwork on the wall! there are so many little things that grab me about the elements in these rooms the artwork in the childrens bedroom, the white and black pillow in front of the fire place, the black and white checked floor, and the pops of color in each room! I love how they have taken an old place and given it new life and meaning.

  17. Bridget says:

    What a gorgeous home! I’ll definitely be storing it away for future inspiration. That Vivienne Westwood wallpaper is just stunning, as are so many of the details throughout their entire home!

  18. Cath says:

    OMG – Jessica’s place is just down the road from me, love the Assembly Hall and the pub – it is such a good local : ) Just lovely to see inside such a gorgeous and authentic space!

  19. This place is exactly what I love about British design. It is a whimsical match up of interesting object. Things are not “matched” and they look perfect together. Although the house is full, it is still visually very light weight… no bulky furniture. I love it!!

  20. Oh no, my mistake… not British Design. The Assembly Hall is in Melbourne.

  21. Rachel says:

    I love that this is a family home!

  22. Andrea says:

    What is that bathroom paint colour? It’s wonderful!

  23. Bobbie says:

    I love so much about this! I really love the use of stain glass inside! I don’t know why but it just really has a light great having a space division without loosing light.

    I have an off topic question.. I have looked in about three months worth of sneak peeks and can not find the one that had a table with a bike pulling a flower cart sculpture on it?? If anyone knows can you let me know?? I have found one to put in my shop!! :) and can not find any place to get an idea of how old it is or what it is worth..

  24. lisa says:

    Hi – beautiful and inspiring space!! Also, I love that you named your little girl Minnie. I have three boys and if I am ever blessed with a girl I want to name her Minnie. I was wondering if Minnie is short for a more formal name (Minerva perhaps?)> thanks

  25. susanna says:

    i love the windows and the patio umbrella!

  26. What a gorgeous place with so much character! Gorgeous kids too ;-)

  27. Hi Everyone, Thanks for the wonderful comments about our home and my kids!
    A big thanks to The design Sponge & Anne Stark Ditmeyer for running the story it is such a buzz and an honour…
    To answer your questions:
    Our Minnie isn’t short for anything her name is just Minnie May Bettenay
    About the paint colour I have searched through the shed and couldn’t find the tin with the exact name for the Bathroom colour but leave it with me and I’ll see what I can find.
    Thanks All x

  28. Eva says:

    lovely! I like it so much when people ‘stuff’ their house with things they found while traveling. It adds so much character. Enjoyed this lots!

  29. Gael Joyce says:

    Jess, your wonderful talent comes from your beautiful soul and works so well because you combine all the things you love. Congrats on a great post.

  30. Hamilton Boots says:

    This place is truly sensational…….I love the way the wood is incorporated with the vintage pieces! This home will be the inspiration I have been looking for for my new place…Thanks Bettenays!!

  31. Hamilton Boots says:

    Nothing succeeds like success but success is only gained by acknowledging the people that have helped you gain it. Thank you for acknowledging those who have helped you along the way by acknowledging all of them in everything you write. I am very proud of you. God aren’t my grand children gorgeous!!! Well done. Mummy xx

  32. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful! Love the whimsical, but comfy cozy feel. Can you tell me the paint color of your bathroom?

  33. I love it! Great eclectic style! I just did a post about it on my blog. Great work!

  34. jordan says:

    this space is fantastic. homey, eclectic, and inviting. i can imagine being in the space and simply not wanting to leave. your personal touches are obvious + make it lovely.

    i do wish there had been a fuller pic of the living room. there’s a tiny glimpse of the arm of the couch (?) but seeing it in the larger context would have been fun.

    also, i may have just missed this, but what part of the country are you in?

    thanks for sharing. it’s fabulous. already pinned your dining space onto my album titled “swoon.” that tells you something. :)

  35. love your decor. Inspiring

  36. Diane says:

    I love this home! And the Assembly Hall is such a great shop. How lovely to see a beautiful home featured on Design*Sponge that is so close to where I live!

  37. dayna says:

    My favourite sneak peak to date – just love it!

  38. KRISTEn says:

    I LOVE spaces with architectural character!!! This space radiates love and warmth. What great treasures you have placed around. I love the chair with the stuffed animal on it. It reminds me of shopping in antique stores in Louisiana.

  39. sonhaji says:

    I strongly agree with the text in the image above.
    ” what i love most about my house is that my family lives threre”

  40. kathryn says:

    what a lovely home. but where is it?

  41. It’s in Williamstown which is about 10km from the city of Melbourne which is in the state of Victoria in the country of Australia. We live here and I don’t know how many times we have eaten at Bettanay’s with family and friends. It is the go to pub for consistently good food and comfort. Love this home too.

  42. Emma @ Cruz says:

    Hi Jess,

    I finally have made it to the site!!! Wow it’s just gorgeous…. So light filled and I can see that you only choose to have the things you love and have meaning for you… Your kids are beautiful. I love the color in the Bathroom – well done! xx

  43. Melissa Davidson says:

    I almost just fell off my chair! the blue+yellow tile in your kitchen is the exact one that my whole kitchen is covered in! It was here when we moved into our renovated farmhouse 7 years ago and we are in Quebec, Canada! what are the chances?! do you know anything about it? I don’t…and your home is amazing, cozy, artistic and inspiring.

  44. Daniel says:

    In the bathroom, where did the mirror come from? its great!


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