SINGER Bo Bruce hasn’t put up the tree or festive decorations yet. But the sparkling fairy lights and flickering scented candles make her home magical all year round, not just at Christmas.
‘I like creating a cocoony vibe,’ says Bo, 34. ‘I’m really into candlelight and low light, and reflecting light in lots of little mirrors. We have a big roaring fire. It’s nice and cosy.’
Bo found fame in 2012 when she finished as runner-up on the first series of The Voice, having carved out a niche for herself with her distinctive vocals and array of hippy headbands.
Life has changed since then — she has married her long-time musical collaborator Henry Binns, half of Zero 7, and they have formed duo Equador together. She has also become a mother — the pair have a son Ferdy, now aged 18 months.
Her latest adventure has seen her swap London for a slower pace of life in a village near music mecca Glastonbury, the area in which she grew up, where they are renting this four-bedroom barn conversion.
‘When I became pregnant we decided we wanted to bring the baby up in the countryside,’ says Bo. ‘Having a kid is so life-changing, I don’t even remember what I used to do in London.’
They had been living together in Henry’s recording studio, on a mezzanine level designed by Bo, but decided to move quickly as their accommodation was far from child friendly.
‘My husband’s father is an architect and when I suggested putting a mezzanine in he said, ‘No, no, you’re mad.’ But when we did it everyone said that it was genius.’
But while the mezzanine was a practical for a couple, it was perilous for a baby. ‘It could have been lethal. There were 12 steps he could have nose-dived off.’
Bo also liked the idea of being close to where she grew up, though she admits her home now is much more modest than the stately pile where she ran wild as a child. Her father is the Earl of Cardigan, and she grew up on the Tottenham House estate in Wiltshire, with 4,500 acres of land to play in.
‘I never lived in Tottenham House, but I used to rollerblade in it,’ explains Bo. ‘It had 250 rooms. We lived in a lodge house in the grounds. As I get older, I realise what a privilege it was to grow up there. I took the enormity of the space I lived in for granted. I was out all the time as a kid, always covered in mud. You could go quite far away from home. I remember my mum calling us back for lunch across the valley because it echoed. It took 30 minutes to walk back. It was incredible.’
Perhaps unsurpisingly, Bo describes her taste in interiors as bohemian and eclectic. ‘Some of the pieces of furniture are antiques, others are bric-a-brac,’ she says. She likes the contrast of her Indian pieces, especially her turquoise and pink cabinets, brought from a friend’s shop, with more muted English elements she inherited from her late mother. Indeed, one of Bo’s most treasured possessions is her mother’s writing desk. ‘She was really into writing — so am I — and it’s a sweet little desk with lots of secret compartments and drawers. I remember her using it. I don’t think it’s worth anything financially. Most of the things in the house are like that — nothing is worth much other than the love we have for them.’
Bo has many other interesting decorative items, including a large assortment of Indian candle-holders and a cupboard in her son’s room that her mum made using bits of chicken coop wire. But her favourite piece is a sculpture of herself done when she was pregnant.
‘It’s by an artist called Mark Jackson. He used to be a paratrooper; his parachute didn’t open properly, he hit the ground and he was very badly injured. He built himself back together and became an artist. The sculpture is really special. I got it done for Henry’s Christmas present when I was pregnant. We love it. It’s probably my favourite thing in the house.’
One day Bo and Henry would like to build their own house. ‘If money is no object, we’ll find a piece of land in the middle of nowhere. Or the dream would be to find a very old house with one of those fireplaces you can stand in,’ she says.
For the present they are very content where they are and Bo is happy visitors always say they find the place very homely and she is looking forward to settling in for Christmas.
‘Christmas is chaos in our house: Henry is an amazing cook so the house is always full of wonderful smells and lots of mulled wine,’ says Bo.
‘We are all about roaring fires and candles and watching classic Christmas TV. Home Alone is on the cards for Christmas Eve. We don’t really have turkey. I think I’ve had it twice in my life and never at Christmas. This year it’s a giant ham and all the trimmings. I have been known to stay in my PJs till New Year’s Eve, only venturing out for the odd countryside walk — then it’s back for the Quality Streets.’
■ Equador’s new EP Tribal War is out now, equadormusic.com
Trend watch: Coral is the new violet
PANTONE has revealed its colour of 2019 is Living Coral. So wave goodbye to 2018’s Ultra Violet (yes, we struggled with that one too) and check out these hot homewares for a quick interiors update…
■ Coral towels, from £4, george.com
■ Cut glass tumbler, £12 each, johnlewis.com
■ Pappelina Mono rug, From £70, printerandtailor.com
■ Tile tea cosy, £16.95, andshine.co.uk
■ Ligne Roset Ploum sofa from £3,420, ligne-roset.com
■ Morrocan leather pouffe, £125.00, rajtentclub.com/shop
■ Bronte by Moon, merino parquet throw, £59.95, hurnandhurn.com
■ Pearle Lowe Wisteria floral wallpaper, £120, woodchipandmagnolia.co.uk