Australian Homes

Jessica Bettenay and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 5th October 2011

Sweet details from the home of Jessica Bettenay and family in Williamstown.  All shots by Armelle Habib.

Master bedroom – one of Jessica’s most loved pieces is the African Wedding Hat hanging above her bed – these are available from her homewares store in Williamstown, The Assembly Hall.  Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Today’s house is a family home with a difference – Jessica Bettenay lives with her husband Ashley and their kids Chester (5) and Minnie (3) above the Prince Albert Hotel in Williamstown!

In September 2009, Jessica and Ashley took over the hotel, with plans to move their family into the upstairs residence and refurbish the pub downstairs.  With two young kids in tow, that was one ambitious project!  With just 10 days to make the upstairs residence liveable before moving the family in, Jessica and Ashley organised re-plastering, painting and re-carpeting in record time!  Jessica says it was pretty derelict – ‘we literally threw away enough junk to fill 3 of the largest skips you can hire!’ she remembers.  After moving in upstairs, they then turned their focus on renovating downstairs, and opening their new restaurant Bettenay’s.  Sounds like about 3 hit reality TV show combined if you ask me!

It’s no surprise Jessica has styled her family home with a special eye for detail – after all, she’s one half of the clever duo behind The Assembly Hall (new website coming soon!) shop in Williamstown.  Her beautiful store, run in partnership with interiors stylist Sami Moiler, stocks a great variety of homewares, textiles and accessories sourced from across the globe… and naturally it seems a few of Jessica’s favourite finds have ended up at home too!

When asked what she loves most about living here, Jess’s enthusiastically responds – ‘I adore Williamstown!’.  She says she’d never even been to the suburb before moving here, but these days, you would be hard pressed to get her to leave!  ‘It is like living in a country town, yet you are so close to the city –  the best of both worlds’.   Jessica also says that against the odds, living above the family business really works for her family.  ‘It’s rather a unique situation living above the Hotel, and I guess some would consider it slightly smothering living in your business, but it works for us and we love it. For our family it means that we can work but be together. The Hotel has such fantastic local clientele and it has such a strong sense of community, so it is truly a great place to work and raise a family.’

I love Jessica’s candid words about her family’s unique living arrangements!  It’s endlessly inspiring to be reminded that ‘home’ means so many different things to different people! …and I must say, the Bettenays have got me itching for a weekend visit to Williamstown – and a pub lunch too!

Big thanks to Jessica for sharing her home, and to Armelle Habib for generously allowing us to use her beautiful photographs.  Love your work ladies!

Kids space – not complete these days, it seems, without a teepee!  Photograph – Armelle Habib.

LOVE the rich colours in the bathroom!  I bet $4000 dollars someone asks Jessica what paint colour that is.  I probably should have pre-empted that by asking her myself.  Doh.  Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Bathroom details – Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Hallway looking through to kitchen.  Loving that stained glass.. Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Kitchen details.   Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Beautiful light-filled dining room!  Jessica had the Vivienne Westwood Union Jack wallpaper mounted and displayed on the lounge room wall – its one of her most treasured items in the home. ‘I know the Union Jack has unfortunately been thrashed over the past 18 months, but this is still the original and the detail and character of this paper is amazing!’ she says.   Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Jessica is  also really fond of her old farmhouse table and vintage Victorian Railway chairs, both from The Lost Ark in Williamstown.  Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Outdoor area – Basil Bangs beach umbrella I think!?  Photograph – Armelle Habib.

Chester and Minnie outside the pub!  Photograph – Armelle Habib.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 5th October 2011


  • carol ann from camdesign 5 years ago

    so funny… the first thing I thought of was… what is that bathroom colour? I have been looking for a shade of Tiffany blue that I like for my bathroom and would love to know what that is, if you could, please mention it in another blog post or email me with the colour… thanks so much, Regards, Carol Ann

  • sylvia 5 years ago

    what a true inspiration! really enjoyed reading this story! love williamstown!

  • Allison Taylor 5 years ago

    Very coincidental. I met Jessica for the first time yesterday. Very inspiring lady. I was returning a rug that didn’t quite work in our home and Jessica turned this into a wonderful opportunity to provide some great shopping advice all via web searches on her office laptop and let me know about her interior design consultancy which is so reasonable and a clever way of coming up with ideas for your home. Well worth the visit to The Assembly Hall. Also have been to the pub countless times, go to place for the best pub meal in Williamstown. And Williamstown is everything she says it is.

  • Jennifer 5 years ago

    The bathroom is stunning. Love the African wedding hat, too. Lots of lovely details.

  • Donna 5 years ago

    Love the stained glass windows, the kitchen details and the outdoor area!
    Beautiful home. Plus you can add me to the list of Williamstown admirers – great spot. : )

  • jas 5 years ago

    what a gorgeous home! I’ve always wondered if people live above these hotels and pubs or if they’re used as studios and offices. It’s great to see Jessica and her family can live, work and play so close together and is such a gorgeous setting too. That bathroom paint colour is gorgeous (though I won’t ask the colour!) and I love the bed spreads in her bedroom with the african wedding hat. I love heading over to Williamstown every now and then and enjoying the shops and atmosphere.

    Also, I want to have children and have a teepee!!!

  • Clare 5 years ago

    I don’t suggest that it IS the colour, but it looks very, very similar to Dulux Happy Days at 50%, which is what is all over our bedroom walls. It’s the coziest colour.

  • Kirsten Clarke 5 years ago

    I would love to live in an old pub! Re the paint, you could also check out Murobonds Galapagos. Its from the Society Inc range. Does anyone know where to get some similar dining chairs btw?

  • Dee Peraic 5 years ago

    I love the teepee, can anyone let me know where that teepee is from? My 2 year old would love that!

  • Elyce 5 years ago

    oh, so very cute. do you think that is the original carpet? i love to see how people can turn an older home into something wonderful. (wishing i lived in older place, new apartments sucks, i would kill for those windows and ceilings!!).

  • ana 5 years ago

    delicious asthetics – can’t wait to see the online shop! i really NEED one of the african wedding hats …

  • Margie 5 years ago

    Such a lovely re-interpretation. I’m busting to know what that finish is behind the bath! It looks great with the floor.

  • Nicola 5 years ago

    Just gorgeous… And yes love the charm of williamstown and surrounds!

  • Gaz 5 years ago

    Hi Dee

    I worked in a toyshop about 2 years ago – it looks like a Dobbin and Drum type. They’re very sturdy and handcrafted in Brisbane and stocked at all good toy shops. They have a website with their stockists, check it out!

  • Pamela 4 years ago

    The $4000 question wasn’t answered LOL what colour is the bathroom paint??? Love it!!

  • Nikki 2 years ago

    Love the black white chequered floors,are they linoleum ? Where can I get that in Sydney ?

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