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Jessica Bettenay and Family


5th October, 2011
Lucy Feagins
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.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email