She’s the stylist who made Hotel du Vin and The Pig group of boutique hotels renowned as much for their rooms as for their food and drink, with her ability to create laid-back eclectic interiors that effortlessly exude style key to their success.
Winchester-based Judy Hutson says that behind the scenes the attention is in the detail – or rather a million details – and even at home she’d never leave a sofa without its cushions plumped in just the right way.
“I’m terrible for that,” she says. “I’m sure The Pig housekeepers dread me coming, as they know I can’t help myself but make sure everything is in just the right place.”
Robin – the other half of the dynamic duo that is the Hutsons – was already working in the hotel industry when Judy met him. His five-star experience in some of the country’s most prestigious hotels, matched with her eye for style, made them natural partners.
“I’ve never trained as an interior designer in a formal way,” says Judy. “I started my career as an occupational therapist, but have always loved art and colour. Robin opened the first Hotel du Vin in Winchester in 1994 with wine expert Gerard Basset, and I was given the challenge of the interior design.”
And so the Hotel du Vin look was created, with tobacco-stained bistro walls, mismatched furniture, reclaimed oak flooring and lots of eclectic art.
In 2004 the Hotel du Vin group was sold for £66 million. And in 2011 Robin and Judy began a new venture, kicking off their first Pig hotel in the New Forest, offering laid-back countryside chic.
“I’ve started to think of our Pigs as being a bit like a family of rather colourful relatives,” Judy says. “For The Pig in Brockenhurst, I created Great Aunt Mabel. She’s a faded country bird with lots of dogs, with a home-knitted cardigan with holes in, an old tweed skirt. thick old-lady tights and sturdy leather shoes. She inspired me to create all her relatives at other properties too. I think having them in mind makes the hotels feel like someone else’s home.”
Furniture, pictures and accessories are individually sourced from junk shops and antique emporiums. “Sometimes I come across something I love so much it comes home with me,” Judy says. “Locally we regularly buy from The Consortium, The Hambledon and Dinghams.”
“One of my most precious personal finds was a print of a picture called The Blue Door by Raymond Wintz. It’s the same print that my parents had when I was a child. I can’t put my finger on why I love it so much but I just do. That’s when you know that you have to have something. It’s all about feeling that connection.”
Photo courtesy of THE PIG, Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond