Nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms, nine weeks. Can it be done? When you have closed your hotel and Easter is imminent, the answer has to be yes.

That was the challenge to interior designer Whitemore & Thwaytes and their contractors when they were called in to transform the guest accommodation at Fellpack House, formerly Hazeldene, in Keswick.

The boutique hotel, in The Heads overlooking Hope Park, was acquired by the owners of Fellpack and The Round restaurants in the town in 2022. They immediately set about refurbishing the ground floor lounges, library, bar and boot room with the help of Whitemore & Thwaytes to create a welcoming, open plan space with cosy corners in which to relax after a day on the fells.

The guest library at Fellpack HouseThe guest library at Fellpack House (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

The hotel closed immediately after New Year for the renovation to continue into the bedrooms, with an ambitious deadline to reopen before the next holiday season to meet. With director Chris Gill at the helm and Louie Whitemore leading the interiors project, an army of skilled, local craftspeople who had worked on the ground floor were called upon to return and complete the Victorian building’s modernisation.

The bedrooms are spread across two floors and each one is individual in layout, look and colour scheme. It means returning guests can enjoy a different experience each time they visit, or find their favourite for a future trip.

Louie explains: “The brief was for the scheme to be bespoke and different to anything else in Keswick, aligned to the Fellpack brand, with new, luxurious touches. The owners knew the feel they wanted. Where an interior designer comes in is translating that into something visual.”

The bar by Marcus SmithThe bar by Marcus Smith (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

She continues: “Because we had nine rooms we started by finding one thing for each room then created the scheme based around it. At the same time the whole project has to be cohesive so then we looked at the nine rooms collectively from a brand and marketing point of view. The aim was for each bedroom and bathroom to be individual but also to fit with the overall look.

“We wanted guests to come into quite a neutral hallway then any door that you opened into a room would make you go ‘ahh’.

“We ended up changing the original ideas we had for two of the rooms because they were too similar to others; to get them all right meant them going around in the wash a few times but we’re very pleased with the final outcome.”

Room Five, painted in Rufus by Paint & Paper LibraryRoom Five, painted in Rufus by Paint & Paper Library (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

Whilst every room is different, they are all characterised by a palette of warm tones found in the natural world, whether in the landscape, weather or water, as well as soft shapes, tactile textures and high-quality finishes. Primary colours are rare, white even less so with the emphasis on guest comfort and relaxation.

That is not to exclude the bold, however, and some of the features of the ground floor communal spaces such as rooms enveloped in the same colour feature often. The ground floor snug off the main lounge is a popular hideaway space for guests and, starting on the top floor, bedroom five replicates its full treatment with Paint & Paper Library ‘Rufus’. This takes in the complex structure of the attic-feel room with its various ceiling beams as well as the radiators which blend in.

“Our inspiration for this room came for the wallpaper by Casamance that we put behind the bed. Finishing the room using the Rufus colour works because it’s the whole room – if we had separated part of the room with another colour it would have warped the dimensions,” explains Louie.

Room Six, and Room Five, have views of Catbells and Walla CragRoom Six, and Room Five, have views of Catbells and Walla Crag (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

In common with all the bedrooms at the front of the building, its major selling point is the view, over the golf course in Hope Park and across to Catbells and Walla Crag and down the lake to Borrowdale.

“The previous window treatments restricted the view which was a real pity. In every room where that was happening we have ensured the view can be enjoyed completely,” she says. The fabric for the blind is by Romo.

Louie adds: “One of the biggest hopes for the project was to make the bathrooms feel bigger so we have upgraded those at the same as doing the interiors. Room five had a really small sink in the ensuite and a corner shower with a high tray so we extended the wall of the bathroom 95cm into the bedroom which allowed us to put in a much nicer shower and a good size sink. It has made such a difference.”

Room Five bathroomRoom Five bathroom (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

The Penrith branch of Huws Grey supplied the sanitaryware that is finished with brushed brass fittings throughout all the bathrooms. Here the high gloss, teal metro tiles were laid vertically, mirroring the wallpaper in the room.

Rather than filling the room with freestanding furniture, local craftsman Charles Smith – who built the library and bar downstairs – returned to make bespoke cabinetry to fit into any awkward spaces: bedside tables, hanging space and a shelf for a lamp. A high street dressing table – chosen for its mid-century aesthetic – was sprayed the same colour by Kevin Park, who also sprayed the radiators. “If we had kept the table oak it would have been the only piece in the room and would have jarred,” explains Louie.

The attention to detail continues to choices like a mirror with curved corners that reflects the wallpaper design and the rounded corners of the table. “Not everyone notices them, but at Whitemore & Thwaytes we pride ourselves on those little details that make a difference.”

Room Five, upholstery by Stephen BallRoom Five, upholstery by Stephen Ball (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

The rust-coloured fabric used in the bedhead and box seat – which were upholstered by Stephen Ball – are by Casamance and the throw, made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles, is by Designers Guild. Lamps and wall lights throughout are by Pooky, Elstead and Imperial Lighting.

“People don’t always understand that an interior designer does,” adds Louie. “We aren’t here to make the client spend money on things they don’t need or to push our own aesthetic. It’s helping them to pull together a cohesive look with carefully chosen pieces in such a way as they may not be able to do themselves.”

Next door, room six shares the same stunning view and is another room where Casamance fabric has been put to good use to inspire the overall colour scheme, with walls painted in Little Greene’s ‘Ambleside’ paint.

The bathroom is a prime example of how a luxury space can be created within a more modest budget with floor tiles from Fired Earth and grey-green wall tiles from Victorian Plumbing.

Room Four in Fellpack HouseRoom Four in Fellpack House (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

Room four, which has rooftop views to the back of the building, is one of four rooms where the bedhead has been created to slide apart so it can be configured with twin beds. Here the Jane Churchill fabric used for the window blind provided the inspiration. Repeated in the cushions, a snapshot of its colours was taken to daring levels on the walls that are painted in Little Greene’s Mid Azure Green. “We didn’t want all the rooms to be the same and choosing different fabrics led us down different directions for the overall colour schemes; using just one pattern in a room and pulling from that gives it cohesion,” says Louie. The lampshades are by Ian Sanderson on bases by Pooky.

Room Four tiling by Leslie ChapelhowRoom Four tiling by Leslie Chapelhow (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

This bathroom is in a pink tile that was so popular they asked their “fantastic” tiler Leslie Chapelhow to use it elsewhere. “You have to consider the scale of tile,” Louie suggests. “Bathrooms should be a place of calm. Small tiles in a big bathroom can work, but we would often recommend that you only use it in an area in conjunction with a painted section, a complementary wallpaper or an area of wood panelling otherwise it could feel too busy.”

Where they could they retained, but adapted, some of the existing carpentry, such as built-in wardrobes and dressing tables. “This room had a built-in dressing table with drawers but it didn’t function well so we extended the depth of the top and the drawers so you could actually sit at the table.”

The bathroom in Room Seven in Fellpack HouseThe bathroom in Room Seven in Fellpack House (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

Room seven is a classic double at the back of the house with bold Canton by Little Greene on the walls and a contemporary Romo fabric on the headboard. Complementary teal and rust coloured cushions continue the look along with a throw and box seat cover made in-house by Whitemore & Thwaytes onsite workrooom using Melton wool by Abbotsford. For this bathroom they went for a fluted green-grey tile on the walls.

In common with many Victorian houses of this style, there is a half landing, which is home to two further rooms.

Room Two at Fellpack HouseRoom Two at Fellpack House (Image: Sheenah)

Bedroom two is a different colour scheme again, a collection of mustard, ochre, orange and tan. Casamance Shinock linen textured wallpaper, employed so effectively in the ground floor lounges, makes for a warm and cosy space. “As we went on the Fellpack team really trusted us and got braver and as they got braver the colours got bolder,” explains Louie. “Although there are several different colourways here they work together tonally, inspired by the William Yeoward ethnic pattern in the window blind.”

The new shower room highlights what can be achieved in a small space. “It previously had a shower with a high step into it which made the room feel smaller. We looked at changing all bathrooms into an easily maintained wet room style but it wasn’t viable so instead we chose a shower base with a 1cm lip that gives the same feel but without the additional challenges of a wet room.”

Pops of colour in Room ThreePops of colour in Room Three (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

Room three is a favourite of decorator Marcus Nelson, who particularly likes the colour scheme of mustard and terracotta with pops of bright ink blue in the bedside tables and dressing table – the same one from John Lewis as room five – and in the blind fabric by William Yeoward.

This room, which has dual aspect across the town, was also made more spacious by the removal of a linen cupboard accessed in the corridor outside. This was blocked up and the cupboard incorporated into the bedroom to create a much-improved shower room, while the old ensuite is now a useful storage and hanging area.

The bed was also moved to allow guests to see directly out of the windows as they wake up. “It was a room that felt neglected,” says Louie, “but now you can sit and have a brew at the window and enjoy the view.”

The wallpaper is Casamance Le Lin in Ochre. As well as the cushions, which are a mix of in-house made and off-the-shelf, the colour is picked up in details including mugs, which sit on bespoke wooden trays with leather handles made by Jacqueline Duffield, of Bespoke Home, of Redhills, near Penrith.

Room One can be split into a twinRoom One can be split into a twin (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

Finally to the first floor, where the most refiguring took place. Firstly, room one is another that can be configured as a twin by splitting the bed and bedhead, in Jane Churchill fabric. The same colours are replicated in the blind and cushions with the teal colour picked out in the Abbotsford wool throw, all made by the in-house team at Whitemore and Thwaytes.

The walls are Little Greene Terracotta Red while the dresser, window frame and shelf are Paint & Paper Library Sand. “Getting the woodwork and ceiling to tie in and not just defaulting to white is really important,” says Louie. “Pure white against a dark colour would feel very stark and doesn't make for a cohesive scheme. We used ‘Sand’ and another shade, Slaked Lime, on woodwork throughout for consistency but also maintenance – and so the decorator didn't hate us.”

She adds that painter Marcus is “worth his weight in gold”. “He is a decorator with an eye for what works and genuinely cares about the project.” Indeed, the Fellpack team were so impressed, they offered him a night in the hotel to get his overall feedback about the new guest experience.”

The seat pad of the brass Cult Furniture dressing stool only comes in white normally so Whitemore & Thwaytes had it recovered to fit the scheme. The lampshades are by Imperial Lighting.

Hazel Dene is painted in Paint & Paper Library 'Apple Green'Hazel Dene is painted in Paint & Paper Library 'Apple Green' (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

At the front of the hotel are two suites – Hazel Dene, a nod to the hotel’s former life, and Borrowdale Light, by virtue of the view from the large window.

The view from Hazel DeneThe view from Hazel Dene (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

At this time of year the colour scheme in Hazel Dene instantly reflects the view out of the window: the fresh greens of the golf course immediately in front and the trees beyond and the pinky brown hue of the bracken on the side of Catbells. The same colours and more are also found in the vibrant curtains set against Paint & Paper Library ‘Apple Green’ on the walls, while the pink is picked up in the bathroom tiles.

New chairs for the room were made by Whitehead Designs, of Long Eaton.

Chris admits he was not sure about the choices at first. “With 24 hours to go before the first guests checked in we had no curtains or blinds just a totally green room. It was so green. We did say ‘what are we thinking, we’ve got this wrong’ but when everything was in we did a complete 180 and acknowledged it was right.

“Maybe it takes an outsider to push you outside your comfort zone. They come not just with ideas but also the experience to know what works.”

Borrowdale LightBorrowdale Light (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

Perhaps the most dramatic change has been in Borrowdale Light which has been given the full treatment with Little Green ‘Royal Navy’. Although a bold blue, it has a calming effect supported by the mustard throw, the colours inspired by the headboard that is covered in Linwood’s ‘We Built This City’ print.

The bedroom previously had an avocado bathroom suite but this was taken out to create a glamorous dressing space. The new bathroom fills a former bedroom and is the only room with a freestanding bath which was sprayed to fit the colour scheme, a combination of paint and ‘Lemmy Pumpkin’ tiles.

Fireplaces were reinstated in both suites, although they are finished in tiles and don’t have working fires.

Borrowdale Light's bathroom used to be another bedroomBorrowdale Light's bathroom used to be another bedroom (Image: Sheenah Alcock)

The team sold some inherited items from the old bedrooms and donated other pieces to the British Heart Foundation shop.

Chris adds: “Five weeks into the scheme I was genuinely worried that we had invested a lot and hadn’t got much further than the colour of the walls. The room layouts were broadly the same. But once the soft furnishings went in it was ‘wow, this has really been worthwhile’.

“I really feel that it stands up against anything now. All the rooms are so different but also conjure up the feel that we wanted, and the vast majority of guests are very happy with what we’ve done. It’s fresh and up to date but not tied to any trend.

“The service our team give is amazing, from hotel manager Jodie Gray and Victoria Jones, assistant manager to head housekeeper Candy Regan and her assistants Ben Hardman and Daria Gancarz. They are a brilliant team and we really hope the building finally matches the level of care they give.”

Joinery: Lattimers of Wigton

Building works: Bulman Building Contractors

Carpentry: Charles Smith Bespoke Joinery

Decorators: Marcus Nelson Decorators

Tiling: Leslie Chapelhow

Plumbing: Eddie Thompson

Electrics: BPA Electrical Services Ltd

Paint/Spray Works: Kevin Park French Polishers

Floors: Westmorland Flooring Limited

Sanitaryware: Huws Gray, Penrith