Life & Design

Judy Huston, co-founder of The Pig hotel, on life in the Hampshire countryside

The designer and hotelier reveals the secret to The Pig's signature aesthetic – and the last things she bought for her home

Judy Huston, co-founder of The Pig hotel
(Image credit: Emli Bendixen)

Judy Hutson is credited with changing the face of British country house hotels with her iconic, eclectic, and rustic interiors at the litter of Pig hotels dotted around the south and southwest of England. 

Some would say that their inimitable style has kickstarted the renaissance of interest in country decorating ideas, in the UK at least.

When she and hotelier husband Robin opened their first Pig hotel in Brockenhurst in 2011, they put individual room design and kitchen-garden food at the center of their business, calling the concept 'restaurants with rooms.' There are now seven Pig hotels, with another on the way in the South Downs region of East Sussex this summer. 

Judy Huston, co-founder of The Pig hotel and her husband Robin

(Image credit: Jake Eastham)

Here, Judy shares more about the beautiful Pig empire, from her favorite caffe latte that fuels her endeavors to her love for colorful Superga trainers.  

I was born…  

… In south west Wolverhampton. When I was 14, my family moved to Bridge, a village just outside Canterbury, which is close to my heart (and where we have a Pig hotel). 

Apart from a few years working in Bermuda in the early 1980s, Robin and I have lived in Hampshire: first in the Lymington area and, since 1994, in the heart of Winchester. 

I enjoy the fact that…

River Itchen flowing through the city of Winchester in Hampshire

River Itchen flowing through the city of Winchester in Hampshire

(Image credit: Alamy)

… I live in the center of a historic city, but within five minutes, I can walk from our house and be in the countryside, across the Water Meadows and up and down nearby hills. It is wonderful seeing weekly changes in nature. I can see why John Keats eulogized the Water Meadows in To Autumn. 

When we eat out… 

… we enjoy strolling through the cathedral grounds and city center to our friend David Nicholson's restaurant, The Black Rat. We have a number of creative friends with who we love to meet up for dinner or drinks, including fashion designer Pearl Lowe, the talented wildlife carver Stephen Henderson and the jeweler Tom McEwan.

We love cooking at home… 

Judy Huston, co-founder of The Pig hotel with her husband

(Image credit: Jake Eastham)

… we are big foodies and love entertaining when we can. I have used Sabrina Ghayour's books a lot, which is perfect for the relaxed sharing style of entertaining that we enjoy. Her latest book, Simply, has become much thumbed.

When I have the opportunity to go for coffee…

… I love to sit in the Hoxton Bakehouse and have their delicious caffe latte. It's great for people-watching, and their cinnamon bun is to die for. 

I tend to live in…

… jeans or leggings with a shirt and Superga trainers, of which I have countless colors. One of my favorite clothing brands is Ganni, which is stocked at The Hambledon in the Cathedral Square, where I have shopped for the last 20 years. 

The secret to The Pig 'look'...

The Pig hotel

 The Pig, Brockenhurst lounge

(Image credit: Jake Eastham)

… is including older pieces in a room; it helps give it an enveloped look and is so intrinsic to our ethos. We buy our antiques and vintage pieces from lots of sources in the UK and abroad, but locally Mayfly Vintage is a good source for lighting and other curios. James, the owner, has a good eye. 

The last things I bought for my house…

… were a Le Creuset wok, which is a really practical piece of kit; a part of unusual anatomy engravings dated around 1880 bought from the Michael Lewis Gallery in Bruton and rustic poetry bowl from a local potter in Kas, Turkey. It has a real handmade feel with good color and tactile shape. 

We have a lovely garden room at home…

… where I can look out with a cup of tea. Our son Ollie is the family gardener, and for general gardening needs, Hillier Garden Centre in Winchester does a really good job. 

The demand for staycations in the UK…

The Pig hotel bedroom

The Pig at Harlyn Bay

(Image credit: Jake Eastham)

… was high last year, and we hope it will continue in 2021. We, of course, travel around The Pigs, but our go-to relaxed holiday is Hotel Villa Mahal in Kalkan, Turkey, where we have been going for some 20-plus years. I don't think we have seen a cloud in the sky there in all that time. 

Ariel view of The Pig hotel at Harlyn Bay

The Pig at Harlyn Bay

(Image credit: Jake Eastham)

My book...

The Pig: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond, is filled with recipes, kitchen garden ideas, and interior inspiration for Pig fans.

Interview by Jessica Salter for Homes & Gardens June 2021.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.