There is a new opening in Cheltenham’s Imperial Square. Known in sartorial circles as the Good Times House, it’s the kind of bolthole that Jay Gatsby would have loved. For anyone who’s spent the last year trying to book a staycation, it’s a bonafide jewel. And yet a memorable stay isn’t all this flamboyant townhouse offers. Complete with a head-chef and concierge, The Good Times House promises an entirely new way of experiencing food and friends in the city. Earlier this year, we sat down with its founder, Ricardo Fearon, to discuss art, intimacy and the changing face of British luxury.
Before he fell in love with interiors, Ricardo Fearon was a master of make believe.
“I actually started my career as a visual effects artist in Soho,” he explains. “And while it was exciting to work on films, I found CGI to be quite restrictive.”
“I knew I needed something more tangible so I started getting really into property, working as an architectural designer across North London and Knightsbridge.”
Despite a desire to break free from film, his latest project would prove to be quite the blockbuster. Coaxed from the bones of a Grade II Regency building, it has a freewheeling, capricious spirit. The kind of house that makes room for playfulness. And looks good doing it.
Ricardo Fearon | Founder of The Good Times Company
"I wanted to be in the Cotswolds region because I felt like there was something I could add there"
“I wanted to be in the Cotswolds region because I felt like there was something I could add there,” he continues.
“I’ve always found that the big hotels do fine dining very well. They have a great bar. And yet what they struggle with, so often, is intimacy.”
It’s a conviction that really came of age during the pandemic. With the world still reeling from their run-in with social distancing, Ricardo felt that the UK was ready for a new kind of luxury experience. One that had all the service of a boutique hotel. But with the personal affect of home.
“The Good Times House is all about people, faces, and making new connections,” Ricardo confirms.
“I’ve never understood the desire to lock everything away behind closed doors. In Miami, I love when I’m able to watch the chef prepare a meal. I think it adds theatre! It also just helps break down some of the societal stuffiness that comes with such places.”
“I’ve always had quite colourful style. Whether it’s cars, watches or Art Basel, I’m into big, expressive pieces.”
This sense of easygoing luxury percolates through property. Upon entry, guests are greeted by a cornucopia of Camaleonda sofas, each upholstered in midnight blue velvet. Strewn casually about the Georgian sitting room, they have a delicious, laissez-faire feel.
“I’ve always had quite colourful style,” Ricardo confesses. “Whether it’s cars, watches or Art Basel, I’m into big, expressive pieces.”
The building wears it well. After all, it’s a suitable level of grandeur for this old Georgian townhouse. And yet we find it goes beyond good style. While some of its neighbours seem to rattle and creak, the Good Times House has found a way to turn back the clock.
Much of the magic takes place in the subterranean games room. Nestled just below street-level it has a louche, speak-easy vibe, the perfect destination for after-hours shenanigans. Tucked away in a corner behind Pukka Lounge Chairs and portable Panthella lamps is an original 1963 Gottleib pinball machine.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found it,” Ricardo enthuses. “It’s the beauty of doing a project like this from scratch. There are so many little details that I love.”
For his first solo endeavour, it’s nothing short of triumphant.
“I’ve jumped into the deep end now” laughs Ricardo.
That he has. And yet like most plunges into the deep, they tend to unearth hidden treasures. In this case, a sumptuous urban bolthole in the heart of Montpellier.