Fiona Fullerton is surely the archetypal English actress. In a successful career encompassing television, film and stage, she managed to combine silver-screen era elegance with a sensuous, contemporary edge that enabled her to convincingly portray a variety of characters. Although Fiona has moved on to a new career, that aura of Englishness and elegance remains, and her home, a beautiful old vicarage in a small Cotswold village, provides a setting that seems to suit her better than any contrived film set could hope to do. A dark green Jaguar Sovereign on the driveway completes the scene. But acting is no longer the focus of Fiona’s enthusiasm.
“I retired when my little girl was born. I’m so much happier. For me, the main reason was that I had my baby very late in life and I wanted to spend some time with her and with a husband who I absolutely adore. The work I was doing, theatre mainly, meant working every night, six nights a week, so I hardly saw my family. I thought, well I’m going to have to stop, this is ridiculous, I want to be at home. And I love writing: I’ve always been a writer. Although predominantly I was acting, I always used to write. I’ve had pieces published since the 80s, and I thought that’s something I can do at home. I have an office here and I run my property business and my writing and the new accessories business from here, so it really suits me very well.”
The subject matter for her writing is provided by another of Fiona’s major passions.
“I suppose I’d always been interested in property, in fact I’ve been investing since 1976. It seemed to me a sort of natural progression to become more involved in the rental market. I used to develop – to buy and sell, but now what I do is buy to let, so I’m a landlord. I have a small portfolio of properties which I let to young professionals in central London and Oxford. Then, because I love interior design, a natural extension of that was to come up with a mail order company providing accessories and soft furnishings for the home that are slightly unusual and difficult to access on the high street – the sort of things that you can’t necessarily buy in John Lewis or any of the smart department stores. And because I’ve been doing up houses for years and years, I’ve come across suppliers in the trade that most women like me, who are doing up their houses, might be completely unaware of. So my idea for the company was to provide access to some of these much smaller suppliers who make beautiful th ings. I mean, I’m talking about everything from lamps to tiebacks for your curtains, beautiful tassels, beautiful finials, beautiful linens, cushions, all sorts of things. That’s the company Casa Libra which we’re launching at the end of this month, as soon as the website’s finished. The whole catalogue will be online literally in about a week or so, so we’re very close now.
“My career at the moment is sort of multi-dimensional. I’m on my third book, which is about buying to let. It’s my third property book. I do a lot of features for newspapers as well, so I write every day, because I have various commitments and columns and things that I have to write. but it all tends to be revolving now around houses, so everything that I do is to do with property.”