Paula Sutton’s Instagram feed (@hillhousevintage) is a constant source of joy for us. Living in Norfolk with her husband and three children, the former magazine booker curates and captures the most gorgeous moments. It’s cottagecore at its best and most authentic, offering a quintessentially British celebration of vintage fashion, gardening, baking and floral arrangements. Her eye for detail and colour is spirit-lifting and always inspiring – and her taste is impeccable.
“I can never have too many candles – I use them in most rooms in the house. At the moment, I’m sitting with one from Penhaligon’s, called Assam Tea, which gives off the most exquisite scent. I also keep their pretty packaging for decoration and storage – they’re like beautiful mini hat boxes!”
“I love to use natural fabrics, textiles and fibres around the house as much as I can, especially when things are handmade and artisan. Edit58’s handwoven rush runners are great to throw down in any room and add a lovely rustic but hard-wearing element, which is in keeping with the working country house feel.”
“Swapping over scatter cushions when the seasons change is one of the easiest ways to inject new life into your decor without embarking on a full-blown room revamp. It’s a ‘cheat’s’ way of introducing a new colour scheme. I love Wicklewood for their wonderful use of colour and pattern in their textiles and ceramics. It’s always a bold statement, without being overpowering.”
“Linen napkins are a pure pleasure when setting the table and I always have a selection in different colours to suit the scheme. I love these ones, from Birdie Fortescue. They have an air of art deco about them, which would influence the choice of plates and serveware. I have fun planning themes when setting the table for dinner, especially during lockdown, when endless meals at the same table can get boring!”
“I love to create tablescapes and so I have a lot of china and table linen. I collect vintage pieces, but among the more contemporary items is the collection that Skye McAlpine designed for Anthropologie, which has an earthy, rustic feel to it, and is perfect for my cakes and table settings.”
“So much about making a house beautiful is in the small details. Things like coat hangers can be so easily overlooked as just basic items that don’t need considering. However, having a few of these colourful beauties in the cloakroom helps to uplift an otherwise boring and purely functional area into something that’s a joy to enter – and that’s always a good thing.”
Cabbages & Roses
“I’m a huge fan of Cabbages & Roses and their quirkily romantic and quintessentially English vintage aesthetic. I’ve worn their clothes for years – they are beautifully made, classic heirloom pieces made in small quantities, and their homewares collection of fabrics, wallpaper and bed linen is equally as exquisite.”
“I am a stationery addict, and as confusing as it may sound, I love to have a desktop diary as well as a smaller one for my handbag, plus the diary on my phone. I love Smythson’s pocket versions and their little notebooks for jotting down inspiring things, dreams and wishes for the coming year. Practicality combined with beauty is a running theme with me.”
“I’ve lusted after the hand-stamped wallpaper at Barneby Gates for several years, and I’m finally designing a room using their Honey Bees pattern in pink, which I’ve been desperate to introduce into a scheme for a while – it’s one of the projects that I’m most excited about this year.”
“I wear boots all year round, whether I’m in a dress or trousers. I love adding a rough edge to feminine, floaty dresses with a hard-wearing, lace-up boot or brogues, and this pair of Legres adds a lovely element of utility-wear to everything.”
“I’ve recently fallen in love with dresses from Seraphina after the success of a blue one that I wore for Christmas. I now have my eye on their green pleat dress, which will be perfect for that in-between moment at the end of winter/beginning of spring.”
“Anything that can elevate a simple meal is fine by me, and charcuterie boards are a must have when it comes to easy snacks and suppers. I like to scour Etsy for things like this as you can find so many individual makers and sellers, and you really get to know where your items are sourced from and even by whom they are made.”
“Throughout the lockdowns and pandemic, baking has been my oasis of calm, but the trick is to make the simplest of things look utterly fabulous by using beautiful vessels! Emile Henri make the prettiest ruffled pie dishes, and I am particularly partial to a pretty-looking ruffle on anything!”
“Give me stripes, give me ticking, give me checks and gingham – I fall for cutely patterned preppy elements every time. Add a scallop and you’ll have me swooning. Angela Wickstead has all of these elements wrapped up into one with her cute, scalloped placemats – and matching napkins. Roll on, summer!”
“I’m undoubtedly jumping the gun here, but there’s nothing I’m looking forward to more than enjoying a good group picnic again. I’ve always collected baskets and hampers for that purpose, and although it’s been slim pickings this past year, they can double up as storage in colder months, so they earn their keep. When I spotted this aptly named basket, I knew that it would be a good addition to my collection in anticipation of those lazy, hazy days of summer, when the wine will once more pour freely and the company will be bountiful!”
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