Paula Sutton runs the Instagram account Hill House Vintage, and we previously featured her in Best Wardrobes in Britain, so we're already big fans of her style at Who What Wear. But did you know her eye for interiors is just as popular? Sutton's style is best described as cottagecore meets fashion industry, and it's evident in how she's made her Norfolk home look aspirational but cosy at the same time. Here, she shares her picks for the ultimate countryside interior style.
Now that summer is on its way, I like to have a basket of throws and picnic blankets by the front door and a selection in the car at all times. You never know when you’re going to come across that perfect picnic spot or grassy verge to stop for a rest and a spot of refreshment, and it's always good to have something comfortable and stylish to sit or lie on. Other highlights for me right now? Every interior needs a bunch of flowers, in my opinion, and you should make a point of buying them for yourself as well as for family and friends. Keep scrolling to see more of my countryside favourites.
I’m a huge fan of vintage green cabbage ware, so it’s lovely to see these stunning organic shapes in a pretty shade such as rose. I’m a firm believer that everything on your table should be beautiful and joyful as well as practical, and these bowls couldn’t fail to raise a smile.
A home can never have too many candles. Whether it’s to add fragrance to a room or to add atmosphere (everything looks far more attractive by candlelight) or simply as an attractive and colourful addition to a dining table, candles fulfil multiple functions apart from the obvious light. Personally, the prettier and more interesting, the better, and these twisted beauties from Edition 94 are an absolute treat for use at a beautifully styled dinner table.
Anyone who knows me knows that my house is always filled with the sweet smell of baking. Whether it’s a three-tiered Victoria sponge or a platter of full of shortbread biscuits, there’s always a sweet treat on hand to have with your cup of tea. This means that cake stands are essential. After all, the cake should be a visual feast as well as an edible one.
Speaking of tea, I must confess that I am a mug addict. I’ve searched out and collected beautiful and unique mugs for years. These Emma Bridgewater ones covered in a strawberry design are my most recent acquisition. They remind me of my kitchen garden and the joy of growing fruits and vegetables.
Of course, you can’t possibly serve tea without a good teapot, and the ones from Cornishware remind me of my childhood. When I was growing up, the blue-and-white striped Cornishware was a staple in most households, and it’s fantastic that the company has been reignited by its new owners and become popular again. There’s nothing more classic than a blue-and-white stripe.
Paula Sutton outside her home
I love upcycling chairs and recovering small items of furniture like footstools and seat pads. I’ve bought chairs for as low as £5 and simply changed the old fabric to something chic and vibrant such as this Ian Mankin Suffolk Check. Customising vintage furniture to suit your taste is both satisfying and often more economical than buying off the peg.
You can simply never have enough cushions, and when it seems as though you have too many, simply buy the covers without the pads so that they can be stored and changed around easily to suit the season. I love a mixture of contemporary fabrics, vintage and designer. The Dandolo cushion cover from Oka has a wonderfully vintage look—slightly faded and embroidered, which adds a lovely amount of texture and interest to any room scheme.
I keep it simple when it comes to bedding: plain white with perhaps an embroidered white trim or scalloped edging. The White Company is my go-to for plain, classic white bedding, which I then dress up with more colourful quilts, eiderdowns and bedspreads.
Having all types of art is a must-have in any home. I love everything from original oils and watercolours to contemporary prints. I’m not an art snob; I simply buy what I love. This gorgeous print from The Cornrow is an absolute beauty and is destined for my home office.
You’ve gotta love a bit of kitsch, and these dachshund salt and pepper shakers are as kitsch as you can get. They’ll provide a perfect talking point at dinner, and if you’re dining on your own, then how could you not smile a little wider and enjoy your food more with these two fellows watching on?
A table dressed for afternoon tea outside Paula Sutton's home
It’s so easy to forget the joy of seeing family and friends' photographs in proper picture frames now that we all save our images onto camera phones. I make a point of always having a few picture frames of loved ones scattered all over the house. It's so much nicer for everyone to see than having to dig deep into your phone!
Lamp bases are a great way to inject colour and fun into a room scheme. I love anything with a curve, and these Aurora bubble table lamps are at once fun and elegant.
Blue-and-white tableware is timeless. It can look vintage, and it can look contemporary depending on the accessories. Pile on the blue and white mixed with vintage brass for a nostalgic look, while adding white serveware and table linen will keep it looking contemporary.
At some point in your life, you will be celebrating something. Do it with something special to elevate the celebration to a different level. The weight of good-quality cut-glass crystal will always make a celebration feel more special.
If I don’t want to leave a candle burning unattended, then room diffusers are the next best thing. I love the ones from Vintage & Bespoke because they come in the most beautiful vintage-style cut-glass crystal bottles, and the diffuser is in the shape of a flower that unfurls as the scent hits it. It's mesmerising to look at and a delight to smell.
I mentioned one can never have too many candles, and this small independent candle company is a particular favourite because it sells candles to suit different moods. The calm candle is my favourite and is part of my evening ritual currently.
My love of gingham and checks extends to lampshades as well, and these ones from Projekti Tyyny are so pretty and very much in keeping with the cottagecore/country aesthetic.
Paula Sutton inside her home
Cute places to store bits and pieces are a must. Whether it’s my reading glasses, my keys, the remote control or simply the day's post, storage baskets and bowls are a pretty way to keep practical things safe and attractive.
A lovely local Norfolk lady makes these, and the quality is wonderful. She sources her fabrics often in iconic designs that have been discontinued or are hard to find, so they are all limited-edition. As a self-confessed cushion addict, I can never have too many, and I particularly love to use colourful cushions in the garden in summer as an easy way to make a picnic seem a tad more special!
I’m not going to lie—I’m the sort of person who likes my tea towels and oven gloves to be pretty. I’ve followed Tori Murphy’s design career for years. I adore her prints, and it’s lovely to see them stocked in Selfridges.
I love Alice’s lampshades—such a simple idea and yet each one is spectacular and adds a unique and stylish homespun vibe to a room. It’s cottagecore luxe!
I love frilly things, and I love Liberty prints. Coco & Wolf has the best combinations of these things in homeware form!