At Home With Charlie Gray @askcharliehow
This week we are at home with Charlie Gray the creative and practical mastermind behind the instagram account @askcharliehow. As a wife & mum she shares tips and ideas on traditional values, home economics / homemaking
and life hacks from her beautiful grade II listed home in the South Downs National Park.
Tell us a bit about you and your home
Our house was built in approx. 1770 it was part of the Stopham Estate it was two farm workers cottages that were later joined together and then in 70’s to wings added. It’s Grade 11 listed and in the South Down National Park and an area of Outstanding natural beauty. The house was extremely ugly when we brought it in 2007, luckily Simon (my Husband) has great vision! On paper it ticked all our boxes was just hideous and needed a lot of work doing to it!
We wanted to turn it back in to a traditional Sussex cottage as the 70’s additions really stood out!
How would you describe your home?
Our home is traditional country cottage and we have restored it sympathetically.
What is your favourite room in the house?
My favourite room is the kitchen, I spent a long time carefully planning it with our Kitchen designers as it’s the heart of the home so as a family we spend a lot of time in here, and I am passionate about cooking.
How does your home reflect your passions and interests?
Our home really does reflect our interests, a love of country pursuits, animals, gardening and cooking! We have three sets of double doors onto the garden so we can open up the doors and enjoy being outside. I can see the stables and paddocks from most of the upstairs windows.
What are your favourite items in the home?
We have a lot of furniture that has been passed down from our parents and it wonderful to use and enjoy these, Coco our daughter sleeps in a beautiful antique French bed that was Simon’s mothers!
I have some of my mother’s paintings and a beautiful cabinet that I store our glasses in.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
The house and garden was an enormous project, it took us a few years to get planning permission, we lived here for 3 years as it was, which I think gives you a great idea of how the house works.
Have you done any renovation?
We changed every wall downstairs and half of upstairs was re gigged! The best thing we did which was an extra was to go into the loft space in the landing and open it up to double height! When I told my mother we were doing this she said the light in my brothers childhood room would be perfect to hang there but she had recently sold it! I brought it back! And it is perfect!
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
There is one room I would love to change and that’s the downstairs loo! It’s also a wet room so fully tiled and so you can’t hang any pictures! But its practical and been very useful! Also I would never choose a cream sofa again in the breakfast room! With 4 dogs and 3 children its always dirty!!
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
I couldn’t live without my Aga I just love it! From cooking on to keeping us warm and drying the washing its perfect
They say every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
Our home definitely reflects us! Its homely and cosy, comfortable yet practical, definitely not a show home but a family home
The Home Edit
Lived-in Look or show home?
If you could paint your walls one colour, what would it be?
Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
I love to feel relaxed in a home not being on show!
Favourite front door colour?
Carpet or Floorboards?
Both floorboards downstairs and carpet up
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
I love a kitchen supper but so much fun to get dressed up and be in a dining room!
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
Wallpaper! I hate exposed brick unless around a fireplace