At Home With Emma @mylittlecountrylife
This week we are at home with Emma, the lady behind the very popular instagram account @mylittlecountrylife where she shares images of her country lifestyle and experiences as a new mum from her lovely grade II listed cottage in Sussex
Tell us a bit about you
I live in a Grade II Listed cottage in a quintessential English village in West Sussex. I live with my husband, our 14-month-old Rupert, two quite out of control Dalmatians and two cats. Prior to becoming a first-time mummy, I worked as a HR Business Partner. At present I am taking some time out from corporate life to fully enjoy my time with Rupert; my husband, who fortunately at this moment in time is able to work out of our garden office, along with being able to spend more quality time with our horses and dogs.
Tell us about your home
Our cottage dates back to 1753 and we are led to believe it was originally a blacksmith and that passers-by on route to one of the surrounding market towns would stop in for freshly baked bread direct from the bread oven which forms part of the inglenook fireplace.
How would you describe your home?
I feel I am yet to fully discover my exact home style, therefore at present I would say it is a little bit of everything above, aside from modern. I love simplicity, natural and rustic country feels in a home.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
The master bedroom, it was the room that made us fall in love with the cottage in the first place. Upon opening the door, you are presented with a light and airy room with a gorgeous vaulted ceiling. Something that you would not expect to find in a small cottage such as ours.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests that you have?
As soon as you step foot through the front door and enter the porch, it is evident that our ultimate interest is enjoying the great outdoors. On display is an array of (sometimes neatly presented), boots for every outdoor pursuit along with the odd strand of hay or straw which made its way home from the stables.
Aside from our love of the outdoors, our love for our animals is present from all the paintings of them hanging on the walls up the stairs. There is then of course the dog beds and toys scattered about the cottage!
What are your favourite items in the home?
My favourite item would have to be the Grandfather clock, it is somewhat of a family heirloom. It was my Grandparents and growing up it is was displayed in the entrance hall to the Victorian house which was part occupied by my mother and father, sister, and I, in one half and my Grandparents in the other. The clock is something that I treasured greatly as it reminds me of an extremely happy time in my childhood and times enjoyed in a home which I loved dearly.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
Some might say it was the finished article others not so much, for us it was not the finished article and it has been a labour of love to get it to where it is today, and I would still not call it the finished article. Yet for us it will remain as it is, as despite our love for the cottage we have outgrown it after five happy years here and we have now put it on the market.
Our house has good bones and thankfully there was nothing structurally or otherwise that needed our attention when we moved in, it was simply a case of putting our own stamp on it and making it our own. The garden was the biggest project for us, as it was an extremely overgrown, if not a wild cottage garden. To this day we still have bunnies, pheasants, hedgehogs, frogs, and all sorts who pay us a visit daily.
Have you done any renovation?
The first thing we had to do when we moved in was turn our attention to the garden, in particular the fencing as we needed to make it dog proof. We ripped out a hedge to allow extra light to come in through the living room windows, replacing the hedge with a picket fence. For the first few months, every weekend was another chance to have a good old burn up on a bonfire as we cut back and reclaimed parts of the garden which had become overgrown. We wanted to open the garden up to make the most of the space as well as the views of the fields beyond and allow our dogs plenty of space to run in without them destroying any flower beds. The garden has been the biggest learning curve for me and has taught me the most while discovering a love of gardening. Once the garden was underway, we turned our attention to the inside of the cottage. After upgrading the heating system inside, it was little more than cosmetics and a lick of paint.
The master bedroom had an eyesore of a plastic/metal spiral staircase which we replaced with a lovely wooden one far more fitting to the room and cottage. In our time at the cottage, we have had a new kitchen fitted, and have done many cosmetics alterations, painting, replacing floorboards, and generally making the cottage a brighter place than it once was.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
During our first winter we had no heating aside from a teeny tiny extremely old and inefficient wood burner as we had been overly enthusiastic with ripping out the ancient and ugly storage heaters. Most recently I foolishly decided to ignore the washing instructions on our expensive living room curtains and shrunk them a good few inches off the drop.
What is your top home styling tip?
Invest well in your furniture and key pieces that you know you will still love in years to come.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
Those I live with and make it the home that it is.
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
I think the first impressions would be that a very busy outdoorsy family lives here and that the house is ruled by the dogs! I hope that our home is like us, warm and welcoming to all who walk through its doors.
The Home Edit
Lived-in look or showhome?
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
Crown Period, White Glove
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
When people buy beautiful period homes and overly modernise them.
Favourite front door colour
Farrow and Ball Lichen 19
Carpet or Floorboards
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
Kitchen table dinning
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
If you enjoyed being at home with Emma, you might like to take a look inside other popular home styling accounts on instagram and find out more about the people behind them. You can see more of these "at home with" articles here
Emma's instagram account is stunning and can be found at https://www.instagram.com/mylittlecountrylife/