At Home with Kath @hilltopcottagehome
This week I'm delighted to be at home with Kath, the home interior loving lady behind the wonderful instagram account @hilltopcottagehome where she shares incredible images of life in her amazing arts and crafts cottage. Read on to learn more about Kath, her home, lifestyle, and top tips for home styling.
Tell us about you
Hello everyone, I’m Kath and live at Hilltop with my husband, two teenage sons and Bertie, our much-loved cockapoo (and consummate Instagram poser). I’m a lawyer by day and interiors addict by night – I didn’t really ‘do’ social media until Covid – I discovered all the lovely accounts on Instagram during lockdown and my friend persuaded me to set up my account. The little community I’m part of has become a real source of enjoyment for me
Tell us about your home
Hilltop is an Arts and Crafts cottage built by H. Balfour Gardiner, a Victorian composer and good friend of Gustav Holst. We used to live two doors away and I always wondered what it would be like to live at Hilltop; it’s definitely a dream come true for me.
When we moved to the village, we found my ancestors buried in the church yard, it turned out that almost every generation of my side of the family has lived in the village since the 1600s; it was an incredible coincidence as we had no idea of where previous generations had lived, as my grandfather grew up in an orphanage after his mother died in the flu epidemic in 1918.
How would you describe your home?
I love cosy, country interiors, so I think ‘country cottage style’ sums it up. I’m drawn to florals, and soft pinks and greens, so there is a lot of that in our home!
Which is your favourite room in the house?
That’s a tricky one as it depends on the time of year and what I’m doing – if I had to chose just one, I’d say the sitting room that leads into the garden; I love the beams and the afternoon sunshine and it’s where I relax in the evenings.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests?
It definitely reflects my love of florals, also photography as it’s full of photos of friends and family and special memories. I keep meaning to switch out photos, but end up adding more! I like to learn new skills, so there are cross-stiches, embroidery and renovated furniture.
I’ve tried my hand at and lots of piano music as I am trying to teach myself. I love spooky movies, so there is a rather terrifying DVD collection lurking in the cupboard!
What are your favourite items in the home?
Probably the brass deer that used to sit above the fire in my Grandad’s cottage in the woods – it’s the items that remind me of people and memories that mean the most to me. I got bought some Robert Thompson ‘Mouseman’ napkin rings about 20 years ago and it sparked a love of all things Mouseman, so I now have lamps, bowls and other smaller items; there are little oak mice everywhere!
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
Structurally it was the finished article – the previous owners had thoughtfully extended and renovated, whilst retaining the original features such as the oak panelling, beams, and old elm windows and doors.
What renovation and decorating have you done?
We created the garden more or less from scratch – we put in flower beds, trees and a vegetable plot and this year our new garden ‘Hideout’. In the house we have created a new office from an old potting shed and decorated gradually from room to room. I’ve learnt a lot about gardening – choosing plants to suit the soil type, position and how to create year-round interest.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
I’m not very good at DIY, so have probably avoided disaster through abstinence! Sometimes I don’t like the way things go together in the way I expect to, but as most of what I buy has a similar feel, I can usually find somewhere else it works; I am always changing things round!
What is your top home styling tip?
I don’t really plan my interiors – I’ve always bought things I love and then found a place for them; it’s a less conventional way of decorating, but I think if you buy what speaks to you, you end up with a home that’s uniquely yours.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
Lovely little Bertie – he brings us all so much joy and nights curled up with him on the sofa with a fire and a glass of wine are priceless. With all the food my teenagers eat at the moment, the large fridge would be sorely missed!
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
I think it reflects our love of our family and friends and exploring the world: the photos, treasures from travels and sentimental items all give away what brings the joy to our lives. I love all things arts and crafts, so the garden design and choice of furniture and fabrics all reflects this.
The Home Edit
Lived-in or showhome?
Lived-in cosy, but I do like to be tidy and organised, so it’s a bit of a contradiction!
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
Oh my goodness, that’s tough – probably Farrow and Ball’s Ringwold Ground (a lovely warm neutral with a soft glow).
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
At the risk of sounding like the husband in Sleeping with the Enemy – I can’t stand tea, coffee etc. jars where the labels don’t face forward – it’s a need for order thing! Conversely, I don’t like matching sets of furniture much – the homely feel of old and new things mixed together; it makes a home for me.
Favourite front door colour?
Sage green, but I would never paint our oak door.
Carpet or Floorboards?
Both – I like the cosiness of carpet and the tone and practicality of wood.
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
Kitchen table, but I still like a bit of ‘tablescaping’!
High gloss or rustic?
Rustic – that one was easy!
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
Wallpaper – it totally transforms a space and I have lots of it!
If you enjoyed being at home with Kath, 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 view more of these "at home with" articles here