At Home With Sophie @lifedownthevalley
This week we are at home with Sophie. The lovely lady behind the popular instagram account @lifedownthevalley where she shares images of her beautifully renovated country cottage home and her day to day life. Keep an eye open for Pip her very cute Spaniel.
Tell us a bit about you
I’m Sophie and I live with my fiancé, our new born baby boy and dog Pip in our cottage in the heart of a valley (hence the Instagram name!) in West Yorkshire. I work as a marketing manager by day (currently on maternity leave) and serial interior addict by night. Our home is my first renovation project but not my partners, so he’s shown me the ropes.
Tell us about your home
We don’t know the exact date of when the cottage dates back to, but we think early 18th century. Our local pub used to be a corn and spinning mill so the cottages may have something to do with that. Originally it was two separate one-up-one-down cottages, which have now been knocked together into one and had an extension added onto the back in the 1980’s. We’re semi detached onto a barn which is a functioning working farm, so our neighbours include five friendly cows.
How would you describe your home?
Much of our renovation included exposing the natural character of the property – it’s beams, stone and brick work, so we kept the décor in keeping with the property and tried to create a traditional country cottage feel. The décor is fairly neutral because the property has enough natural features. I’d say my home style is rustic country cottage.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
If I had to choose just one, it would have to be our kitchen. We went for a traditional, shaker style kitchen with wooden tops with an aga and underfloor heating, which means this is the warmest room in the house. I love the kitchen units, mullion windows and Indian limestone floor.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests that you have?
We love the outdoors, so the location of our cottage is well suited to our lifestyle. It’s the perfect cosy cottage to come home to after a long muddy walk with the dog around the valley, light the log burner and open a bottle of wine. We have lots of nature and woodland related accessories, as well as a couple of slightly eccentric dog related pictures! I like to think that the nature which surround us transcends into the house.
What are your favourite items in the home?
It would have to be the log burner, freestanding bathtub and Aga. The Aga keeps the kitchen toasty warm so it’s always lovely to come home to on a cold winter day. I’m still learning how to cook properly with it, but from an aesthetic point of view I love it!
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
Definitely a project! It was up for auction and attracted a lot of interest because of it’s desirable and unique location, but I think the extent of the amount of work and the limited access to the property probably put a lot of people off - luckily for us! It needed everything doing. We ripped the whole lot out, redesigned the layout and stripped it right back to reveal its natural features. We knew it had so much potential and is in the valley which we had both said we wanted to live when we were dating!
What renovation have you done?
We did pretty much everything - nine months of renovation to the property before we even moved in and started to think about decorating. You name it, we did it. The roof, chimneys, pulled ceilings down, sandblasted beams, pulled down supporting walls, moved staircases etc. At one point the house was held up by so many acrow props it looked as though it might blow down. This was my first renovation project, so everything was new to me.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
Oh yes! Our bedroom has been painted three times because I kept getting the colour wrong. We had a scary moment when water was leaking from the bathroom through the kitchen ceiling, and we also had a toilet filled with hot water instead of cold (but that was the handy work of the joiner, so we can’t be blamed for that one)!
What is your top home styling tip?
I think a property should be in keeping with the period it’s from, it’s natural features and surroundings. I’d love to have a go at renovating a totally different style of home such as a Victorian or Georgian home, with high ceilings and big spacious rooms, because there are certain interior things I love which just wouldn’t work in our cottage.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
Aside from my fiancé, son and dog… my bed!
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
Probably that I’m a bit of a traditionalist who likes the quintessential British lifestyle – think rolling hills of countryside, cups of tea, horses passing on the track. I always used to want to go back in time and live through another era, so I think our home has a bit of that as it has lots of character and history.
The Home Edit
Lived-in look or showhome?
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
Cleaning / tidying! I’m also not a fan of the all grey home look which is trending at the moment.
Favourite front door colour
I’m a sucker for a green / stony colour front door
Carpet or Floorboards
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
Both – I love a breakfast bar in the kitchen and dining table for the evening
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
For this property brick, but wallpaper definitely has its place.
If you enjoyed being at home with Sophie, 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
Sophie's instagram account is beautiful and can be found at https://www.instagram.com/lifedownthevalley/