Life & Style

Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage – 8 thoughts on her life in the Norfolk countryside

The influencer discusses woodlands, antiques, and where to find Norfolk’s finest lemon polenta cake

Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage with her dog
(Image credit: Paula Sutton / Hill House Vintage)

Paula Sutton is the joyously upbeat blogger and Instagrammer who shares snapshots of her bucolic life in the Norfolk countryside, from baking to gardening and interiors along with shots of her dogs Coco, all set amidst the backdrop of her home, Hill House. 

See: Our Country channel to indulge in everything rustic

After leaving a career in fashion and London life, Paula and her husband, Duncan, and three children, Tobias, Phoebe, and Daisy, moved to Norfolk in 2010. She started her ‘theatrical’ Instagram account three years ago, and the success has led to brand collaborations and, now, has a book in the pipeline. 

We didn’t know a soul when...

... we bought Hill House, and it was a huge leap of faith – but a wonderful one. I am enchanted by the Georgian architecture as well as the vast, flat expanses of Norfolk. I love the acres of green and space and the closeness of nature here, and it’s great to be able to reach the beach – Holkham is marvelous. 

Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage, Holkham beach

Holkham 

(Image credit: Stuart Black / Alamy Photo)

The lack of diversity in certain rural areas...

... is often due to socioeconomic factors, but it didn’t occur to me that I wouldn’t be welcome. I always say that if my parents were brave enough to travel to England from the Caribbean to settle in a country they hardly knew, then I could handle relocating a hundred miles up the M11. 

I love to bake...

... and cakes regularly feature on my Instagram account. But when I go out for coffee, I’m a regular at CoCoes Cafe Deli at Strattons Hotel in Swaffham. The lemon polenta cake with creme fraiche is the stuff that dreams are made of. 

Paula Sutton, exterior of the Strattons Hotel in Swaffham

Strattons Hotel in Swaffham

(Image credit: Rob Cousins / Alamy Photo)

I enjoy good food...

... if we’re eating out, I love The Gunton Arms in Cromer and numerous lovely pubs such as The Victorian Inn and Holkham. If I’m hosting, it will be something classic like a beef bourguignon and seasonal vegetables, so I don’t miss any spicy conversation. 

My father always had a vegetable patch...

... and an immaculate lawn when I was growing up. He was obsessed with his garden and passed that on to me – although my green fingers only really came in Norfolk. My go-to nursery locally is Didlington Nurseries in Thetford. 

Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage

(Image credit: Paula Sutton / Hill House Vintage)

I’m spoilt for choice for interior finds...

... Barry L Hawkins is a gloriously unpretentious auction house that is great for picking up a bargain; Bulldog Barns sell everything from shabby chic to antique, while Birdie Fortescue sells beautiful homeware and selected antiques. 

See: Experts reveal the antique pieces you should invest in right now

The last three things I’ve bought for my home...

...were a pair of Fermoie lampshades for the main bedroom, which is due for a refurbish after ten years! Bee print wallpaper from Barneby Gates for one of my daughters – she loves insects, botanicals, and the more Gothic side of vintage. And two unframed prints by Hugo Guinness at wsjgallery.com. I have a lot of vintage floral art and other colorful artwork around the house, so I love the simplistic nature of his pared-back line drawings. 

One of the best walks I do with Coco...

...is in Thetford Forest near the Lynford Hall estate – you get everything from a swan lake, woodland, fields, and a nice spot for coffee afterwards at Lynford Hall Hotel.

See: The best living rooms in the world – as chosen by the interior design experts

There has been a lack of visibility for black creators...

... in the interior and fashion words, social media, and beyond. There seemed to be an assumption that there were only certain niches that we could flourish in. Thankfully, that has been debunked. Black audiences are just as likely to be interested in English country style or high-end design and fashion as anyone else. 

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly enjoys writing about upcoming styles and trends for Homes & Gardens. Megan also loves discovering vintage pieces in her spare time, meaning her decor is largely influenced by the beauty of the jazz age.