Tucked beautifully away on a bustling Georgian High Street in Hingham, Norfolk this stunning 14th Century home looks out over the village green, is rammed with medieval beams and wonky floors whilst also hiding a treasure trove of reclamation pieces in the shop below. Hingham received a Georgian make over in 1800 which has given this house the joy of characterful dark medieval beams but coupled with huge Georgian windows.
This was yet another eye-achingly beautiful home. Originally bought by Sam in 1997 the property was perfect for his salvage and reclamation business. The outbuildings were ideal for storing all his treasures whilst the Georgian market town was a serendipitous spot for a business supplying old properties with reclaimed treasures.
The house itself is truly spectacular. Like a super model it has fantastic bone structure with a winding staircase, immaculate beamed ceilings, a minstrel gallery and original pargetting. Also like a model it has a truly talented make up artist and dresser, obviously the house is filled with incredible antiques and fascinating pieces but the colours and fabrics used around the house show how knowledgeable Louise is on interiors and brings this incredible home sensitively into this century.
We all gasped as we walked into this perfect kitchen. From the reclaimed Nofolk Pamment tile floors to the eye wateringly beautiful sink. From the wooden drainer to the enormous dresser, everything was so tastefully interwoven. 19th Century confit pots snuggle gloriously next to brand new made by Louise just in time for the shoot Guy Goodfellow Persian Vine curtains.
Just the simple addition of some fresh flowers created by Karen who was yet again shut away in the scullery to create fabulous florals and a select few of Louise’s treasures were used to replace the everyday utilitarian pieces like the dish brush. Naomi brought more texture to the sink shot by adding the beautiful wicker basket and a shot of colour with the vintage bin. The blue and white ginger jars and vases balance the floor tiles and wood accents perfectly.
The kitchen sink is so incredible we wanted to do a shot looking towards it but the windowsill was quite empty so I brought the blue and white pottery down from the shelf above the stove. Karen did a beautiful arrangement for me in the vase, and I brought in a plant from the breakfast room to bring the corner to life. I also concealed a practical notice board with a piece of art just to make it look even more beautiful. On the now empty shelf above the cooker, I brought in some reclaimed tiles from the shop to add a bit of colour, and a lovely blue Le Creuset pot for the hob (Rob loves Le Creuset so I try to oblige when I can!).Naomi Jones
The shop and kitchen are downstairs leading onto the garden and reclamation yard and once the day is done, Louise and Sam ascend the winding stairs and retreat to their incredible sitting room. Please look away now if you can’t take any more beauty.
I did warn you!!!! And THEN there is this:
I was charged with magazineing the sitting room and the upstairs book nook…I started on the level ground and surveyed the safe room that didn’t require climbing a ladder or leaping from beams, cushions in hand.
Naomi had already pulled her “flip the rug” trick in the sitting room. Often rugs are too bright for a scene shoot so she flips them over which stops them pulling the focus.
“New rugs can look quite vibrant in the photographs so I’ve developed a trick on shoots to make them more like an antique: flip them over and the colours suddenly look more muted and the finish dulled down as though it has been loved and walked on for a hundred years.”.Naomi Jones
I then set to work on the coffee table, a beautifully upholstered footstool that was crying out for the green laquerware tray that I magpied from Lousie’s bedroom and then filled with a beautiful tea service, more flowers created by the fabulous Karen and the most delicious apple and cinammon cake that had to remain locked in the bathroom so that Betty the sweetest miniature poodle couldn’t snaffle the entire cake before the photograph! I added festive napkins from the gorgeous Kirsty Kins and a few antique cream handled forks.
Naomi sprinkled her magic, tidying up the side plates and adding a slice of cake to the piled up plates and bringing the napkins closer to the ‘front’ of the picture. It is important to know which angle the camera will be taking the shot from but often items get moved depending upon the final shot.
Having taunted poor Betty for long enough, cake safely back in the bathroom, I widened my magazineing and took a cup and saucer and candle over to the foreground sidetable. I wanted to pick up on the turquoise in the portrait of Sam’s family ancestor Lady Emily Smythe of Ashton Court, Bristol, who was a very ‘close companion’ of Edward VII when he was the Prince of Wales (!) so I unearthed a beautiful antique book in the same colour and placed it under the cup and saucer (another Naomi trick that pleases the eye with height differences).
Cushions added to sofa and chair, desk and chest of drawers furnished with more flowers and a beautiful orchid that Karen magpied from the bedroom to lift the eye in the corner on the bookcase.
The safe zone complete, I was forced to put my best yoga poses to good use. Thank goodness for my leg elongating Baukjen jeans!!! I had to leap the precipice with cushions, blankets and candles to style up this magical reading nook. The temptation to remain here was great but once I had stood on guard over the lit candles and Rob had managed to ascend the other side with his camera equipment, I was forced to leap back and return to earth.
Naomi and Rob took over the bedrooms whilst Karen and I were allowed to go and play downstairs in the dining room – which is also part of the shop so we were ridiculously excited. The bedroom were just absolutely perfect so really very little was needed to style them for the photos.
I didn’t need to do much in the larger bedroom either, just removed a basket that was blocking the view of the lovely radiator (not often we can say that!) – I felt it was imperative to see the radiator as that is an important part of Louise and Sam’s business. I then just added a couple of touches to make the room feel more lived in – an open book on the bed and a decorative jar on the bedside table to replace the water glass and carafe set.Naomi Jones
Whilst Naomi and Rob were able to focus on the bedrooms in great detail as there was little to restyle, Karen and I went downstairs and played shops “Hello customer, how may I help you?” “Hmmmm, I would like to buy this whole house please” “Of course – is that cash or cheque?”. We rifled the drawers for napkins, cutlery, placemats and raided the cupboards for vintage glassware and crystal decanters, sparkling plates and brass candlesticks. Karen went to town on a huge hydrangea arrangement and we followed Naomi’s brief of “Magical almost Christmas Dinner party” to the antique letterpress.
I didn’t want to cover the beautiful antique table and loved the shine that it gave so we used an old French checked tablecloth folded up as a runner and paired it with glorious yellow checked napkins to play with the French theme. Louise has a multitude of French antiques so I wanted to introduce that into the glamour of the evening. I blended antique silverware with the most beautiful cream handled silver Concord cutlery from Lincoln House silver which brought more interest to the table without ruining the simplicity – a touch of “Rustic Luxe”.
Crystal decanters were filled with red wine to add more decadent glamour and colour and Louise’s stash of beautiful cushions in all worlds of fabrics was also plundered to make the benches super cosy and inviting.
Karen added more greenery to the mantlepiece for height and to lead the eye and we covered everywhere in candles and antique glass to sparkle and excite. The sideboard was filled with colourful bottles and some of Louise’s amazing collection of silver wine coolers.
This is a truly extraordinary home that has suffered the twists and turns of fashion over the centuries but remains a building that is filled with a sense of the past, a strong feeling of the feet that have trodden these beautiful boards, the purveyors of history through the ages. Mongers only adds to that rich history, enhancing what was already there and filling the building with joy and love and a precious sense of preserving the past.
If you are ever in Norfolk you must visit this incredible place. Browse the stacks of extraordinary old window panes, nab one of the beautifully refurbished traditional radiators, climb into the restored baths (the only way to see if the shape suits) and salivate over all the antique ironmongery. I managed to escape with only the purchase of the most exquisite letterbox but I charge you not to stay in their beautifully refurbished cottage next door (yes!! A whole ‘nother building – we will be back!) and not leave with the contents for most of a new old house.
Thank you Sam and Louise for allowing us to revel in the beauty of your home.
As always thank you to the dream team:
Karen @flowersandlifestylebymargot for her truly incredible arrangements.
Naomi Jones for all her incredible styling and total lovliness.
Rob Sanderson for creating photographs of wonder and beauty.
Thank you also to Kirstykins for her gorgeous vintage napkins and softly softly Liberty silkie eiderdown.
A massive thank you to Lincoln House silver for the most beautiful cutlery ever in the world.