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People We Love | Paula Sutton

The former magazine editor, curator of flowy vintage dresses, lover of cottage-chic interiors, and purveyor of positivity on what inspires her, her best home decor tips, and what?s bringing her joy right now.

Tell us about yourself!
I live in the English countryside in the county of Norfolk. We’ve lived here for just over ten years, after moving from a far more urban environment in London. I was born and raised in London and I think that it’s the most amazing city—especially when you’re young, but the slower pace of country life and being surrounded by fields suits me better now.

I’ve always had a love of vintage and started painting, reupholstering and trading in vintage items when I moved to Norfolk, although I’d always furnished my previous homes with a mix of vintage, new, thrifted and antique.

I live in a Georgian house which sits in the middle of a garden surrounded by established old trees. I live here with my husband and 3 teenage children plus our dog called Coco. Prior to living here, I worked in the fashion industry in London as the bookings editor for Elle magazine. I produced all of the fashion, beauty and cover shoots there for eight years, and continuing to create beautiful images and style my home and surroundings on my blog and Instagram was really just an extension of my love of fashion and interior photography.

Can you share some of your best vintage shopping tips?
Have an idea in mind of what you?re looking for and take a room by room list. Many vintage markets and fairs can be huge, and it can definitely feel overwhelming if you don?t know what you?re looking for. It doesn?t mean that you have to be rigid and stick to it, but it will give you a guide as to where to look. For instance, you might be looking for a vintage chandelier or a set of vintage monogrammed linens. With this in mind you?ll know where to visit first, but be prepared to be sidetracked along the way!

You have such a great collection of dresses. How do you keep them in such good condition?
I love to wear beautiful wide skirted linen dresses. I love small independent brands and often find them through instagram, Brands such as Son de Flor, Little Women Attelier and New York based Behid Dolic all have a wonderful hint of vintage style to them and are beautifully made. I wash all colours separately, turning them inside out before washing I use low or lukewarm temperatures and a mild detergent meant for delicate fibres. I don?t tumble dry, but hang them to dry on padded coat hangers to retain their shape.

Favorite and most challenging aspects of being a digital creator?
Favourite part is definitely building up a wonderful online community. Especially over this lockdown period, it?s been great to chat, laugh, share the things that inspire us and raise each other's spirits. The worst thing as I?ve grown in numbers is losing the ability to reach everyone who takes the time to touch base and comment. There was a time when i was able to respond to each and every comment, and although I still try my best, it?s increasingly impossible, although i do read, love and cherish each one.

What are your favorite Laundress products?
I love to wear good quality natural fabrics that will stand the test of time. Often these items will have a label that says ?Dry Clean Only?, so it?s wonderful to be able to use the Wool & Cashmere Shampoo and Delicate Wash but I also adore the Fabric Fresh Classic.

What?s something that?s bringing you joy right now?
Baking - as anyone who knows - a slice of cake will always bring me joy!

What makes a house a home?
That feeling of warmth and comfort combined with personality and beauty. I love walking into a home and seeing the love and personality that made it shine through.

Your home/style has such a timeless feel yet you still manage to effortlessly work in pops of color and patterns. How do you pull that off so well?
The reality is that most of my walls are painted in a relatively neutral palette with a hint of chalky colour. It means that you can introduce all of the colour with soft furnishings and lampshades and layer your patterns and textiles gradually to see what works. I tend to limit my colours to about three, but use them in varying tones within a palette.

When it comes to interiors, what inspires you?
I love old English country houses, and the mixture of faded elegance and comfort that comes with them. I?m a total history buff, so I?m also inspired by different periods of interior styles over the centuries. Everything from the regency era of Jane Austen to the craftsmanship of the Arts & Crafts movement. Quality, craftsmanship, colour and comfort is always timeless.

Best advice for someone who doesn?t know where to start when it comes to decorating a room?
I?m a firm believer in buying what you love and the rest will follow. You have to trust your instincts, as your home needs to be a place where you feel loved and cocooned rather than just a showhome. Like painting on a canvas, start with your base colour - the colours on your walls - what colours make you feel good? Then layer it up from there.

1-2 things in your home that you can?t live without?
My Victorian button back chair that I had reupholstered the year I had my first child. It was in an awful state when I found it, but now it's beautiful and vibrant in an Ian Mankin peony check. Also my vintage French armoire - it?s held everything from my dinner services to beautiful linens over the years.