Sophie Robinson is an interior stylist, designer and journalist. She is also a judge on BBC 2‘s The Great Interior Design Challenge. Sophie is the latest creative to feature on ‘today’s coolest habitats’ and, here, she tells us all about her home, collecting tapestries and realising property dreams in the Sussex countryside. She lives with her husband and son, Arthur and, until recently, home was a converted warehouse in Brighton.
How did you find your home?
It belongs to a good friend of ours who bought it as a wreck. My husband, who is a builder, helped him remodel it and take it from a leaking warehouse into a home. He and his family then moved out to Portugal and we seized the opportunity, renting out our house, as a holiday let, in a bid to save money to make our next purchase.
Did it feel right immediately?
We always loved the flat when our friends lived there. You can throw the most amazing parties here. I’m drawn to the sense of light and space that the apex ceiling gives you.
How have you made this house your home?
Living open plan can technically be very tricky to furnish, but our approach has been to add and layer slowly over time. I’m quite a maximalist so I like to feather my nest with lots of things and it pleases me how they all jostle together. There are lots of memories tied up in the items I choose to display which makes this space feel home.
First thing I did was to nail the layout. With a large floor area I felt it was important to demarcate the different areas with furniture. I arranged the sofas away from the walls to create a cosy living area, all on a really large rug which helps ground such a huge space. We also threw up an extra partition wall to create a second bedroom after I had my son. That’s the great thing about warehouse conversions, it’s easy to carve up the space how you want and you’re not losing space with hallways and passageways so the area remains large and spacious.
Where’s the heart of this house?
In its centre which is the living area. One thing I love about open plan living is it allows us all to be together. My son can be playing on the carpet while I watch him from the kitchen.
What’s travelled with you from first home to this?
The piece that I’ve owned the longest is a little mirrored side table I bought when I was an art student at Brighton car boot sale. I loved it and spending £20 on it at the time seemed like an extravagance. I lovingly restored it and gilded the legs. It’s travelled with me ever since across 10 house moves since then. I was a serial renter until I bought my first place!
What’s your most treasured possession?
I love my tapestry bench. My husband bought it from a car boot sale – it was in a dreadful state and I was really cross with him. Then I started collecting small tapestries and got it upholstered and restored which blew the budget but I totally love it. It’s so unique.
Are you done yet? Is this your perfect habitat?
No, we’re not done! We’ve finally saved up and bought our dream family home in the Sussex Countryside. We’ve moved from a 2 bedroom flat with no garden to a four bedroom house with 5 acres! Its also a big renovation and remodel project which my husband and I are going to relish.
What does Habitat mean to you?
It’s a stalwart of British design. It’s always bought pioneering contemporary design to the high street at a price that’s accessible. I’ve always loved their products for photo shoots and my own home.
Do you have any memories of the Habitat brand specifically?
They throw the best press parties!
What Habitat products are your favourites?
The Candi photo frames. I’ve got a quite a collection but they look great grouped together and it’s easy to switch over the pictures