Sophie Hitchens

Sophie Hitchens


Location Spotlight Brook Lodge

Sophie Hitchens Monday 18th December 2017

New to Light Locations this year is the fabulous Brook Lodge in Hampshire. Set in an acre of lush green garden, with plenty of parking and a neutral interior, it is an incredibly versatile photo shoot location.

We love the marriage between the old and new throughout this traditional country house and we put some questions to its owner, Sarah to tell us more about it.

How long have you lived at Brook Lodge?

7 years

You are not far from the gorgeous New Forest and on the doorstep of the stunning South Downs National Park – What do you love most about this part of the country?

We love the fact that we are in beautiful countryside with the option of lovely coasts nearby. Watching the seasons here is one of the best things which we didn’t feel so much in London.

Your gorgeous and rugged outdoor space conjures up images of 1920s garden parties, with tea and cakes on the lawn. What can you tell us about the history of the Lodge?

It is a mixture of periods so it’s all a bit shambolic which suited us perfectly. Part of it dates back to 1725 when it was church property. There’s a Victorian addition and a seventies addition, it’s all identified in the brickwork  – old English red brick is stunning. It has a faded grandeur charm about it  – apparently, it has a history of being in families for 40 years – so lots of weddings and parties have made it a happy house.

The Lodge has been recently restored. What have the major changes been?

When we moved in all the windows were 1950s-60s so they had to go. We replaced them with what would have originally been there and the transformation has made a huge difference. The next job was to make sense of the kitchen which we loved designing – there was nothing to save so it was a blank canvas. The main bedroom was a big mess too – I had bought 2 etched glass doors years ago which were in storage, so the room was pretty much designed around making them the feature.

We love your clever use of bare plaster walls, exposed floorboards and ceiling beams, which makes a beautiful partnership of the old with the new. Which parts of the finished restoration do you feel have worked particularly well, both as a living space and a shoot location?

As a living space, the living-dining room is lovely when friends come over – the bare plaster and rough floorboards make it relaxed and not precious. In daylight the walls are a very pretty colour  – so they work really well for shoots. There are lots of areas to use and lots of potential inside and out and of course lots of props for styling.

What do you love most about your house?

It’s hidden whilst still being in the village. We have no one overlooking us so that makes it calming. The garden is very much a nature reserve with hedgehogs, moles, pheasants, slow worms and lots of birdlife and we want to design the garden so that it keeps all the creatures happy.

You have a particularly fabulous copper utility sink in your kitchen. Where did the inspiration for it come from and can you tell us where you got it?

I love the kitchens in the film Gosford Park – lots of areas and glazed doors so the copper sink was inspired by that. It’s a Plain English kitchen -they worked with my design ideas and did a beautiful job of mixing my collection of vintage sinks and new surfaces.

Tell us about some of the shoots from 2017.

We’ve had some really great teams working here – all varied and interesting. Stylists really like the spaces and there are always plenty of props dotted around the house and garden for them to find. Aerende, for example, using natural daylight, made great use of the textures and light in the rooms – their pictures are gorgeous and look like paintings by the Dutch masters.

Sophie Hitchens

Sophie Hitchens