For some, the idea of a tea party conjures images of a rather staid affair, with matronly ladies sipping Earl Grey while enjoying a slice of Victoria sponge, but Anastasia Hutton-Summers, the founder of Kent Vintage Tea Parties doesn’t exactly conform to that stereotype. Instead, as she stands at the top of the stairs to her seaside flat, she looks more like a 1940s starlet.

Anastasia’s wrought iron bed is dressed with antique embroidered linen as well as a cable knit blanket from Ralph Lauren and a patched sheepskin throw. An antique parasol and ballet shoes rest on the bedside table

Anastasia’s wrought iron bed is dressed with antique embroidered linen as well as a cable knit blanket from Ralph Lauren and a patched sheepskin throw. An antique parasol and ballet shoes rest on the bedside table

In front of the fireplace there is a dainty Rococo style bedroom chair upholstered in shell pink silk, antique lace camisoles hang from the door of one armoire and a garland of voile roses entwined around the frame of an overmantel mirror all add to the sense of luxurious indulgence

In front of the fireplace there is a dainty Rococo style bedroom chair upholstered in shell pink silk, antique lace camisoles hang from the door of one armoire and a garland of voile roses entwined around the frame of an overmantel mirror all add to the sense of luxurious indulgence

In front of the fireplace there is a dainty Rococo style bedroom chair upholstered in shell pink silk, antique lace camisoles hang from the door of one armoire and a garland of voile roses entwined around the frame of an overmantel mirror all add to the sense of luxurious indulgence

In front of the fireplace there is a dainty Rococo style bedroom chair upholstered in shell pink silk, antique lace camisoles hang from the door of one armoire and a garland of voile roses entwined around the frame of an overmantel mirror all add to the sense of luxurious indulgence

In the kitchen, Anastasia’s love of all things vintage and retro is in strong evidence.

In the kitchen, Anastasia’s love of all things vintage and retro is in strong evidence

The kitchen gadgets are almost all original classics of industrial design such as Anastasia’s treasured KitchenAid food mixer

The kitchen gadgets are almost all original classics of industrial design such as Anastasia’s treasured KitchenAid food mixer

A retro style ivory Bakelite Bush radio stands on the shelves above the kitchen counter and there are more cream and green enamel storage tins as well as a large bar of ‘Fairy’ household soap in its original 1950s packaging

A retro style ivory Bakelite Bush radio stands on the shelves above the kitchen counter and there are more cream and green enamel storage tins as well as a large bar of ‘Fairy’ household soap in its original 1950s packaging

The fridge is covered in vintage postcards, photographs and seaside nostalgia

The fridge is covered in vintage postcards, photographs and seaside nostalgia

“My mother has a fabulous farmhouse kitchen in Suffolk and I’m so envious really, but I think I’d have to have the floor reinforced to get an Aga in here! I’ve tried to make it cosy, but I have also added a modern chandelier for a touch of glamour. I know most people have spotlights in their kitchen, but I wanted something a little less plain and functional,” says Anastasia

“My mother has a fabulous farmhouse kitchen in Suffolk and I’m so envious really, but I think I’d have to have the floor reinforced to get an Aga in here! I’ve tried to make it cosy, but I have also added a modern chandelier for a touch of glamour. I know most people have spotlights in their kitchen, but I wanted something a little less plain and functional,” says Anastasia

Light pours into the neutrally decorated hallway from the naturally bright sitting room

Light pours into the neutrally decorated hallway from the naturally bright sitting room

Pancake the baby house rabbit enjoys a treat of rocket leaves whilst sitting on one of the dining chairs.

Pancake the baby house rabbit enjoys a treat of rocket leaves whilst sitting on one of the dining chairs

Mismatched chairs surround the rectangular French refectory table, and in the centre of the linen and lace runner there is a small glass vase of pale pink roses with pistachio green outer petals. On the wall above, Anastasia has grouped together four bevelled mirrors of varying shapes

Mismatched chairs surround the rectangular French refectory table, and in the centre of the linen and lace runner there is a small glass vase of pale pink roses with pistachio green outer petals. On the wall above, Anastasia has grouped together four bevelled mirrors of varying shapes

An Austrian empire-style chandelier found on Ebay hangs from the ceiling in front of the white painted Victorian fireplace and on the mantelpiece, a bevelled edge 1940s mirror reflects yet more light back into the room

An Austrian empire-style chandelier found on Ebay hangs from the ceiling in front of the white painted Victorian fireplace and on the mantelpiece, a bevelled edge 1940s mirror reflects yet more light back into the room

On either side of the mirror Anastasia has arranged small groups of vintage lemonade bottles filled with pale yellow and shell pink lisianthus

On either side of the mirror Anastasia has arranged small groups of vintage lemonade bottles filled with pale yellow and shell pink lisianthus

In the study, the alcove wall has been covered in Cabbages & Roses’ Hatley wallpaper in charcoal and taupe, and against this stands Anastasia’s scrubbed pine and painted desk

In the study, the alcove wall has been covered in Cabbages & Roses’ Hatley wallpaper in charcoal and taupe, and against this stands Anastasia’s scrubbed pine and painted desk

Further along the hallway, towards the bathroom, little stacks of tea and bread and butter plates are ready to be drilled and made into cake stands for The Kent Vintage Tea Party

Further along the hallway, towards the bathroom, little stacks of tea and bread and butter plates are ready to be drilled and made into cake stands for The Kent Vintage Tea Party

The vintage tea party business was meant to be a little sideline to earn money while she was studying, but it quickly took off

The vintage tea party business was meant to be a little sideline to earn money while she was studying, but it quickly took off

Piles of neatly-folded fabric beneath Anastasia’s sewing machine await transformation into bunting

Piles of neatly-folded fabric beneath Anastasia’s sewing machine await transformation into bunting

In the bathroom there are hampers full of crockery along with recently washed cups, saucers and plates that sadly include a few ‘casualties’. “I broke a couple of cups by washing them in water that was too hot, but over the years I’ve actually had very few breakages,” she says

In the bathroom there are hampers full of crockery along with recently washed cups, saucers and plates that sadly include a few ‘casualties’. “I broke a couple of cups by washing them in water that was too hot, but over the years I’ve actually had very few breakages,” she says

More of Anastasia’s eclectic collections line a shelf in the entrance to the bathroom

More of Anastasia’s eclectic collections line a shelf in the entrance to the bathroom

A colourful corner of the bathroom

A colourful corner of the bathroom

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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