My England Danny Lodge - Best of England Travel Guides

My England – Matt White & Sophie Hobbs

With some of London’s most innovative buildings on their books. Matt White and Sophie Hobbs are behind the award-winning firm MATT Architecture. Having recently completed a Grand Design of their own, we decided to see what they had to say about their home county of Sussex.

Home is?

Matt: Hurstpierpoint. When you’re married you pick a pair of parents to live closer to, and Sophie won.

Sophie: I grew up near Petworth and liked the familiarity of Sussex. Without having to walk down the same streets everyday.

Why Sussex?

Matt: We weren’t planning on moving to Sussex as we had just built our home in London. We where staying in Sussex one weekend, and a friend asked us to test the new Strutt & Parker app. Which is when we came across Danny Lodge.

Sophie: One minute we have the kids places at school confirmed in London. The next minute we were making an offer and planning our move down to Sussex.

What’s your favourite Sussex Walk?

Sophie: Wolstonbury Hill. We can walk straight out the door to the top in 40 minutes. You can see for miles and miles, it’s the most incredible view. Sometimes we take sausages and have a BBQ with the kids.

Matt: Wolstonbury is owned by the National Trust and is a local landmark. It’s a little bit pagan. You can imagine a lot of slitting chickens throats goes on up there.

What are your favourite Sussex shops?

Matt: My favourite shops all relate to food. Such as Rushfields farm, Choccywoccydoodah and Standean Farm Butchers. The BEST local supermarket by far is the Budgens in Hassocks. It sells stuff that you’d have to go to a posh deli in London to find.

Sophie: We have a lot of great shops in the village. It’s a shame the fishmonger shut down but It’s quite handy having Ruby Watts Lighting, it saved me when it came to the finishing touches.

Where do you go for good food?

Matt: The Fig Tree is an amazing place to eat.

Sophie: I like Mamma Ganoushe in Hassocks.

What’s your favourite Sussex wine?

Matt: Wiston Champagne. I’m not a wine expert, but the overriding reason I like it is the same reason you will. It looks like a Tiffany bottle. The major problem is that Spain has Cava, Italy has Prosecco, France has Champagne and we have English Sparkling Wine. It’s a terrible name, they need to come up with something like ‘fizz or poo’.

What Hotel or B&B would you recommend?

Sophie: Danny Lodge Cottage (the house next door) or Hotel Du Vin in Brighton. If we go away we enjoy a spa break. Occasionally we’d treat ourselves at Ockenden Manor when we lived in Cuckfield. There’s few B&B options around here. That’s why Danny Lodge Cottage will be great. Once renovations are complete, the place will act as a holiday let.

Superpower or choice?

Sophie: Invisibility.

Matt: Flying.

Radio station of choice?

Sophie: I listen to Heart FM quite a bit with the kids because it’s something that we all enjoy. Heart is quite perky.

Matt: The truth is Radio 4 for me, but Spotify has endless radio stations. For example, ‘am I feeling funky? Yes I’m feeling funky!

Where’s your dream party venue?

Sophie: The house. The intention is to have big parties in it.

Have you had many?

Sophie: We’ve been in 6 weeks and had the office down for a party, Matts’ mums 80th and a hog roast. We haven’t had an all night disco in here yet, that’s still to come.

Must have creative tool?

Matt: A pencil for me as you can draw on the wall. There’s nothing more compelling than sketching a client’s dream home right before their eyes. It’s like magic.

Sophie: Mine would have to be my camera.


If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your lives, what would it be?

Sophie: Cheese. If I had to eat it all the time I’d go for a cheddar, like Keens from Borough Market.

Matt: A pork pie, but this is my idea of hell as I like everything ‘food’.

What animal would you most like to be?

Matt: I remember being asked this when I was about 20 and thought a shire horse was a good idea, I just quite like them.

Sophie: I think Matt should be a shire horse because it makes me laugh. And I’ll be a cat.

Where’s your dream place to take the kids?

Sophie: The International space centre, that would be a great day out.

Matt: And it’s local, only a mile away. Arguably in Sussex!

And lastly, if you had to dance to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sophie: I’d go with M.I.A.‘Paper planes’.

Matt: Underworld, ‘Born Slippy’, it gets big really quickly.

Images Copyright © 2016 Copyright Danny Will Pryce Photography Ltd.

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