What I Rent: Sharon, £895 a month for a four-bedroom Victorian rectory in the Lake District

Meet Sharon, who rents a place in the Lake District (Picture: Sharon)

A warning to aspiring plant parents who can’t stop killing their greenery: this week’s What I Rent is going to make you jealous.

That’s because this particular home is absolutely filled with houseplants that all appear to be thriving.

We’ll take a look at these, as well as other key features of the home, as part of our weekly renting series.

Each week we take you inside a different person’s rented property, and see how they’ve made it feel like home.

Last time, we were in Jesmond, Newcastle, with Nancy, who pays £920 a month for a three-bedroom flat.

This week we’re in the Lake District, to have a nose around the four-bedroom home lived in by Sharon, 48, her husband Garry, and their cocker spaniel, Max.

Sharon runs her own interior design business, so knows her stuff when it comes to making a space look beautiful.

She and Garry, a photographer, lived in Manchester for years, then went to the Peak District to open up a gallery and interiors business.

After five years of doing that, the couple were ‘desperate for a slower pace of life’. So right before the first lockdown of 2020, they closed their store, shifted their business online, and moved into this four-bedroom home in the Lake District.

Hi, Sharon! How much do you pay to live here?

Rent is £895 a month and around £500 for bills. Rural living means we have had to get used to oil central heating and how to budget for this.

And what do you get for what you pay?

Our home is a four-bedroom Victorian Rectory in the Northern Fells of the Lake District.

On the ground floor there is a kitchen, sitting room, dining room, study and cloakroom. Upstairs is a master en-suite, three more bedrooms and a family bathroom.

Sharon lives with her husband Garry and their cocker spaniel, Max – plus a lot of plants (Picture: Sharon)

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

I think we have a very good deal. Property in National Parks always commands a premium but I think we have a lot of house for the money.

The further south in the Lakes you go, this rent would get you a small two bedroom cottage.

How did you find the property?

I found the property on RightMove. We had been looking for six months before we found the right place and were up and down like a yo-yo from the Peak District.

You have to be quick too, as good sized, well priced and decently decorated properties are snapped up within a couple of days (if not hours) of being listed.

There was so much interest in this property, viewings had to be limited. From the eight viewings this property had, I believe five of them put in an application to rent so we feel very blessed to have been chosen as tenants.

What do you think of the area?

The area is incredibly beautiful and dramatic. We live on the edge of a small village which has a wonderful community spirit. Being at the northern end of the National Park this corner of Cumbria has all the drama and beauty of the Lake District landscape but without too many tourists.

The location is perfect for us, it’s secluded yet is only half an hour drive to Keswick, Penrith and Cockermouth.

It’s only 28 miles from the Scottish Border and we have the Eden Valley, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennine AONB and the Northumberland National Park all on our doorstep.

My drive to the supermarket (nearest small supermarket is a 15 min drive) takes in views across the Solway Firth over to Dumfries & Galloway.

They’ve made the place their own with plenty of green (Picture: Sharon)

How have you made this place feel like home?

Moving the week before the first lockdown in 2021 meant initially it wasn’t easy to get anything we needed for our new home.

There was virtually no heating oil in the tank when we arrived and because of the lockdown we had to wait for a proper oil delivery. Thankfully a wonderful local company came to our rescue with enough oil to tide us over until they could deliver more.

Once we had unpacked (and we had plenty of time to do that) and had our own things around us it started to feel like home.

I wanted to live here for a few months before decorating. Most of the house was magnolia so adding colour made an instant impact. As soon as I got some colour on the walls it really felt like home.

In our first year I have decorated the sitting room, dining room, kitchen, my study and the cloakroom. This year I’m going to make a start on the bedrooms. The hall stairs and landing are quite a task due to their size/height of ceilings so this space will be last on the list.

Essentially all I have done is emulsion walls, so it’s easily reversible but I believe it’s given the house some of its period charm back. The wall to wall bland magnolia really dated the décor. By bringing in heritage colours that feel fitting for the age the property it makes the house feel loved.

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

We have been very fortunate to find a flexible and accommodating landlord who allowed me to decorate.

As an interior designer I wouldn’t rent a property where this wasn’t allowed as it would never feel like home with someone else’s décor choices.

They’ve been allowed to paint the walls, which makes a big difference (Picture: Sharon)

Do you feel like you have enough space?

We both work from home so space was important so as not to feel claustrophobic living and working from one property.

We certainly have plenty of space, each having our own space to work from. I have the study downstairs and my husband has an office in one of the bedrooms.

Being three hours from our families meant we wanted dedicated room for visitors, too, that wouldn’t impact on our work spaces. Being located in the Lakes means we will be popular once lockdown is lifted.

Are there any issues with the house?

There were initially some issues with the old Victorian drains at the property but these were quickly resolved by the landlord.

Old properties are a money pits, so renting one gives all the benefits of living with the period character but without the financial pressure of the upkeep and maintenance.

Do you have plans to move again any time soon?

We absolutely love the house and would like to stay a while. We care for it as if it were our own and have invested money in the decorating.

It’s always been a dream of ours to live in such a characterful property and we hope to stay here for the next four to five years at least.

And do you want to own a place someday or are you happy to rent?

We sold our house seven years ago to start a business. We don’t regret coming off the property ladder as it gave us financial freedom from being chained to jobs we hated.

However our future plan is to build a house we have designed once we have found land in the perfect location.

Shall we take a look around?

It’s a large space – here’s the living room (Picture: Sharon)
What a gallery wall (Picture: Sharon)
Don’t even try to keep count of the plants (Picture: Sharon)
Both Sharon and Garry work from home, so need areas to do this (Picture: Sharon)
This laptop setup delivers a lovely view (Picture: Sharon)
And here’s the study (Picture: Sharon)
There’s lots of natural light (Picture: Sharon)
There’s a large garden, of course (Picture: Sharon)
Back inside, here’s the dining room (Picture: Sharon)
Are you picking up on a green theme? (Picture: Sharon)
Welcome to the kitchen (Picture: Sharon)
Even the fruit matches (Picture: Sharon)
Those hanging hooks are handy (Picture: Sharon)
There are four bedrooms (Picture: Sharon)
But this one’s the star (Picture: Sharon)
And finally, here’s the bathroom (Picture: Sharon)

What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.

Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.

How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.

Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).

This article contains placements with affiliate links.  We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links on these placements.

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