Unveiling her home extension in 2020, influencer Sophie Hinchliffe — or Mrs Hinch, as she is known to her millions of online fans — could barely contain her excitement.
Upstairs, there was a lavish en-suite bedroom for her and her husband, while below was ample space for open-plan living.
All decorated and furnished, of course, in the grey tones that have become the 31-year-old’s trademark Insta look.
But what moved the cleaning and interiors guru to proud tears was a small decorative detail — the letter ‘H’ — built into the outside eave of the new brick add-on.
‘It may have been ‘easier’ to move!’ she wrote then in a post on Instagram, where she has amassed 4.2 million followers.
On New Year’s Day, influencer Sophie Hinchliffe (above) – or Mrs Hinch, as she is known to her millions of online fans – announced the family is swapping Hinch Home for an altogether more lavish property in the country
Old house: When she and husband Jamie purchased their first house for £307,500 in 2016, they did so with a mortgage and assistance from the government’s Help To Buy scheme
New house: Located nearby in the Essex countryside, their new home is a detached five-bedroom house that she has dubbed Hinch Farm. It boasts a grand wooden staircase, stables and extensive grounds laid out over 1.7 acres. The family is still in the process of moving in, but there are plans for a menagerie of animals: chickens, pigs and even alpacas
‘But this is our home that we worked so hard for. So this meant so much to me that I cried. H is for Hinch Home. We’re not moving anywhere.’
So, barely two years later, it has come as something of a shock to discover that Mrs Hinch and her family are, in fact, packing their bags.
On New Year’s Day, she announced the family is swapping Hinch Home for an altogether more lavish property in the country.
Located nearby in the Essex countryside, the detached five-bedroom house that she has dubbed Hinch Farm boasts a grand wooden staircase, stables and extensive grounds laid out over 1.7 acres.
The family is still in the process of moving in, but there are plans for a menagerie of animals: chickens, pigs and even alpacas.
Quite an upgrade — particularly given that when Mrs Hinch and husband Jamie purchased their first house for £307,500 in 2016, they did so with a mortgage and assistance from the government’s Help To Buy scheme.
But almost exactly five years later, the Mail can reveal they have been able to purchase the new £1.55 million property for cash.
While her followers were quick to congratulate her on the upgrade, some questioned why, given her previous pronouncements, she was leaving her original house.
Mrs Hinch is pictured with her husband, Jamie. While her followers were quick to congratulate her on the upgrade, some questioned why, given her previous pronouncements, she was leaving her original house. ‘Why did you decide to move?’ one asked during an Instagram question-and-answer session. ‘I never thought you’d leave the Hinch Home.’ According to Mrs Hinch’s reply, the endless photos she posted of her ‘happy’ home and family belie a very different story
‘Why did you decide to move?’ one asked during an Instagram question-and-answer session. ‘I never thought you’d leave the Hinch Home.’
According to Mrs Hinch’s reply, the endless photos that she posted of her ‘happy’ home and family belie a very different story.
‘A lot goes on behind closed doors,’ she wrote. ‘I won’t go into too much detail because I wouldn’t want to give any satisfaction to the cruel person/people involved.
‘But Jamie had wanted to move for a while, due to a privacy issue which came about after we had extended the house.
‘But I was in such a mess because I didn’t want to move. I was crying to him, saying this is my home, I didn’t want to lose it . . . I was in a really really low place.’
She added: ‘If only some people know how much their selfish actions effect (sic) others. But they will not win! I will always love this house, but I will make Hinch Farm our forever home, where the boys will be so safe, and we will feel comfortable again.’
Strong words — and ones that have mystified residents living near her original Hinch Home. ‘It’s a friendly little area here and I was surprised when I saw that she felt like she’d been picked on,’ said one.
Another added: ‘They’re lovely people and I feel upset that she’s felt the need to move out.’
While a third insisted: ‘She’s not been forced out. She’s made a lot of money and moved into a bigger house.’
As for invasions of privacy, it can be revealed that during the planning process for the extension, concerns were raised — by a homeowner who feared the new building would be ‘intrusive’ and overlook his house and garden.
Given her success, it’s easy to forget it was only in March 2018 that the former hairdresser set up her Instagram account.
Above, a sign at the new family home. It was during a Q&A session with her fans that Mrs Hinch revealed how Jamie had been pushing her to move due to ‘the privacy issue’ that ‘came about after we had extended the [old] house’
And, from the start, Hinch Home and all that happened in it was very much at the heart of it.
‘I’ve always enjoyed home interior design but as soon as my husband and I bought our first house together I was super-excited to make it a home,’ she wrote.
‘I really wanted to post decor photos on Instagram but didn’t want to bore my friends and family, so I started @mrshinchhome!
‘I never imagined for a second that my account would become so popular! It’s absolutely crazy and I’m so overwhelmed but so grateful all at the same time!’
As well as providing interiors inspiration, it was Mrs Hinch’s enthusiastic approach to keeping a clean and tidy house that won a legion of fans.
From shining sinks to ‘pining’ her toilet — using pine scented disinfectant to clean her loo — the products she endorsed saw sales go through the roof.
Singing the praises of a particular cleaning cloth led to a 10,000 per cent rise in sales.
Posting a picture of a £10 bamboo bath rack from Dunelm prompted it to sell out, and her endorsement of floral-scented disinfectant Zoflora led to staff doubling production at their Huddersfield factory.
Her followers broke the million barrier in three months. Today, the figure is four times that.
Much of her appeal has been linked to her down-to-earth persona. Mrs Hinch never tires of telling her followers how much she loves a bargain, or ‘barg’ as she puts it. Her clothes are from the High Street — New Look, not Louboutin.
Her initial success online quickly expanded to other areas.
As well as commanding a reported £10,000 per promoted post, her four books have all topped the bestseller lists, while the trademarked name Mrs Hinch is registered to cover everything from disposable nappies to Christmas tree decorations.
Today, she and her 42-year-old husband are worth about £5 million.
Aside from the two properties, latest accounts show that her company was worth £3.1 million as of April. That is an increase of £1.5 million in a 12-month period.
And as their bank balance expanded, so did the family. As well as cocker spaniel Henry — who has 262,000 of his own Instagram followers — their first child, Ronnie, was born in June 2019.
No doubt needing more space, earlier that year the couple applied to the local council to extend the house at the rear.
Permission was initially denied on the grounds of the planned extension’s excessive size. New plans for a scaled-down version were quickly re-submitted.
A neighbour lodged a formal objection. ‘The proposed extension will be intrusive upon the enjoyment of the neighbouring garden and privacy,’ he wrote.
‘The house already overlooks the neighbouring back garden and bedroom, from their bedroom windows and side windows, and the extension will make this worse.’
Despite this objection, permission was granted — on condition that one of the new windows was glazed with opaque glass to address the neighbour’s concerns.
The extension went up quickly, with Mrs Hinch posting regular updates on the work.
At one stage, she posted a picture of the scaffolding, joking that its grey colour matched the colour scheme of her home.
A year later, in September 2020, she reiterated her commitment to the house as she unveiled a new pergola — complete with outdoors sofas and swing — in the back garden.
A grand wooden staircase in the Hinchliffes’ new home. While Mrs Hinch declined to comment further on the reasons behind the move, sources close to the couple insisted that the issue was, in fact, not with any neighbour — and nor was it linked to the new extension, the mention of which had been insignificant
‘I hope you love it!’ she wrote. ‘I feel like we have a 2nd Hinch home out here. I do get asked A LOT ‘would you ever consider moving? To a bigger house?’ . . . My answer is that this is our home we saved SO hard to buy, guys, the place we feel safe and where we want to see Ronnie grow and we are just around the corner from our family.
‘So unless we are ever given a reason that we have to leave this house this is where you’ll find us, literally under here — rain or shine, breakfast or dinner.’
Given those words, it was inevitable that the announcement of her move came as something of a shock to her fans.
‘So me and Jamie are on our way now to pick up some very, very special keys,’ she said in footage posted last week. ‘I don’t even know what to say if I’m honest, I feel really numb but I feel really excited. Here we go!’
Videos showed Mrs Hinch, who gave birth to her second son Lennie in May, steering a ride-on lawnmower around her new garden and with her sons playing in a tree house.
Telling the story behind the purchase, she said: ‘Truth is, my parents and I have been driving past this house since I was 11. And we always said to each other, we wonder who lives in there, we even used to imagine living here and what we could do if we ever did.’
But it was during a Q&A session with her fans that she revealed the darker side and how Jamie had been pushing her to move due to ‘the privacy issue’ that ‘came about after we had extended the house’.
I was in such a mess because I didn’t want to move. I was crying to [my husband], saying this is my home, I didn’t want to lose it
‘I was in such a mess because I didn’t want to move,’ she wrote. ‘I was crying to him, saying this is my home, I didn’t want to lose it. So I promised him I could fix it.’
The ‘fixes’ included planting pleached trees along the boundary, ‘new panelled fencing with no holes, and a crazy CCTV system’.
‘I really did my best behind the scenes guys but it wasn’t enough in the end,’ she continued. ‘Jamie was right . . . I was putting plasters over things and from that day I felt like I lost my home and I was in a really really low place. But everything happens for a reason, doesn’t it.’
Many assumed the post suggested that the issue must have been with someone living close by.
Indeed, a number of tabloid newspapers published stories describing the problem as a ‘war with neighbours’, though no one on the road said that they were aware of any dispute.
While Mrs Hinch declined to comment further on the reasons behind the move, sources close to the couple insisted that the issue was, in fact, not with any neighbour — and nor was it linked to the new extension, the mention of which had been insignificant.
But they were unwilling to explain further what the ‘privacy’ issue actually related to.
A mystery, and one added to by the fact that the Hinchliffes do not plan to abandon their old house for good. Instead, it seems a family member will be moving there.
‘We have decided to keep this home within our family,’ Mrs Hinch wrote in another post.
‘To be able to help our family this way is something I have never been able to do in my life. It’s a home they’ve always dreamed of and I know it will be loved, AND I can even nip us back here for a cuppa everyday. Ok now I’m crying again.’
More tears at Hinch Home — but this time of happiness. Or at least one hopes, with a capital H.