I would absolutely love to renovate a holiday cottage. A chance to refurb or build a property with a whole different vibe to my own would be a bit of a dream. Inspired by Australian living that’s exactly what Sarah did in one corner of Cornwall. The Cotton Tree is a gorgeous one-bed clapperboard cottage with a similar style to Whitney Leigh Morris’ Tiny Canal Cottage and has given me loads of ideas for the downstairs bedroom I keep harping on about. I’ll hand you over to Sarah to take you through the process.
What was the property like when you first bought it?
We purchased a cute corrugated-roofed cottage which had a really substantial garden. While we needed to extend the existing cottage, we then thought that to create a property that was a total juxtaposition to the cottage – a light-filled Queenslander style beach house would make really effective use of the plot, while at the same time not detracting from the cottage itself.
What was your greatest influence in the design for the property?
I lived in Australia for many years – it was where my three children were born – and the design of the property was inspired by homes that we lived in over that period. There’s an antipodean vibe to the open plan, light-filled living space, and the double doors that can be flung open encourage indoor/outdoor living. Although the footprint of the property is designed with two in mind, the high ceilings afford a real sense of space and it’s white and bright interior scheme makes it a tranquil abode whatever the Cornish weather is doing!
Who did the work?
The initial concept was loosely based on Queenslander-style properties, and I then worked with an architect to finesse the design. We worked with a local team who have worked across a number of projects previously; they understand the look and the feel that we look to achieve. Studio Arc in Truro had worked with us previously to drawn up our design for planning purposes; but on this occasion, we provided them with our ideas and points of reference and they came up with the design.
How long did it take?
Once the design had gone through planning, the build took around nine months.
Where did you source the products from and how would you advise others to recreate the look?
In terms of the key pieces, the sofa is from sofa.com, the tiles in the bathroom were Mandarin Stone, the kitchen, bed and feature lights are bespoke, reclaimed finds include the bath, sinks, tap. We then sourced vintage nautical pieces to accessorise, and jute rugs to reflect the not far from the coast locality.
Our interior designer Jess Clark specified the kitchen and bed designs, and the carpenters on site then created; they are a team we’ve worked with on many occasions so are accustomed to our hand-drawn sketches! Many of the one-off reclamation finds came from Shiver Me Timbers; from the vintage anchors to the glass floats; there’s always something unusual and interesting to be found there.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to go through the process again? Were there any dramas along the way?!
We’re generally very changeable, so while there were no real dramas, the builders all tend to run for cover when I head to site, dreading what they’re going to have to re-make! There are always elements that you would do differently once the project is complete; for example we wish we had positioned the ASHP (air source heat pump) along the rear of the build, not in the wardrobe, just to afford more storage space.
Does your own home have the same vibe?
Not at all; it’s the antithesis of this! I live in a traditional Cornish cottage, complete with low beamed ceilings, large open fires; it’s dark, cosy and full of family paraphernalia!
Do you own any other properties? Or any other projects on the go?
We’re currently completing the neighbouring cottage – Little Portion – along a potting shed theme.
Those bathroom tiles have really caught my eye! What’s your favourite element in the tour?
You can book The Cotton Wood through Unique Home Stays on contact number + 44 (0) 1637 881183