Oh Cornwall, you really are one of my favourite places in the world. The village of Mousehole seems to be home to some incredibly stylish pads none more so than Camilla’s beautiful holiday let, The Cuttlefish.
Combining a beautiful collection of antique finds, industrial fittings and all the mod cons this place is pure sophistication. Please form an orderly queue to book a stay here as Camilla shares the story of how she and husband Chris renovated their Victorian villa.

The Property

Buying a property in West Cornwall was a complete leap of faith for us, but one I’m thankful for each and every day. Living in London, my husband Chris and I had been visiting Mousehole three or four times a year for a number of years; Chris had fallen in love with the small fishing village many years ago when he did a six month artists residency here and had always dreamed of owning a house of his own here.

One day after the long drive from London, sitting on the harbour wall, Chris asked me if I could have any house in the village which would I choose; a game we play a lot as I’m totally obsessed with properties. I pointed to this early 1900s Victorian Villa sitting on the hillside, with unrivalled views of the harbour and across to St Michael’s Mount, so when we saw it was for sale, the rest is history as they say…

The Renovation

The renovation was no simple feat; the house was in desperate need of modernising and reconfiguring, and the exterior had been severely neglected for a number of years and had received a fair amount of weather damage. I remember, when we first bought the property, people looked at us like we were crazy, like we had no idea what we’d taken on but the reality is we went into this project with our eyes wide open.

The work took six months and both being practical, we tried to do as much of it ourselves as we could, learning along the way. For the skilled jobs that were beyond us, we found a fantastic local builder who understood all our ‘city’ ideas and was sympathetic to the period of the property. A large part of the work was in weather-proofing the exterior reconfiguring the upstairs layout to create a larger family bathroom and removing a structural beam that was standing right in the middle of one of the rooms downstairs making it unusable. We tried to reuse old materials where possible so using the bricks removed from the pillar I built a herringbone red brick path that now runs from one of the garden to the other, which needless to say I am very proud of.

Interior Design

I work as an interior designer Camilla Banks Interior Design, and Chris is an interiors photographer and television Director of Photography, so between us we had very strong ideas about what we wanted the house to look and feel like. Having stayed in many holiday homes in Mousehole and other other parts of the country we were desperate to move away from coastal cliches and embrace a more modern approach to life by the sea – something which was more in keeping with our lifestyle and the property itself.

Dark floors throughout provide a nod to the Victorian era, whilst a light tonal palette of off-white and grey keeps the interiors crisp and bright. Being a self confessed hoarder of all things pretty we had a ton of period furniture from when Chris’s dad downsized from the family house including two gorgeous armchairs which I reupholstered with the help of my mum which now sit pride of place in the sitting room.

The interiors are a partnership of ‘old meets new’, with carefully chosen vintage pieces sitting alongside modern comforts and technology. One of my favourite pieces are the two antique brass beds in the twin room, which I fell in love with the minute I saw them, sprung with hand made pocket mattresses. They’ve been brought into the 21st century.

A large part of our budget went on lighting, which is where Chris really came into his own. Beautiful feature lights throughout the property add character whilst also creating atmospheric lighting; a favourite being the bakelite floor lamp in the sitting room which we purchased from the bakelite museum itself.

Holiday Let

The Cuttlefish is now available to let for holiday rentals all year round and it’s lovely to receive feedback from guests who are generally impressed with the attention to detail not only in the design, but also in the facilities. We ‘try’ to think of everything, and the wonderful thing is it’s a house that is constantly evolving and being improved upon, mainly because we find a lamp or a mirror that we fall in love with and needs a home!


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