I was recently asked where in the world I would most like to live and I was quick to respond, “Cornwall.” There’s something about coastal living which is good for the soul whatever the season. Today the lovely Elle joins us to chat about her Cornish home renovation and tells us about exchanging vows & contracts, modern rustic living and THAT amazing garden room…

Mark & I purchased Highclere House four and a half years ago. We had just finished renovating our second Cornish cottage together since moving to the county five years before. Our old home was inland about six miles and although we loved our little cottage, we found that we spent all our time on the coast. We never dreamt that we could afford a property in Rock so close to the coast but Highclere House came up for sale when the development company that owned it went into receivership.

The house had been empty for several years and was basically a shell on a building site. It was ugly grey pebble dash with peeling brown windows but it was set on nearly ¼ an acre and within a mile of three fabulous beaches. We couldn’t not buy it.

My one proviso when we put in our sealed bid was that if we got the house, that Mark let me knock down the wall between the small dining room and kitchen to create one big room – however big the job. Luckily he accepted and so was our sealed bid! It turned out to be quite an easy job, but it completely changed the house!

We started major renovations a month before we were due to get married, and moved in about five days before the wedding with the help of Air 1 Moving & Storage; all in the same month as launching our new business Inspire Hire. Our house sale exchanged as we said our vows in Church!

I had only decorated cottages before so a 15 year old modern house was a bit of a departure for me. However the lovely room dimensions and bright light spaces made it a dream to design. We redecorated throughout, put in a new kitchens and bathrooms as well as replacing all the flooring.

As a wedding and event stylist, I am constantly studying trends and styles and I quite often change rooms around, or add and remove pieces of furniture, or change accessories with the season… and quite a few of our hire pieces do live at home some of the time! On a busy weekend, Mark gets home from work and thinks we’ve been burgled!

The style of the house is quite difficult to describe – I guess its modern rustic, but with a bit of scandi coastal style thrown in. We just use the things we love! We have a selection of antique, vintage and mid century pieces of furniture, but I have used a similar palette of colours (white, grey and eau de nil, with lots of wood, granite and stone) and materials throughout the house to create a seamless feel. Each room is slightly different in ambience and style but I think they all work together.

We have three double bedrooms and one single, and two bathrooms. Downstairs there is a living room, kitchen, breakfast room and the new garden room.

The final piece of our renovation was to add a huge garden room at the back of the house to maximise the light and plot size. We love this new room with its complete wall of bi-fold doors allowing it to open up into the garden, making the most of the balmy Cornish climate. I’ve indulged my current crush for mid century modern in this room with an original 1960s sofa and sideboard. We used wood paneling on the walls to create a slightly rustic coastal feel and the ceramic wood tiles lead from indoors to outdoors onto the spacious patio where the Inspire Hire Bubble Club furniture lives when its not attending weddings or events.

The house is now on the market. Although we love the house, the garden and the location, we want to try our hand at a bigger project and we are looking for a home that could also be a wedding venue!

One of the first questions I had to ask Elle was where she scored the fabulous ‘Love’ sign in the Garden Room. From Inspire Hire of course! Form an orderly queue please.

  • Wooden Apple Crate
  • Philippe Starck Ghost Chair
  • Pendant Fishing Light