When Juliet Mayhew first came to Cornwall, it was certainly not love at first sight. ‘As an Aussie, I looked at the shingles and compared them to the white sands I was used to and there was no comparison,’ she says. ‘But my husband spent so many happy childhood holidays here, he was determined I should love it, too.’
On their second trip here, however, the sun shone and Juliet enjoyed a wonderful weekend including a boat trip along the Helford River. ‘That was the turning point,’ says Juliet. ‘I finally understood the special charm of this place.’
The couple were lucky enough to find this house, sited in a prime position overlooking the sea. ‘With boats bobbing in the water and hills beyond carpeted with lush oak trees, it was secluded and not overlooked. It was irresistible.’
But the process of buying the house was not easy. To place their bid before the house went on to the open market, they left their home in London at 2am, wrapped their sleeping children in blankets and sped to Cornwall, arriving at 7am. But it paid off, with their bid successful, the couple eventually sat down to discuss improvement plans and where to allocate which rooms.
Taking their time with the plans was the best decision they could have made. ‘We got a feel of how best to link the interiors with the outside spaces in a seamless way,’ she says. The only building work involved was knocking a hole through to the sitting room from the kitchen-diner to improve the light levels in both rooms and create one open-plan kitchen idea.
‘We exploited the sea view so all the main rooms now enjoy it.’ The kitchen was inherited from past owners, they chose to paint the kitchen cabinets in a pale grey to give it a style makeover. The large central workspace is ideal for serving party food.
Being an experienced interior designer and professional party planner (julietmayhew.co.uk), Juliet spent a year choosing fabrics and colours, enjoying every moment. ‘I would spend hours on the internet finding anything associated with the sea,’ she says. ‘Rope lamps, fabrics with coral images, shells, boats, oars, driftwood stools, a huge compass, you name it – with my nautical shopping antenna, I found it.’
Unlike some owners of seafront houses, who give a cautious nod to marine styling, Juliet has blatantly embraced it and the house is full of character and interest as a result. In the sitting room, large windows allow the couple and their guests to enjoy the spectacular view, and dazzling colour scheme sets this coastal living room idea apart.
The vibrant colour scheme of this room reflects Juliet’s boundless energy. She loves to entertain and the new house has been reworked with this in mind.
Upstairs, the balcony was increased in size to create a spacious main bedroom. Speaking of the nautical bedroom idea Juliet explains, ‘It feels like the deck of a ship. We really love how the is room has turned out. Sitting on the balcony and watching the boats go by is total relaxation.'
As a contrast to the vibrant colours used in the rest of the house, this guest bedroom has been decorated in a calm palette of blues and neutrals all inspired by the very special location.
Discovering the path of the sun throughout the seasons proved crucial to the new layout of the house. This included reworking the terrace, which has allowed the couple to maximise the stunning views of the Cornish coastline.
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