The clever renovation of this charming cottage by the sea has created a dream home

An ambitious classic-meets-contemporary renovation has brought this coastal cottage to life
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  • Transforming a dark, cramped cottage into a comfortable modern home is the ultimate in satisfying renovation projects. In the case of this renovated coastal cottage the homeowners had the expert help of their interior designer daughter, and her husband who is a builder.

    The cottage was in need of a serious upgrade to make it a dream home. The damp gable end was pulled down and rebuilt to a larger footprint and with glazed floor-to-ceiling patio doors. A bathroom was turned into a new bedroom with an ensuite shower room. In another bedroom, the ceiling was stripped back to expose the roof trusses.

    Renovated coastal cottage exterior

    exterior of Cornish cottage

    Image credit Future PLC/Anya Rice

    The cottage was built with thick cob walls, deep-set sash windows and a slate roof. As part of the renovation the exterior was landscaped, and a large, sun-trap patio created. The downstairs floor plan was reconfigured, all the windows replaced with double-glazed, conservation-style sashes and, in a quest to introduce as much light as possible, skylights and light tunnels were added upstairs.

    Sitting room

    sitting room with star tiles around fireplace

    Image credit Future PLC/Anya Rice

    When deciding on the interior style, the owners felt that the look should complement the cottage’s original features.  Their daughter also wanted to show them that a happy medium could be created, using traditional finishes and features but done in a contemporary way. 

    ‘I think great refurbishments are ones that nod to the history and location of a place,’ she says. ‘I was inspired by the coast and chose quite cool colours predominantly, but complemented them with the warmth of the wooden finishes so it feels fresh but also cosy.’

    One recurring theme is the vintage-style geometric tiles, which create a centrepiece of the renovated wood burner, and appear again in the family bathroom and on the steps leading to the kitchen. ‘I really liked their distressed look. Anything too polished or contemporary just wouldn’t have looked right here.’

    Dining area

    White cottage dining area

    Image credit Future PLC/Anya Rice

    Neutral tones and natural textures create a distinct Scandi-modern vibe in this neutral dining room idea. White walls and wooden floors keep the focus on interesting furnishings, a number of which have been sourced from vintage and antiques shops, balanced with high-street pieces and the occasional boutique buy.

    The Heritage Star tiles from Porcelain Superstore have been used again around this smaller wood-burner.


    hallway entrance to grey kitchen

    Image credit Future PLC/Anya Rice

    Previously the sitting room, the kitchen now leads off the dining room and has been designed with a similarly understated style. Peg rails and open shelves have been used to keep the room feeling as open as possible, combining storage and display space.

    Main bedroom

    Green bedroom with tropical leaf print wallpaper and green wall panelling

    Image credit Future PLC/Anya Rice

    As a contrast to the other rooms, the owners enjoyed using boldly patterned wallpaper in here and green wall panelling in this rebuilt bedroom. The colour palette and the choice of  furnishings successfully combine the classic and contemporary look.


    white and blue bedroom with woven lighting pendant

    Image credit Future PLC/Anya Rice

    The guest room has been transformed from a dark and dingy space, and now features a vaulted ceiling and a skylight. The Cole & Son wallpaper and seagrass pendant give it its own identity.


    bathroom with star tiles

    Image credit Future PLC/Anya Rice

    The Heritage Star tiles have been used again in the bathroom to great effect. ‘The cottage is now so light, so pretty, and so much bigger than before,’ says the owner.  ‘I can’t quite believe it’s ours.’


    Words by Katherine Sorrell

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