Wayfair has collaborated with Ravendere Retreats to create Wildwood Spa a holiday let in North Devon that is a masterclass in cosy minimalism.
Getting the perfect balance between keeping a space minimalist but cosy and inviting can be hard, but the Wildwood Spa holiday let has got it just right. Set in 12 acres of woodland, Wildwood Spa is all about escaping to nature. However, at the same time, hosts Helen and Kieran and the team at Wayfair wanted to be sure the retreat offers the ultimate luxury and opulence of a boutique hotel.
'Creating a space that reconnects us with nature means choosing natural, neutral pieces,' says Nadia McCowan Hill, Wayfair's resident Style Advisor, on her inspiration for the décor. 'A base colour palette of pale woods, contrasting metal and soft stone can be enhanced with layers of forest green, ochre and pops of pastel pink and violets.'
Wildwood Spa is set into a sloping woodland site that makes the most of the landscape
The design started with what is essentially two understated cubes, nestled into a sloping site carved in the valley rock face. These flank a heated pool with hydrotherapy beds that can be enjoyed year-round.
Vast expanses of glass make up over 50 per cent of the walls of the property. Striking shou sugi ban cladding – a Japanese method of charring wood for preservation – has been used to shroud the exterior.
Clever louvres on the front windows help create shade, add privacy and mimic the many tree trunks surrounding the build. A green roof on each cube helps them blend into the landscape further and encourages biodiversity on the site.
Elements of Japanese design make their way to the inside of the property too. Black is used throughout as a grounding neutral, alongside myriad stone and wood textures that, again, bring the outside in.
This marries perfectly with Scandinavian style furniture and textures for a true example of why Japandi – a combination of Japanese minimalism and Scandinavian function and comfort – is a perfect match for modern spaces and one of the biggest Home Decor trends 2021.
We were invited to stay in the property and make the most of the zen-like settings. Here is what we learnt about creating a cosy minimalist interior, just perfect for guests.
1. Start with a simple, fuss-free canvas
What surrounds Wildwood Spa is as important as what is inside the property, so the shell has been kept simple so as not to detract from the surroundings. All interior walls are either black (echoing the shou sugi ban outside) or clad with unfinished ply which creates a simple backdrop for the décor.
The all-black kitchen draws little attention to itself in the open plan living space with appliances, taps and even the sockets in a matching shade to seamlessly blend. If you're brainstorming kitchen ideas this is a slick example to bookmark.
Terrazzo flooring throughout makes a subtle design statement, but the aggregate used is all greys, whites and stone colours meaning it doesn't overwhelm the eye. It is also a very practical choice for a woodland home where muddy feet are par for the course.
2. Include hidden storage wherever possible
With a relatively small footprint, the designers of Wildwood Spa had to be clever with living room storage ideas to make sure there is plenty of room to hide everything away and avoid clutter. The solution is this built-in ply unit with push-to-open cupboard doors and the occasional recessed shelf nook.
There is also a banquette seat tucked away in this unit making sure the small dining space is not dominated by furniture. All this conceals cleaning tools and products, and even an ironing board.
There is a similar set-up in the bedroom and the use of ply brings warmth and texture to the space. The ply then continues round the upper walls aiding the invisible storage look.
Shop the look:
- Chumbley 118cm Solid Wood Dining Table, £139.99 at Wayfair
- Kyng Solid Wood Slat Back Dining Chair, £232.99 at Wayfair
- Bloomingville Stoneware Table Vase, £64.99 at Wayfair
3. Don't have much furniture – but do choose statement pieces
Arts & Crafts master William Morris said, 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful' and we think this logic is the centre point of minimalist interiors. Every piece of furniture in Wildwood Spa has both a use and beauty – from the striking four-poster bed, to the emerald green velvet sofa in the living room.
Rugs, throw cushions and little curios are used throughout to add depth and interest. But if you were to strip these away you would still have plenty of focal points in the statement furniture, yet plenty of open space to enjoy.
Shop the look:
- Kazmierski Four Poster Bed, King, £1,152.28 at Wayfair
- Portledge 1 Drum Pendant, £103.99 at Wayfair
- Friederike Accent Mirror, £169.99 at Wayfair
- Hogansville 2 Piece Coffee Table Set, £193.99 at Wayfair
- Culley Serving Tray, £88.99 at Wayfair (seen on side table)
- Melinda Chunky Knitted Throw, £39.99 at Wayfair
- Guyer Cotton Cushion in 'Brick', £19.99 at Wayfair
- Blue Caryatid Li by Amedeo Modigliani – painting, £36.99 at Wayfair
- Monochrome Ripple III - painting, £69.99 at Wayfair
4. Consider lighting to be both a colour and texture
Smart lighting ideas do so much more than help you see what you are doing. It can be used to add warmth, highlight certain features in a room and can be layered in the way colour, texture and pattern can be.
Lighting design is split into three parts: task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting. Task lighting does what it says on the tin – it helps you complete a task and examples are desk lamps and over-counter lighting in kitchen lighting ideas. Ambient lighting is what many of us call 'the big light' such as a ceiling pendant that ensures you can see where you are going. Accent lighting lights objects and architectural points of the room – perhaps a spotlight over a sculpture or a frame light on some art.
In Wildwood Spa, dimmable spotlights are installed in the ceilings then complemented with a variety of lamps, pendants and mirror lights. The highly efficient bio-ethanol fire in the lounge also creates a warming light and focal point when lit. Its heat is barely needed thanks to underfloor heating in the lodge.
Even the hydrotherapy pool is lit from under the water's surface, making it even more inviting when you can see steam rising from it in the cold night's air.
- Matilda Wide Tufted Wingback Chair, £249.99 at Wayfair
- Hykkon 3 seater sofa, £579.99 at Wayfair (just in shot)
- Alaniz Coffee Table, £399.99 at Wayfair
- Pepe 182cm Arched Floor Lamp, £205.99 at Wayfair
- Purley Table Lamp, £92.99 at Wayfair
- Seagrass basket, £29.99 at Wayfair
5. Go for barely-there window dressings
With such large windows, any window dressing would need to be equally large and would likely dominate the room. Curtains are a definite no-no in spaces like this so the designers chose simple black roller blinds that virtually disappear into the frames of the windows when open. They are automated too, so can be opened from the comfort of the bed in the morning to unveil the stunning woodland view.
A freestanding bath in front of a big window may seem a bold choice – especially with a public footpath in peeping Tom's reach. However, while our hosts advised we close the blinds before a dip in the tub, the external louvres do obscure the room to some degree, while still allowing open sight from the inside out.
If you have smaller windows in a minimalist space, you could get away with lighter curtains, blinds or voiles in neutral colours, or colour matched to the walls.
Stay at Wildwood Spa
A stay at Wildwood Spa is the perfect way to unwind and get some serious design inspiration. Wildwood Spa is located based at Ravendere Retreats in Lee, near Woolacombe, Devon. You can book a two-night stay in the property which sleeps two in one bedroom on the Home To Go website.
Our visit was gifted by Wayfair to give us a first-hand experience of the holiday let. It included a full taste of the extras guests can choose to add to their stay including relaxing spa treatments by local therapists from the comfort of the lodge and exquisite private dining by Coastal Cooks.
Will you be booking yourself in for a New Year treat?
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Lindsey Davis is Editor in Chief of Ecommerce for the Homes vertical at Future, looking after product content on brands including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She is also Acting Editor of Realhomes.com having worked on the brand for nearly seven years where she was Senior Web Editor, then Associate Editor. Prior to building her expertise in shopping, Lindsey worked on the UK’s leading self build magazine and website, Homebuilding & Renovating, where she honed her knowledge around building and home transformations.
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