The spec­tac­u­lar view is not the only talk­ing point of this sen­sa­tional home in Scot­land

Philippine Tatler Homes - - LUXE HOMES - words So­phie Baylis photography Matt laver/ar­caid images

THIS PAGE The guest bed­room dou­bles as a TV lounge, com­plete with a smart seat­ing area cre­ated by com­bin­ing Bocon­cept’s Pavia chaise longues with a low-slung cof­fee ta­ble from Habi­tat

OP­PO­SITE PAGE A large sky­light lo­cated above a glass walk­way al­lows light to flow from the top of the house to the bot­tom

PRE­VI­OUS PAGE Be­cause the view from the first floor packs a pow­er­ful punch, Nay­lor and Ch­es­brough in­cluded large fold­ing glass doors from their bed­room to the bal­cony

For Ca­role Nay­lor and John Ch­es­brough it was love at first sight: an idyl­lic spot perched on top of greywacke cliffs, over­look­ing the Sol­way Firth and boasting views of the Cum­brian hills and be­yond. “There was once a hol­i­day home here and then some­body de­mol­ished it, ap­plied for plan­ning per­mis­sion and started to build, be­fore aban­don­ing it,” ex­plains Nay­lor.

That was how it re­mained un­til the cou­ple stum­bled across the plot by chance and in­stantly saw its un­tapped po­ten­tial. “We weren’t look­ing for a place to set up home,” Nay­lor laughs. “John’s a sailor and he’s just com­pleted his half cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion; we’d both sold our houses and were pre­par­ing to go and live on the boat full­time.” The cou­ple quickly re­alised, how­ever, that this peace­ful cor­ner of the world was where they wanted to set­tle. “It’s like our own pri­vate haven,” adds Ch­es­brough. “We reg­u­larly go walk­ing on the beach and we don’t see any­one for miles.”

The cou­ple agree that the fol­low­ing five years were “chal­leng­ing.” In the midst of project man­ag­ing the build of their new home, han­dling the ac­counts and sourc­ing all the nec­es­sary ma­te­ri­als, Nay­lor was work­ing to­wards a PHD. Mean­while Ch­es­brough, who is re­tired, di­vided his time be­tween man­ag­ing the con­trac­tors and work­ing on the house him­self. Their ef­forts were all the more im­pres­sive, con­sid­er­ing that they worked to Pas­sivhaus stan­dards, dramatically re­duc­ing the eco­log­i­cal foot­print of their home. Pas­sivhaus, or “Pas­sive House,” is the fastest grow­ing en­ergy per­for­mance stan­dard in the world with 30,000 build­ings re­alised to date. It pro­motes achiev­ing ther­mal com­fort in a home or a build­ing solely by post-heat­ing or post­cool­ing of the fresh air mass with­out the need for ad­di­tional re­cir­cu­la­tion of air.

“It made build­ing just that lit­tle bit more dif­fi­cult and ex­pen­sive,” ad­mits Nay­lor. The size and shape of the plot, its ex­posed cliff-top lo­ca­tion, and the cou­ple’s de­sire to live a healthy out­door life­style dic­tated the “float­ing” con­struc­tion of the house—its can­tilevered first floor, clad in weath­er­board to with­stand the un­pre­dictable Scot­tish weather. “We wanted the house to feel as though we are living on a boat,” says Ch­es­brough. “So we con­tin­ued the float­ing con­cept in­side with wall­mounted van­ity units in the bath­rooms, a be­spoke float­ing oak stair­case and float­ing is­land unit in the kitchen.”

The ground floor is per­fectly at­tuned to Ch­es­brough and Nay­lor’s re­laxed life­style, in­cor­po­rat­ing a communal kitchen, living, and dining space as well as rooms for pri­vacy. “There are times when you just want to retreat, which is why we have in­cluded a small room and en­suite off the main living area,” ex­plains Nay­lor. “We also both have age­ing par­ents so, if needs be, we can turn it into a ground-floor bed­room if they want to come and stay.”

Nay­lor and Ch­es­brough’s pref­er­ence for min­i­mal­ist, un­der­stated spa­ces goes hand in hand with the aes­thetics of their home; it’s a har­mo­nious mix of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, neu­tral colours and clean

CLOCK­WISE An­to­nio Cit­te­rio’s Free­time sofa for B&B Italia brings a sense of vi­tal­ity to the space, com­ple­mented by the Barcelona cof­fee ta­ble from Knoll; a float­ing is­land unit topped with Cae­sar­stone Ti­ta­nium cre­ates a strik­ing fo­cal point in the con­tem­po­rary kitchen; the open-plan living space al­lows light to flow from one end of the house to the other. Nay­lor and Ch­es­brough love to re­lax and soak up the view from their Dwell three-seater sofa

“We wanted it to be clean and con­tem­po­rary and we didn’t want it to dom­i­nate and draw at­ten­tion away from the view”

lines that al­low the view to take cen­tre stage. Floor cov­er­ings run from black basalt in the kitchen and slate in the mas­ter en­suite to car­bonised bamboo in the living room. Walls are painted crisp white to cre­ate the per­fect blank can­vas, pepped up by oc­ca­sional hits of colour in­tro­duced through care­fully-se­lected ac­ces­sories. And to keep rooms free of clut­ter, a wealth of stor­age is clev­erly hid­den be­hind oak pan­elling. Ch­es­brough pre­vi­ously lived in a tra­di­tional Cotswold barn and Nay­lor in a York­shire Dales cottage, so noth­ing they owned com­ple­mented their new con­tem­po­rary sur­round­ings. “Through­out the build I con­tin­u­ally frus­trated John by ar­riv­ing with pieces of fur­ni­ture when there were just a few blocks in the ground sur­rounded by bags of ce­ment,” laughs Nay­lor, who de­scribes their style as ‘coastal con­tem­po­rary.’ “When it came to dec­o­rat­ing, I had to be prac­ti­cal. I bought a few key pieces such as a B&B Italia sofa in the lounge, which our black-and-white col­lie, Mur­phy, loves to sprawl across, and off­set th­ese with more ac­ces­si­ble pieces like a dining ta­ble from Bocon­cept. This is not a show home, I didn’t want to be pre­cious about ev­ery­thing; I wanted ev­ery­thing to be func­tional.”

Things needn’t be ex­pen­sive to catch Nay­lor’s at­ten­tion. “The fab­ric of the cush­ions on the sofa is ac­tu­ally from Ikea,” she re­veals. “I had given up hope of ever find­ing the right fab­ric when I popped into Ikea for some nap­kins and saw it. I knew in­stantly they would look ex­actly right.”

One of the cou­ple’s big­gest chal­lenges was find­ing the per­fect kitchen com­pany. “We went to a lot of the big-name de­sign­ers, but even­tu­ally I found Robert Lock­wood of Keller De­sign Cen­tre in Lytham, who un­der­stood ex­actly what we wanted to achieve,” says Nay­lor.

“This is not a show home, I didn’t want to be pre­cious about ev­ery­thing; I wanted ev­ery­thing to be func­tional”

Form­ing the back­drop to the kitchen are hand-lac­quered kitchen cab­i­nets that blend into the wall. Cen­tre stage is a large float­ing is­land unit, topped with a slen­der Cae­sar­stone Ti­ta­nium work­top to lend it a weight­less look. “We wanted it to be clean and con­tem­po­rary,” says Ch­es­brough of the kitchen, “and we didn’t want it to dom­i­nate and draw at­ten­tion away from the view.”

Nay­lor and Ch­es­brough’s pared-back pal­ette of whites and greys con­tin­ues in the mas­ter bed­room, which—like the rest of the house—is taste­fully dec­o­rated. Once again the star of the show is the view, seen through vast fold­ing doors which the cou­ple keep open on balmy sum­mer nights. “It’s ex­actly like be­ing on the boat,” says Ch­es­brough. “You hear the same noises—the birds, the sea. It’s fab­u­lous.” There are taste­ful dé­cor de­tails too, such as a pale grey car­pet that takes its cue from the colour of the sea and a fab­u­lous free-stand­ing bath in the en­suite bath­room. “I’m a bit of a bath per­son, so I like to take a glass of wine and a book and dis­ap­pear for a few hours,” says Nay­lor. “You can lie in the bath and look straight out of the win­dow into the canopy of the for­est.”

The house is tes­ta­ment to Nay­lor’s ex­cel­lent eye for de­tail (honed by her early ca­reer as an in­te­rior designer) and Ch­es­brough’s build­ing ex­per­tise. “All the cre­ative de­ci­sions were mine and all of the en­gi­neer­ing, prac­ti­cal, and con­struc­tion de­ci­sions were John’s,” Nay­lor ex­plains. “He’s a real ge­nius in that he can take one of my sim­ple thumb­nail sketches and make it work as a build­ing.” Hav­ing achieved their per­fect long-term res­i­dence for en­joy­ing their ac­tive out­door life­style, the cou­ple have no plans to move house any time soon. “We sail, we walk on the beach for two to three hours ev­ery day, we go bird­ing. We ab­so­lutely love this place and the coast­line is spec­tac­u­lar. To us, it’s par­adise,” says Nay­lor.

THIS PAGE A large win­dow floods this el­e­gant space with light. The un­der­stated Den­mark dress­ing ta­ble and Rip­ple chair are both from Dwell

OP­PO­SITE FROM TOP Seam­less in­doorout­door living was piv­otal to the cou­ple’s brief. Nat­u­ral light washes in through floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, which were cho­sen so that they re­main close to na­ture; the smooth curves of the free-stand­ing Monaco bath­tub from Vic­to­ria & Al­bert echo the style and shape of the Khroma coun­ter­top basins from Roca. The wall-hung van­ity unit picks up on the “float­ing“theme seen through­out the house

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