‘We es­caped to the coast’

Lin and Gary em­braced a life­style change when they left a hec­tic city life be­hind for the artis­tic world of St Ives in Corn­wall

Style at Home (UK) - - Inside -

Lin found the artis­tic re­treat she craved in sleepy St Ives

Since I was a child, when I used to cry on the way home from our sea­side hol­i­days, I’ve al­ways longed to live near the coast,’ says Lin. ‘So when my hus­band Gary and I de­cided to leave the rat race and the long com­mute to Lon­don from our home in Sur­rey be­hind, we chose Corn­wall, which we both knew and loved.

I’m a free­lance copy­writer and my hus­band is a sup­port worker for adults with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. We both needed to con­tinue work­ing but, although my copy­writ­ing is very cor­po­rate, I had al­ways joked that I wanted to write “the great novel”, but had never had the chance. Mean­while Gary wanted to be able to de­vote more time to his art­work. He paints and sculpts us­ing re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, and has even been an artist in res­i­dence at a Na­tional Trust prop­erty near our old home.

St Ives is an amaz­ing cre­ative hub, and has its own Tate gallery. There’s also the Barbara Hep­worth Mu­seum and Sculp­ture Gar­den as well as the Leach Pot­tery, which was founded in 1920, and we knew liv­ing here would in­spire us.

Green house

Af­ter sell­ing our Vic­to­rian cot­tage in Sur­rey, we ini­tially rented a house near St Ives be­fore look­ing for a place buy. We try to be en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, so when we saw this house, which was part of an eco-build devel­op­ment, it re­ally ap­pealed.

There are so­lar pan­els for pro­vid­ing heat­ing and hot water, triple glaz­ing, a wood-pel­let fire and a heat ex­change sys­tem. This draws hot air around the house via vents in the ceil­ing, so we have no need for ra­di­a­tors. It was also in a lovely spot, with the sea just a short walk away, and there’s am­ple park­ing

space, which is a real bonus in a busy town like St Ives. The house is 10 years old and had been left empty for some time – for­tu­nately, it didn’t need too much work. The walls were all white, which was fine, and the wood floors were lovely, but there were no cur­tain poles on any of the win­dows. For­tu­nately, the house isn’t over­looked so doesn’t ac­tu­ally need blinds or cur­tains. We weren’t keen on the nasty yel­low lino on the bath­room floor, so we re­placed it with a wa­ter­proof floor­ing spe­cially de­signed for wet ar­eas.

We joked that the kitchen must have been de­signed by some­one who never cooked, as there weren’t work­tops to speak of, the up­per cup­boards were too high for me to reach and there wasn’t a space for a fridge to fit.

The most dif­fi­cult as­pect of the house is the stair­case, which is very nar­row. When we or­dered a fridge freezer, the

de­liv­ery man told us that he wouldn’t be able to squeeze it around the bend, so we had to send it back and find a smaller one that did fit. Luck­ily, our dou­ble bed and sofa bed came apart, so it was pos­si­ble to take them up the stairs.

Home work

I took over the small third bed­room as my of­fice space and, at first, Gary used the stu­dio for his re­cy­cled pulped pa­per and reef rock pots. How­ever, it was such messy work he found a more suit­able place to work nearby and we de­cided to turn the ground floor into a suite for friends and guests, which we now pro­mote through Airbnb.

We found an amaz­ing handy­man who fit­ted a small kitchen in the stu­dio and we added so­fas and a dou­ble bed. We had not planned on rent­ing out the stu­dio when we moved here, but it


has given us an ex­tra in­come, and the Poldark ef­fect means that we have a steady sup­ply of vis­i­tors to this area.

We had to be a lit­tle in­ven­tive when deal­ing with the is­sues in the main kitchen. To give us more work­sur­face and cup­board space, we bought two cab­i­nets with draw­ers and alu­minium tops. They stand in the win­dow, but in­evitably the tops get cov­ered with stuff. The new fridge freezer is free­stand­ing, too, so as it can’t be hid­den, we thought we might as well chose a showstopper and went for one in bright lime green.

Open-plan liv­ing

Af­ter liv­ing in a rather small Vic­to­rian cot­tage, it was quite odd to find our­selves with a gen­er­ous, open-plan liv­ing area. We brought the fur­ni­ture from our pre­vi­ous home with us. At first, we had dif­fi­culty de­cid­ing on where to put it all,

artist in res­i­dence ‘Gary made th­ese pa­pier mache heads when we lived in Sur­rey – they make a re­ally eye-catch­ing dis­play’

‘The cur­tain fab­ric is Dan­de­lion Clocks by San­der­son from John Lewis. It’s per­fect for th­ese French doors as they lead out to the gar­den’ Gar­den fresh

idea to steal ‘For con­ti­nu­ity, paint a door frame in the same colour as the ex­te­rior wall’ hole in one ‘Hav­ing a cat flap fit­ted in triple-glazed French doors was a nec­es­sary but ex­pen­sive pro­ce­dure’

bright idea ‘As the sofa is black I’ve cho­sen yel­low ac­ces­sories to add colour’

lime light ‘This is a dark cor­ner, so I bought bright kitchen­ware that works well against the black tiling and work­top’

quick re­minder ‘I used black­board paint on the walls to make my own shop­ping list no­tice­board’

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