WE ES­CAPED THE RAT RACE TO LIVE BY THE SEA

EVER FANTASISE ABOUT MOV­ING TO LIVE IN A SEA­SIDE LO­CA­TION? VIC­TO­RIA YOUNG SPEAKS TO THREE WOMEN WHO HAVE TURNED THAT DREAM INTO RE­AL­ITY

Woman & Home - - CONTENT -

TURN­ING A DREAM INTO RE­AL­ITY

“We rented out our home to cre­ate a new life by the coast”

BRIGID CLARKE, 55, AND HER HUS­BAND, TIM, 57, MOVED TO CORN­WALL THIS YEAR, HAV­ING BUILT THEIR OWN SEAFRONT HOUSE. THEY HAVE TWO GROWN-UP DAUGH­TERS, AND RUN A BIKE HIRE AND COF­FEE SHOP.

OUR DAUGH­TERS HAD LEFT HOME AND WE WERE READY TO THINK ABOUT A NEXT

LIFE STAGE BUT HAD NO CLEAR PLANS. THEN ONE WEEK­END A FEW YEARS AGO I WENT TO PORTREATH, A BEAU­TI­FUL FISH­ING VIL­LAGE ON THE NORTH COR­NISH COAST, TO HELP A FRIEND WHO HAD MOVED THERE. EV­ERY­ONE IN THE PUB WAS TALK­ING ABOUT A PIECE OF LAND UP FOR SALE THAT LOOKS RIGHT OVER THE BEACH. IT TURNED OUT TO BE DI­RECTLY IN FRONT OF MY FRIEND’S HOUSE AND THE SEA VIEW WAS JUST PHENOM­E­NAL. I HAVE A STRONG IN­TER­EST IN SUS­TAIN­ABLE BUILD­ING AND RE­NEW­ABLE EN­ERGY AND I HAD JUST COM­PLETED AN MSC IN AR­CHI­TEC­TURE: AD­VANCED EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL AND EN­ERGY STUD­IES. IN LON­DON I WAS WORK­ING AS A BUILD­ING PRO­JECT MAN­AGER AND WAS AP­PLY­ING MY MSC IN SMALL WAYS. BUT WHEN I SAW THIS PLOT OF LAND – WHICH HAD PLAN­NING PER­MIS­SION – I WAS SWEPT AWAY BY

THE IDEA OF BUILD­ING A HOUSE THERE.

TIM TOOK SOME PER­SUAD­ING; AT FIRST HE THOUGHT I WAS MAD. BUT I GOT HIM TO COME AND SEE THE PLOT, AT WHICH POINT HE CAME ROUND TO THE IDEA. THE PLAN WAS TO BUILD A TWO-BED­ROOM HOUSE THAT WE’D RENT OUT, SO IT WOULD PAY FOR IT­SELF. WE HAD NO IN­TEN­TION OF LIV­ING THERE.

WE MORT­GAGED OUR HOUSE IN

LON­DON TO HELP RAISE THE MONEY, AND ALSO USED SAV­INGS, AND WE BOUGHT THE PLOT IN MARCH 2013. WE WANTED TO

MAKE THE PROP­ERTY AS ENERGYEFFICIENT AS POS­SI­BLE, MAK­ING COM­PLETE USE OF THE SUN,

AND ALSO OF THE VIEWS, AND A BRIL­LIANT LO­CAL BUILD­ING DE­SIGNER

CALLED CHARLES GREEN HELPED US. WE DID SOIL AND BAT SUR­VEYS – MAINLY TO SAT­ISFY THE PLAN­NING DE­PART­MENT THAT WE’D THOUGHT IT ALL THROUGH – AND PER­MIS­SION WAS GRANTED.

TO BUILD, WE HAD TO CUT INTO ROCK; DEVO­NIAN SLATE, KNOWN LO­CALLY AS

KILLAS. FOR THE HOUSE TO BE STA­BLE, WE NEEDED TO CRE­ATE A BIG RE­TAIN­ING WALL BE­TWEEN THE HOUSE AND THE LANE THAT IS BE­HIND IT. SO I SUG­GESTED WE BUILD A FOUR-BED­ROOM HOUSE IN­STEAD, TO JUS­TIFY THE SIZE OF THE WALL. TIM KEPT SAY­ING, ”DON’T GO TOO MAD – IT’S NOT GO­ING

TO BE OUR PER­MA­NENT HOME.” BUT I CON­FESS, I IG­NORED HIM COM­PLETELY! THE HOUSE TOOK JUST OVER A YEAR TO BUILD AND WAS FIN­ISHED IN AU­TUMN 2015. WE WORKED WITH LO­CAL BUILDERS, PHABY AND LUKE, AND THEIR AMAZ­ING AT­TEN­TION TO DE­TAIL MEANT THAT THE HOUSE HAS

THE TOP SCORE – AA – ON THE EN­ERGY PER­FOR­MANCE CER­TIFI­CATE, A GUIDE THAT SHOWS HOW EF­FI­CIENTLY A HOUSE USES EN­ERGY. THIS IS A REAL ACHIEVE­MENT BE­CAUSE THE HOUSE IS NORTH FAC­ING, SO DOESN’T GET A LOT OF SUN­LIGHT ON THE FRONT, AND ALSO WE USED A LOT OF GLASS. WE’VE ACHIEVED THIS BY US­ING SO­LAR PAN­ELS AND ALSO A GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMP, WHICH TAKES THE HEAT OUT OF THE EARTH TO HELP PRE­HEAT OUR UN­DER­FLOOR HEAT­ING AND HOT WATER. THIS MEANS RAD­I­CALLY CHEAPER BILLS.

IN THE MEAN­TIME, TIM,

WHO SPENT OVER 30

YEARS WORK­ING AS A

HEADHUNTER IN LON­DON, HAD DE­CIDED THAT HE WANTED TO DO SOME­THING DIF­FER­ENT. HE’S A KEEN CY­CLIST AND, BROWS­ING ON­LINE ONE DAY, SPOT­TED THAT A SHOP 300 YARDS FROM OUR NEW HOUSE WAS UP FOR SALE. SO IT WAS AC­TU­ALLY

HIS IDEA TO MOVE INTO THE HOUSE! HIS IDEA WAS TO RUN A BIKE-HIRE BUSI­NESS FROM THE SHOP, AND A CAFÉ. WHEN HE SUG­GESTED IT, MY VIEW WAS THAT WE COULD SIT IN LON­DON FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS DO­ING THE SAME THING – WHICH WE LOVED – BUT IT FELT LIKE WE HAD AN­OTHER PRO­JECT IN US AND WE WERE EN­THU­SI­AS­TIC ENOUGH TO TAKE ON A NEW CHAL­LENGE.

WHEN WE FI­NALLY FIN­ISHED UN­LOAD­ING OUR RE­MOVAL VAN, WE WENT TO THE LO­CAL PUB FOR SOME FOOD AND THEN CAME HOME AND JUST COL­LAPSED! WE SLEPT

WITH THE WIN­DOWS OPEN SO WERE LULLED TO SLEEP BY THE LAPPING WAVES, AND I RE­MEM­BER OPEN­ING THE CUR­TAINS TO SEE THE BEACH AND SEA UN­DER A BEAU­TI­FUL CLEAR BLUE SKY AND FEEL­ING LIKE WE WERE ON HOL­I­DAY. YOU CAN’T HELP BUT WATCH THE WEATHER FROM THIS HOUSE AND THE BIG STORMS ARE AMAZ­ING. THEY ARE STRONG, BUT WE ARE PRO­TECTED BY A HEAD­LAND SO DON’T GET THE BRUNT OF THE WIND, AND FEEL TO­TALLY SE­CURE IN OUR AIR­TIGHT HOUSE.

TO MAKE THE FIG­URES ADD UP WE NEEDED TO RENT OUT OUR HOUSE IN LON­DON BUT THE BIKE SHOP NEEDS TO

PAY FOR IT­SELF, WHICH IS EAS­IER SAID THAN DONE WITH A SEA­SONAL BUSI­NESS. THE ORIG­I­NAL SHOP HAD BEEN THE ONLY BEACH SHOP IN THE VIL­LAGE SO WE DE­CIDED TO KEEP THAT EL­E­MENT, AS WELL AS BIKE HIRE AND CAFÉ. THAT MEANT WE HAD TO LEARN THREE NEW BUSI­NESSES, ALL OF WHICH RE­QUIRE DIF­FER­ENT STOCK­ISTS AND STAFFING! SO IT’S BEEN A STEEP LEARN­ING CURVE AND VERY CHAL­LENG­ING. WE SPENT LAST SUM­MER CLEAR­ING OUT OUR FAM­ILY HOME, AND MOV­ING TO CORN­WALL. AND ON 1 APRIL, WE OPENED THE HUB PORTREATH, A BIKE SHOP WITH A COF­FEE SHOP AT­TACHED.

TIM OVER­SEES THE BIKES AND THE MAR­KET­ING. I DO THE BUY­ING FOR THE

SHOP, ALL THE OR­DER­ING AND MENU PLAN­NING, AND WE HAVE A GREAT TEAM.

WE’VE BEEN TO­GETHER FOR 32 YEARS AND AL­WAYS SAID WE’D NEVER WORK TO­GETHER IN CASE IT ALL ENDED UP IN FIRE­WORKS. BUT AC­TU­ALLY IT WORKS RE­ALLY WELL – THIS IS A REAL NEW CHAP­TER FOR US.

I DO MISS FRIENDS AND OUR GIRLS BE­ING DOWN THE ROAD. BUT SO FAR WE’VE BEEN LUCKY; THE GIRLS HAVE VIS­ITED AND VAR­I­OUS FRIENDS HAVE TOO – WHICH IS LOVELY, ALTHOUGH I’M AWARE THAT MIGHT BE ONE OF THE DOWN­SIDES OF BE­ING SO FAR AWAY. BUT ALTHOUGH I MISS THE PEO­PLE,

I DON’T MISS MY OLD CITY LIFE AT ALL.

ROOM WITH A VIEW – THE STORMS ARE AS SPEC­TAC­U­LAR AS THE SUN­LIT SEASCAPES DE­SPITE THE FLOOR-TO­CEIL­ING WIN­DOWS, THE HOUSE IS EN­ERGY-EF­FI­CIENT

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