An Aldeburgh cottage rekindles memories of childhood holidays
Parents often like to introduce their families to their favourite childhood holiday haunts. So it was for James and Liz Day, who brought their children, Archie, Elfie and Raffi, to Aldeburgh, for several years they renting a property on Crag Path. But now they have their own four-bedroom cottage.
It required considerable improvement and renovation, including adding a master bedroom in the roof, all ably overseen by Liz. “My first visit,” recalls James, “was when it was all finished. It just shows the faith I have in Liz’s excellent style and judgement.”
James is no slouch in the creative department either. Brought up in West Norwood, south London, by a barrister father and solicitor mother, his first job after school was training as a corporate financier. “I hated it,” he says. “But I knew a friend’s father who ran a design consultancy. I’d always been interested in photography and he suggested I call round, which I did, wearing a suit, can you believe? I’d never thought of photography as a job, but I found I really enjoyed the lighting and composition. I got a lot of experience assisting James Cottier, a well known photographer, who had been trained by Terence Donovan. In 1990, I decided to go freelance.”Now James is an award winning photographer with a list of blue chip clients. He particularly enjoys portraits for advertising and editorial clients, something in which he specialises.
Liz is from near Chepstow, in the Wye Valley. After leaving school she went to university in London to study philosophy. “To make ends meet,” she recalls, “I worked in a night club and used to finish at 5am. I don’t know how I did it. That’s how I met James. He came in one night and the manager, a friend of his, introduced us. We met up again the next day at Covent Garden tube station. I was an hour and a half late, but there he was, standing in the rain and, needless to say, it was love at first sight and we’ve been together ever since.”
Liz obtained her MA in philosophy but, rather like James, allowed her creative side come to the fore and became a jewellery designer, working on private commissions, before joining the PR department of celebrated jewellery company Dinny Hall. Nowadays, she is involved in styling and production.
The result of Liz’s creative input to the Aldeburgh cottage is a really modern family home, with some quirky touches. “It’s certainly not just black and white,” comments James. Liz has chosen a very dark grey for the living room walls, spicing it up with armchairs in sharp, citron yellow. She has continued the colour in the hall and up the stairs. In
‘My thoughts for the design were light and airy, with a Scandinavian feel’
contrast, the enlarged kitchen diner, is stunning in white, with funky metro industrial chic overtones. With its large French doors it overlooks the decking and sizeable garden. Here, and in the living room, there is a smart wood burning stove, fantastic on winter evenings.
On the first floor are three bedrooms for the children, while a spacious master bedroom with en suite bathroom occupies the entire top floor and has terrific roof-top views. With the beach and shops only five minutes’ walk away, everything is conveniently to hand. “My thoughts for the design,” explains Liz, “were light and airy, with a Scandinavian feel, but maybe with odd bits of a dark colour.” She is very pleased with the end result, and confesses she found the building process enjoyable but taxing, travelling to and from London at least once a week.
BELOW LEFT: Simple and stylish kitchen diner BELOW RIGHT: Kitchenalia
ABOVE: James, Raffi, Archie, Elfie & Liz BELOW: The cottage exterior
ABOVE: A bold and beautiful living room BELOW LEFT: The staircase with Ipswich buses sign BELOW RIGHT: Family bathroom