A FAMILY AFFAIR Coastal self build on the Isle of Wight
Flanked by rolling hills and overlooking a dramatic shoreline, this new build is enjoyed by four generations of the same family, who come here to relax, play and contemplate
With its fabulous views out to sea, the deck provides a perfect spot for barbecues and evening drinks – not to mention stargazing around the firepit LIVING ROOM
With the seating zone open to the dining and kitchen areas, the house has a sociable feel. The mirror is from La Redoute, and the rug is from Ikea
WHO LIVES HERE Lucy Harris, a local interior designer and co-founder of Tribe & Posy, and her second cousin Phil Clabburn, a civil engineer, have created this relaxing family bolthole
THE PROPERTY A detached new build in Brook on the Isle of Wight
PRICE £388,000 in 2012 MONEY SPENT £350,000 WHAT IT’S WORTH NOW
Set on a prominent spot surrounded by rolling fields, craggy white cliffs and breathtaking seascapes, this newbuild home, known as Flackstead, had humble beginnings as a small white cottage sitting alone on this heavenly plot. ‘It was serendipity in motion when my mum’s cousin, Phil, caught sight of the quaint house nearly 10 years ago, while touring the island on his motorbike,’ recalls Lucy Harris. Years later, Phil was amazed to spot the same house for sale and quickly purchased the plot with the vision of building an island retreat that could be used by him and his extended family.
‘We all loved Phil’s ideas and, where we could, the family offered support on the project. His parents in particular would often turn up to see the progress, his dad armed with technical advice and his mum with cakes,’ recalls Lucy. ‘As I run an interior styling company, Phil asked me and my business partner Beth to help out at the end stages and ensure the decoration complemented the stunning surroundings.’
Having worked as a civil engineer for many years, as well as restoring wartime boats, Phil boldly took on the build himself, drawing up plans with the help of his father and an architect. The new design, featuring three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a large open-plan living space, was intended to recreate the same silhouette as the previous cottage, yet it was roughly twice the size. ‘The local planning office were quick to approve the plans,’ says Lucy. ‘They liked that it was sympathetic to the old cottage and wasn’t another
Lucy enjoys the views across to Freshwater Bay and Compton Beach. Bifold doors expand the kitchen/ living area onto the deck, instantly doubling the entertaining space. Simple Shaker-style units were made by a local kitchen fitter, while the limestone floor is from Mandarin Stone
Bench seating, built from scaffolding boards left over from the build, adds to the modern rustic feel. Linen and velvet cushions soften the look
quirky design that would stand out.’ The build took three years and features a number of ecofriendly elements, as well as being extremely well sealed to protect against the strong coastal winds and sea salt corrosion. And while the build has triumphed environmentally, it also resulted in very little waste – every part of the old house was repurposed and not a single skip was needed.
Once the basic elements were in place, Lucy and Beth helped to introduce natural textures, colours and warmth for a simple, relaxed feel. ‘We chose a neutral backdrop that could be changed with coloured accessories to mirror the surrounding landscapes through the seasons. The views are such a huge part of this house that the interiors had to complement rather than distract from them,’ says Lucy.
With this in mind, a limestone floor, featuring natural imperfections, was chosen to set a modern rustic tone in the openplan living space. Handcrafted Shaker units continue the simplicity through to the kitchen, while the island and cupboards were painted in varying sea and sky blues for a breezy touch. ‘Everyone congregates around this central island to chat with the cook or look at the passing boats and kite surfers,’ says Lucy.
At every turn, the living spaces are dotted with quirky family heirlooms, while the seating areas have been softened up with splashes of red, blue and yellow to create a subtle nautical vibe. ‘This house is all about coming together and winding down. We were mindful that family members of all ages wanted to come here and
Handy nooks are ideal for tidying away beach shoes, while the oak staircase adds a warm texture
A striped sofa from Laura Ashley continues the coastal feel. Phil made the coffee table from driftwood that he found on the beach
make memories, so we worked hard to ensure the finishes were inviting, homely and extremely practical,’ says Lucy.
Upstairs, the pace shifts a gear with three distinctively calm and serene bedrooms showcasing whitewashed, wood-clad walls for another coastal nod. Subtle blush accents liven up the main bedroom, while more vintage treasures add a personal touch. ‘This is one of my favourite rooms as I love the elegance of the sofa against the rustic walls. It belonged to Phil’s grandmother and we had it reupholstered in a green chevron wool fabric aptly named Sea. Happily, the modern restyle doesn’t distract from the beauty of the original piece,’ says Lucy. With each bedroom featuring a stylish ensuite bathroom, guests are spoilt for choice. ‘We like to change where we sleep through the seasons. The bedroom with the balcony is beautifully airy and bright in the summer, while the natural-toned bedroom is super-snug in the winter months, especially when the winds are raging,’ says Lucy.
The beautiful light that fills each space is certainly an important factor in the lovely atmosphere that pervades this home, which feels both timeless and peaceful. ‘The experience of being here was perfectly summed up by my grandfather, who used to enjoy visiting and watching the sea,’ says Lucy. ‘Sadly he died last year, though his words are still very much alive at Flackstead. He said it was the ideal place to “contemplate the infinite”, and that’s exactly what we like to do here.’
l Flackstead is available to rent for holiday breaks. For more information, visit Classic Cottages at classic.co.uk
Wood-clad walls add subtle pattern and texture without distracting from the serenity of the space, which has been decorated in soft greys and creams
With views across the ocean and clifftops, the ensuite bathroom offers a peaceful spot to soak and unwind
Natural textures and tones set a cosy ambience in this bedroom, which is the favoured sleeping space during colder months.
The cushions are from Homesense and the bedspread from Zara Home
‘The views are such a huge part of this house that the interiors had to complement rather than
distract from them’