An artist’s apart­ment by the sea


When Kirsty Wither and Robin Cameron de­cided that their next home should have both a sea view and out­side space, they didn’t re­ally think it would be within their grasp. But then this quirky Ge­or­gian-style apart­ment in Hove came onto the mar­ket and ticked all the boxes.

‘The round win­dows make it feel like you’re on a boat – you can just see the sea and sky,’ says Kirsty. ‘You can also watch the weather com­ing in and be in­spired.’ Of course, in­spi­ra­tion is es­sen­tial for the artist, whose paint­ings, like her ap­pear­ance, are vi­brant and colour­ful. ‘The apart­ment has great vis­tas every­where – from front to back – and it’s not over­looked. Even though the bal­cony is tiny, we can both just about sit on it with Tiger and the bar­be­cue.’

The round win­dows and French doors that lead to the bal­cony are in the main liv­ing and din­ing space. There wasn’t a fire­place in the room so the cou­ple had a wood­burner in­stalled. Although they haven’t had to do any struc­tural work to their home, they did in­stall new cen­tral heat­ing and damp-proof­ing – the lat­ter a nec­es­sary on­go­ing ex­pense for coastal prop­er­ties.

In the kitchen, a dis­tinc­tive cupola floods the apart­ment in light. It’s sur­rounded by plas­ter­work that had been picked out in red and black by the pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pants, but is now white. The be­spoke An­drew Collins kitchen orig­i­nally in­cluded wall cup­boards, but Kirsty and Robin felt they were too im­pos­ing. ‘When we took them out, the room felt twice the size,’ Kirsty says. ‘I chose open shelv­ing be­cause I like to have our be­long­ings on show. Ev­ery­thing comes with a wee story, even if it means more dust­ing. We got a joiner to build the float­ing shelves with iron rods, but his drill came straight through the wall into the liv­ing room, which we’d just dec­o­rated,’ she laughs, adding that they found a new joiner to fin­ish the job. ‘We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and any new art­works al­ways end up in there.’

How­ever, Kirsty’s favourite room is the main bath­room. ‘We’ve done most things on a shoestring,’ she ex­plains. ‘The round bath­room sink was an Ebay find. It had come from France but was so pit­ted


that we had to have it re-enam­elled. Both bath­rooms orig­i­nally had grey suites with grey and pink tiles. The pipework and pump for the shower was stuck through the wall of the spare bed­room and cov­ered by a weird cup­board.’

Kirsty had been plan­ning to paint a mu­ral in the bath­room to com­ple­ment the car­rara mar­ble, but then she saw the de­signs by Mod­ern Love Stu­dio. ‘It’s amaz­ing how the dig­i­tal age has en­abled us to cre­ate de­signs be­spoke to a room,’ she says. ‘I loved the pel­i­can on their cush­ions and I liked the con­ti­nu­ity of hav­ing the bird in the sit­ting room, bed­room and bath­room. We dis­cussed the de­sign with the com­pany, as I didn’t want it to be too noisy with colour as it’s such a busy print. It had to be charm­ing rather than in your face. It’s so clever the way that Sarah [Ar­nett, the il­lus­tra­tor] has in­cor­po­rated hid­den things into the de­sign – such as the mon­key – that you don’t see ini­tially and noth­ing is re­peated. The mu­ral makes my day ev­ery time I go into the bath­room – I spend a lot of time brush­ing my teeth now!’

Dec­o­rat­ing the main bed­room in Far­row & Ball’s Babouche – a bold yel­low – was an easy de­ci­sion for the cou­ple. The Kate Jenk­ins’ knit­ted striped throw and Mod­ern Love Stu­dio pel­i­can cush­ions, which are used on the bed, in­spired them to use it in the room. Kirsty en­thuses: ‘Yel­low is my ab­so­lute favourite colour – it makes me happy. It’s up­lift­ing, joy­ful, pos­i­tive. I find it hard not to have a wee touch of it in my paint­ings’.

The din­ing and liv­ing spa­ces are painted in Far­row & Ball’s Stone Blue. ‘All the paint­ings look bril­liant against it,’ Kirsty ex­plains. ‘Hav­ing the gallery makes us more aware of colours. When we brought the Mary Fed­den paint­ing into the main liv­ing room, the colours just popped so beau­ti­fully, and then we saw the burnt or­ange sofa online. It said “buy me now”. We’re de­lighted with how it works, en­abling us to bring other warm colours into the room.’

Kirsty says that apart from want­ing to paint the kitchen cup­boards in a char­coal shade, she’s sat­is­fied with the way their apart­ment looks, for now. But she has big plans to move her work closer to home: ‘I’d love to build a stu­dio on the roof. The neigh­bour­ing build­ings have all been taste­fully de­vel­oped, so hope­fully there’s a prece­dent. That’s my am­bi­tion.’

‘The mu­ral makes my day ev­ery time I go into the bath­room

– I spend a lot of time brush­ing my teeth now!’

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