The Multitasking Cornish Life

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I seem to live my life in chunks of time.

January – June is full on hectic and with renovations and installations reaching completion, I can usually be found running around with a head like a bucket of frogs whilst my family sit back and suffer the damage.

June – September is super chilled, glamping it up in the garden shed, ahem, I mean meadow summer house, over the lane from our main abode, and living life as simply as it is possible to do with two 6 year old girls to entertain. Recovering my sanity and making it up to my children are my main concerns over this wonderful period of time as is keeping the little nutjobs the hell away from our paying guests. Other priorities include staying in bed after dark in a hopeful attempt at hiding from the slugs, and getting as much time as possible in the sea.

September – December is Desk Time. This gives me a moment to reflect on the hectic work that was produced in the earlier part of the year, and procrastinate starting the next batch. With this in mind, and before I begin designing my upcoming projects and slide into Crazy-January without taking stock, lets pause, make a cup of tea, make another cup of tea, glance at my To Do List, ignore it all and start blogging again, for about a week, until this time next year.

To Follow:

From Start to Finish: The Renovation of Golden Sunset to Marchborne St Ives

From Start to Finish: The Renovation of The Garage to The Briefing Room St Ives

Do it yourself, The DIY, Cottage Transformation

posted in: April Cottage, Interiors, Latest News | 0

Now, as an independent designer, beholden to no-one, I have a lot of creative freedom. Of course, I have favourite suppliers and tradesmen but I only represent myself. This gives me great freedom of choice when it comes to where I source my ‘stuff’ and often I push the limit on this and buy from auctions, small cottage businesses and independent suppliers just to create something unique.

This is especially true when creating something for myself and my family. I love to reuse anything I can, to save on resources, both financially and ecologically. With this in mind I decided to take a step back from ‘paid work’ for a few months to ‘work’ on my own project. This included stripping stained, peeling wall paper that had been stuck on old-plaster walls for around 30 years, painting kitchen cabinets, floorboards, doors and furniture and roping in some very useful family members for the more skilled work of tiling, plastering and preparing our ‘holiday shed’ for occupancy over the summer holidays.. (another story for another post)

These ‘before’ pictures probably portray the worst the cottage has ever looked during our occupancy, as this is the state it was in on moving day. When most people pop champagne corks and toast to their new, hopefully empty, hopefully cleaned home, this time last year we were clearing out rubbish, furniture and dirt that had been left behind. It was so bad that it took a few nights before I plucked up the courage to move in….

Yes, those are towels on an airer in the bathroom and no, none of this belonged to us. Half our belongings were still in the lorry having been driven away to unpack after the weekend and half had been neatly stacked in the living room.

So it was with great effort and a hearty sense of achievement that the cottage was pulled together in just under 12 months to a respectable enough standard to holiday let. There are still some jobs to do and some pictures to put up and some beams to paint and some guttering to fix and some windows to top-coat etc etc etc……………but I am delighted with the results so far.

Needless to say, next time I think I will leave the paintbrush in the packet and ask the professionals to pay a visit. Hats off to them, its a hard hard job!

Tales of a working mother….New year, New month, New day, Same daily grind

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I know everyone has these days. Its January. Its raining. My guttering is leaking and dripping with annoying regularity at my office window. I have been sat here for an hour. Doing nothing.

I am supposed to be doing my accounts which, I know its unusual, I normally love. I enjoy the peace and quiet as I make sense of my business finances. I find it gives me great clarity and I much prefer to acquire this knowledge than pay someone else to do it for me.

However, this morning is just one of those mornings. The house is a mess, the list of mediocre household chores is overwhelming and I have yet to put a final top coat on my 11 primed and undercoated exterior windows that are currently exposed to the wet, wet, wet, weather. This alone is haunting me.

I have started exercising again which feels good and my new 2016 food choices are making me feel really healthy (no sugar, no dairy, no gluten) and I have started the ‘construction’ element of my course which I find fascinating, but I cant shake the feeling that I am just going around in circles.

I have come to the conclusion that it must stem from being a working mother. I would consider myself to be a woman of the times, expectant of gender equality but sadly not expectant of any chivalry (not in this house anyway) yet whilst I maintain my half of the bank balance I still feel as confined as if I were an 18th Century housewife. The tasks that are performed before the school run (whilst my husband enjoys an extra hour in bed, daily) are so routine that I could do them in my sleep, yet some days they exhaust me…….the early morning emptying of the dishwasher, making the children’s breakfast, lovingly putting it on the table with a glass of milk (and the ipad so that I can ‘enjoy my cup of tea in the bath’) Then once I am washed and dressed, clearing up after the children, occasionally hoovering up after the dog, getting the children dressed, hair brushed, teeth cleaned and book bags organised (whilst husband helps himself to breakfast and enjoys it in the living room away from the ‘hussle’ and ‘bussle’ and occasional swear words from me. Finally, shoes and coats and JUST GET ‘IN’ THE CAR before husband deposits his dirty bowl in the clean sink (even though the dishwasher has just been emptied) half full of uneaten porridge and goes to leave for work.

Then I am alone. Peaceful except for the drip drip drip on my window pane and the near to exploding brain full of lists of more chores to do once my ‘paid work’ is done and the children have been collected from school. Lists so full that every time I pass a job it hurts a little…….2 laundry baskets full to bursting of FOUR PEOPLEs clean clothes that have been sat on the landing for nearly a week yet I know they wont be emptied until I do it, a living room covered in toys and BITS of toys, sofa covers that were whisked off the sofa 5 days ago because husband spilled some gravy on them (and tried to sit down on the stain before I would notice it) that have been dry now for 4 days yet still hang over a clothes horse in the living starring at me each time I try to relax. And the dog needs a walk.

I know that the only thing that would make me feel better was if I had a whole uninterrupted day to clean the house and catch up with all these chores but I need the school hours for bringing in the bacon.

To top the cake, my children absolutely, categorically, INHUMANLY adore me. It must be ME who puts them to bed (unless I am physically out of the house), ME who brushes their teeth at night, ME who reads them their night time story and ME who gets up to tend to them at night.

I love my family, I love my kids, I love my house, I love my work……Maybe I should have done the ironing this morning instead….

Feature wall paint ideas

posted in: Interiors, Latest News, Number 8 | 0

I am visiting No 8 every other day now to make sure that the finishing touches are all coming together as planned. The feature walls are looking great and the freshly plastered interior has restored the, once worn and torn, 100 year old victorian terrace. The downstairs reception rooms have been knocked into a sociable open plan space, whilst retaining its naturally aged charm. I have to say that No 8 is fast fulfilling its destiny to provide a prop’r cornish retreat for guests, friends and family alike.



The light fittings have arrived! I settled on two chandeliers to give the open plan space some elegance, one to go above the coffee table and one to go above the dining table. The downstairs will also have a feature wall light on the ‘pillar’ that was left behind when the walls were demolished and there are some pedants for the kitchen to go over the peninsular breakfast bar…..



The feature wall colours have added a real sense of organic style to the upstairs. The colours are soft and subtle but retain a sense of earthiness to match the natural floorboards and textured soft furnishings (when they arrive!)



We are so close to the most exciting part of the project….ordering the rest of the furnishings (once we are sure there is a free bedroom for storage!) finishing the decorating and dressing the house…… as the project completes I will upload before, during and after shots to show the timelines of work per room… the meantime stay tuned as the interior begins to take shape.


Mood Board Design Concept Number 8

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What a wonderful week.


My favourite part of the job is looking at my diary and seeing nothing but big white empty spaces in the week ahead. Knowing that I will be holed up in my office for hours on end with nothing but time and tea, helps the process of falling into the creativity of a project. I feel safe in the knowledge that as these hours disappear, the shape of my designs will crystalize and I will come out the other side of the week with a clear direction.


This week, I had to finish the concept boards for a fast approaching finishing line at Number 8 in St Ives and I have just emerged “alice-in-wonderland-style’ from the burrow of concentration with 5 complete designs including the living room, dining room, master bedroom, second bedroom and twin bedroom. Shopping begins in earnest early next year when the transformation really begins to take shape.

Living Room Area of the open plan space downstairs
Living Room Area of the open plan space downstairs

This canvass of this space will be stone white. A paint colour matched from the F&B colour chart called Slipper Satin, by Dulux Trade for an easier and less expensive application. We have kept the original wooden floorboards in tact and these will be waxed with a hard wax oil in a semi matt finish which will retain the rustic nature of the design whilst allowing for easy cleaning. The artwork is favourited by the property owner and has been chosen for texture, colour and mood. The overall design buzz words here are ‘clean lines’, ‘rustic charm’ and ‘warm and cozy’ with a touch of industrial chic. The tall proportions of this elegant victorian property will be emphasised by the simple white walls and clean lines of the open plan space. Inside there will be a couple of grey sofas and neutral fittings such as natural linen blinds, wooden lamps and cheerful cushions with a log burner and a simple slate hearth.


Dining Room area of the open plan space downstairs
Dining Room area of the open plan space downstairs



The Dining Room area will also be decorated in the neutral colour palette as described above and be furnished with a great deal of texture and clean lined elegance. There will be a large framed map on the back wall to enhance the ‘global’ feel of the space and more cheerfully coloured and textured cushions. In this space, along side the 6 seater wooden table with the obligatory Beaten-Green-style mismatched unpainted wooden chairs, will be another small sofa to enhance the sense of comfort and provide enough seating for every eventuality. There will be two matching heavily beaded chandeliers in each of the open plan spaces to create a unity between them and add a touch more elegance in keeping with the victorian details that the house has retained.






Master Bedroom with ensuite
Master Bedroom with ensuite



The master bedroom will have the first of three decorative paint finishes. Using a neutral colour palette inspired by Farrow and Ball and Matched by Dulux the decorator has been persuaded to create an extended feature wall. This will mean painting the wall behind the bed but reaching the colour out onto the adjacent walls by about 30-40cm running around both side walls, the ceiling and the floor to create a cacoon-like effect within the room. The rest of the furnishings will be simple, textured and neutral with a cheerfully muted colour palette which will be led by the artwork above the bed. This master ensuite will have a copper bed frame, cozy woollen rug, wooden bedsides and industrial style side lamps.



King Bedroom
King Bedroom



This second King bedroom will be difference yet again but using the same paint effect to create a cacoon-like back drop to the space. The soft furnishings have been chosen to echo the colours in the artwork which will be hung above the bed and the wooden bedside stool has been chosen for its simplicity. The bed in this room is white which is why I have chosen the natural contrast of the wooden bedsides and the flooring throughout will be original sanded and waxed boards. The drawers and wardrobes in all the bedrooms will be auction-finds upcycled by Matt in colours chosen for this room.




Twin Bedroom
Twin Bedroom



Last but not least the colour palette of the twin bedroom at the front of the property will be led by the artwork once again. I have tried to incorporate the colours and styles favoured by the client but where these two particular peices are quite bright and moody I intent to frame them in large rustic frames with big white mounts to soften the affect and inject some rustic charm. I have chosen simple white wooden beds, the same cozy rug and neutral based paint affects for this room, but added to the space an injection of a strong dark colour for the tall boy which will sit between the beds. This will be softened by the soft furnishings but provide ample strength to balance the artwork above.



Updates will be added as the house takes shape – what this space!

Transforming a 200 year old cottage

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I didn’t want to move. We had only just finished renovating our house. I knew it was never for the long haul but I thought 5, rather than a measly 2 years, would make the renovation effort worth while. It was Matts crazy idea as always.

We had learnt to lay floor tiles, painted every inch of it and made it home, but even as a nearly finished project, it never felt as homely as the semi derelict, overgrown cottage we first viewed on 26th March 2015. And fell in love with.


Four fairly stressful months later of ‘are we or aren’t we going to get the house’, and we arrived at completion day. Still quite a surreal feeling that we are in, but very happy and grateful that the universe conspired to bring us here.

Our first night was not quite as planned. We arrived to the previous owners still moving out. Some logical reasoning and logistical discussions later and it became obvious that were only going to be able to unload one of our two lorrys due to the amount of ‘stuff’ they had inevitably left behind.

As I escaped with the kids into the luxury of a normal functioning household, curtesy of my sister Kirsty, Matt braved ‘site’ until 3am moving all the leftover household wares into the courtyard and sleeping on one of the kids mattresses in the living room, next to the Mountain of our Entire Downstairs Furniture, only to get up for his breakfast shift in the morning!

(To be fair, this whole thing was his idea, remember!)





One weekend later, all upstairs carpets had been ripped out, the whole place cleaned to within an inch of its life (dead maggots exhumed) and the kids and I braved our first night in readiness for our second lorryload of belongings arriving the following day.

Following the removal of the 2 tons of household waste that Matt had disposed of in the courtyard, and we could start to see the wood for the trees……and the bushes! And the shrubs! And the WEEDS! Two weeks in and every sunny day since moving day, we have all been rendered garden-bound, losing hours upon hours absorbed in the, actually quite satisfying, roles of gardeners / frog re-locators (kids) /spider killers (Matt) and road sweepers (mostly me).

The front garden area which could only house 2 cars, can now house 3 and we can see into the side garden at last! (Another massive project for another summer!) The old walled garden bed has been exposed for repointing and replanting…..and so begins the blogging adventure of April Cottage and its ascent into beauty!

From the bottom of a very long ladder……


Changing the front of your house

posted in: Bramble Cottage, Latest News | 0

I had a call not so long ago from a client who had bought a beautiful property on a large piece of land with several outbuildings in the middle of (seemingly) nowhere. My absolute idea of bliss. I was very excited when I was asked to help remodel the lower ground interior.

This particular client of mine has an absolutely enviable style for interiors and I was very inspired taking a look around. However, when you occupy a space, day in – day out, it is very hard to be objective about it, and, luckily for me, they needed some direction on how to change the practicalities of day to day living within the space.

The existing downstairs had a large living room with an entrance porch on the front through which accessed guests and family alike, including my clients’ two young girls, and a soon-to-be toddler, which meant being met with a barrage of children’s toys, boots and coats.

If you draw a line down the front of the house, on images above, the left side is the downstairs bedroom…….

and the right hand side is the living area and entrance porch.

The make-over included tearing down the existing cramped porch and citing a new, larger version, as an extension on the left hand side, instead.

Using this Pinterest board as my inspiration, the new porch extension was to act as a boot room, housing all the paraphernalia that goes hand in hand with raising a large family. To create the ‘prairie’ feel that the house was crying out for, I continued the line of this new porch straight across the front of the house to create a veranda,

The old living room french doors, which used to act as a front door, were then removed and replaced with a bifold door, thus connecting an outside/inside veranda with an inside/outside living room…….et voila: A little piece of heaven.

My client now enjoys a (not so peaceful with three children) morning brew in an officially allocated room for relaxing, and whether summer or winter can take in her amazing countryside views whilst breathing in the fresh outdoors.


Erm…..When can I move in?


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