I have recently taken on a new interiors project down in Cornwall. It’s a 2 bedroom barn conversion just outside Davidstow, not far from the rugged landscape of Bodmin Moor and only 6 miles from the dramatic North Cornish coastline.
The owners bought the house off-plan, midway through construction and together, we want to create a luxury retreat for them and their holiday guests to escape to.
To create an interior space that gives guests a little slice of Cornish luxury! As part of the design work, I will be looking at the flow and function of the spaces, the furniture selections and the general style of the interiors.
Not only does the style of the rooms need to be pleasing to the eye, but it also needs to compliment the beautiful natural surroundings that exist around the property.
Scope of Work
After reviewing the builder’s site plans, I noticed there could be a missed opportunity to include an en-suite within the master bedroom. As with any high-end holiday let where guests expect a certain level of comfort, having two bathrooms as opposed to one is a big plus point, especially when comparing with other holiday properties. With this in mind, we made a few tweaks to the plans (see further below).
A change like this was possible and relatively straightforward because the project was taken on mid construction. First fix electrics and plumbing had only just gone in so we were able to adapt them slightly to accommodate the new design.
Below is the original plan which you will see shows ‘Bedroom 01’ as the full depth of the house. By taking 1.2m from the back wall end, you can fit a good sized en-suite with shower, sink, toilet and pocket slide door. There is also the opportunity of adding a single 50cm wardrobe to the back end of the shower section and can be accessed from the bedroom. Even with these additions, we are still able to fit in a king sized bed, two 45cm bedside units, a chest of drawers and an accent chair.
Upstairs is the open plan living space with kitchen, dining and sitting area, along with access to the private garden. The property is an ‘upside down house’ as it is positioned on a slope so the back garden is level with the first floor. The open plan space is stunning! It has exposed beams and trusses, oak lintels and a vaulted ceiling.
There were very little amendments necessary to this space other than the kitchen layout, the stairwell opening and the log burner.
In the kitchen, the original plan was to have an overhanging worktop with two stools but this seemed rather disjointed as the worktop ‘jarred’ into the kitchen. It also appeared to be too cramped so it was removed from the design. An integrated microwave was added, as was a wine rack and an under counter bin store. These additions are, in my opinion, key within a holiday rental as guests require ease of use of the facilities and equipment.
The stairwell opening was reduced slightly after reviewing the dining area layout whilst maintaining the minimum height clearance required within buildings regulations. This provided an extra 235mm of width which, with space being tight, gave us is a lot more to play with – jackpot!
Lastly, the choice of log burner and its flue position was tweaked ever so slightly. We did not want a burner that was too powerful for the space that would potentially overheat it. Neither did we want one so big that it would encroach on the living area. The flue was also reappointed to remain vertical and central to the room.
Now that the structural plan has been finalised, I can now turn my attention to getting creative with the interiors…!
With nature all around the barn, I am keen to bring in some natural colours and varying textures, to give a real sense of comfort to the interior space. And whilst working with the traditional features of the barn, I would like to introduce some contemporary design elements to give it more depth and contrast. Here are a few images that have been my inspiration for this project;
Furniture & Layout
Simplicity is key when designing a space for holiday guests. From personal experience, items (including furniture!) get moved all around the house, everything is used and occasionally some things get damaged or broken. There is a real balance as to how much or how little you should include within the rooms. Some items are key for function and others are key for design. Just try not to over-complicate either of these aspects!
A good example of this is the number of cushions you should include. Too many and they will be scattered all over the house and all in the wrong places and no matter how many times you ask the changeover cleaners to put them back in the right positions, they never quite get it right! Too few cushions and you loose the sense of design, coordination and comfort.
The living area will be a relaxed space with a mixture of furniture shapes, styles and sizes. This will give a more comfortable and casual feel to the room. As a brand ambassador for Arlo & Jacob, I have selected some of my favourite pieces from their collection which include; the Henry 3-seater sofa in colour Mayfly, the Agatha armchair in Brass and the Vesper accent chair in Seashell.
What I love about Arlo and Jacob, and to be honest this is one of the main reasons that I support them as a brand and will be using their furniture within this project, is their ability to produce high quality, design-led pieces that are so well suited to the modern way of living. Everything is designed in house with all furniture made in Britain, and every sofa and every armchair is created to bring together beautiful form with functional practicality.
Arlo & Jacob’s stores are beautifully designed and zoned making you feel right at home within your surroundings. There is a kitchen area with teas, coffees, juices, a play area for the children, a fabric swatch station and zonal seating areas that provide inspiration for furniture and fabric combinations. There is a real sense of confidence in their styling with their use of colour, print and pattern which provides you, as the customer, with an assurance in your own design choices.
I have visited a few of their stores now and each time I have been welcomed by one of Arlo & Jacob’s colour experts who have a wealth of experience largely in the paint sector. They have been a fantastic help to bounce colour ideas around with, coordinating wall colours with fabric colours and textures.
To continue along the idea of introducing a variation of materials, textures and patterns to the design, I will be extending this across my selection of soft furnishings, wall coverings and flooring. I hope to have some bespoke headboards made for the twin room from a gorgeous fabric by Clay Mclaurin Studio, some textural stone tiling in the bathroom and a durable sisal-look rug for the main living area (the perfect rug option for a holiday rental!).
As the project unfolds further, I will continue to share the design journey via my stories and posts on Instagram so be sure to follow along!
Thanks for reading,