An eccentric sea captain’ is how siblings Tom and Kate Cox of Hám Interiors describe the imaginary owner of this coastal home, a former net loft perched on the clifftop overlooking Trevone Bay in North Cornwall. ‘This is a holiday property but we designed it with a character in our minds,’ recounts Tom. ‘We wanted to acknowledge the seaside location, but we didn’t want to be too obvious. It’s so easy to overstep that line.’
There are no lighthouses or jaunty stripes in this house design. Instead, architectural details such as shiplap cladding and aged stone cobbles help to ground the building in its setting, while intriguing treasures including framed ships’ flags and a flock of decorative coastal birds suggest a collector with an eye for the unusual.
‘We had so much fun,’ says Kate. ‘Not many clients let you cover a room in wooden ducks and geese.’ The clients are Jessica and Ash Alken-Theasby, owners of Atlanta Trevone, a Victorian mansion with four luxury holiday rentals. The pair recently renovated all of the guest houses, opting to convert the dilapidated net loft to add a fifth property to the portfolio.
‘When my great-uncle bought the guest house in the 1950s, he used to keep his little boats in this building,’ says Jessica. ‘I knew the loft would turn out to be Atlanta’s eccentric relative, and Tom and Kate were the perfect fit for creating a look that offers a sense of sheer escapism.’
Working with floor plans drawn up by architects Harrison Sutton, Tom and Kate collaborated closely with Jessica and Ash – who own bespoke construction company Alkenby – to rebuild the loft, fine-tuning every detail to create interiors that appear to have been there forever.
Timber boards in the main living room are beautifully aged cheeseboards that were individually selected by Tom; the kitchen cabinetry features a scumble paint effect that nods to old mahogany furniture.
‘There is a folk art element to a lot of the joinery,’ says Kate, pointing out the cabin-style bed in the main bedroom, a playful piece that Jessica was initially hesitant about: ‘We went backwards and forwards with this idea as my practical brain told me it may not appeal to some guests, but everyone seems to love it,’ she notes.
The paint colors are predominantly blues and each tone was carefully chosen to complement the surroundings. ‘There is a powdery, mineral quality to the colors that creates warmth,’ explains Tom of the rich blue woodwork and pale blue walls in the entryway and living area.
‘On a lovely sunny day, it feels fresh and uplifting, but in the winter when you have the log burner going it is really cozy.’ The wall decor brings a sense of whimsy to the spaces and includes folk art, flags and signs, as well as commissioned pieces such as maritime paintings that reference the naivety of sailors’ woolwork.
In the surf gallery, where guests can park their cars and hang wetsuits to dry, a Californian vibe pervades, thanks to a wall that showcases a carved marlin trophy and a vintage Tigger Newling surfboard belonging to Jessica’s father, who lives in the village.
Before it opened for business, the couple and their two young sons took the opportunity to stay in the loft and Jessica recalls the magic of experiencing it through her children’s eyes: ‘It was like a wonderful journey, as if we had dived into something completely exciting and unknown.’
Meet the designers
Kate and Tom Cox of Hám Interiors share their style inspiration
MOST SUCCESSFUL ASPECT OF THIS PROJECT
The playful storytelling.
SMALL CHANGE, BIG IMPACT
The scumble paint finish on the kitchen cabinets, applied by our artisan decorator during installation. It transformed the space.
An earthy red.
YOUR STYLE IN THREE WORDS
Eclectic, timeless, whimsical.
As a family business, we constantly inspire each other with different design ideas and tastes. It creates a shared vision driven by our collective influences.
MUSEUM TO VISIT
Lytes Cary Manor, Somerset, with its arts and crafts-style garden.
A vintage lumberjack’s axe from America.
A HOME SHOULD BE…
Comfortable, relaxed and not taken too seriously.
Sign up to the Homes & Gardens newsletter
Decor Ideas. Project Inspiration. Expert Advice. Delivered to your inbox.
These interior designers just shared the 'obscure' decor trends they want to see more of in 2024 – and we are on board
Many of the best decor ideas are a bit out of the box, and these San Diego-based designers are loving unique interior design choices in 2024. These are the four trends they want to see more of
By Abby Wilson Published
Leanne Ford’s spring Crate & Barrel collection gives us a new take on the modern farmhouse look
Leanne Ford has a new spring collection with Crate & Barrel, and it's giving an elevated take on modern farmhouse. Explore my favorites from the collection
By Nikhita Mahtani Published