No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A house by the sea

So, I think it's time I began to tell you about our house by the sea.  About a year ago, I had a flash of genius.  Well, to me it was, anyway.  To you it will be perfectly obvious.  I have owned a flat in London for years.  It was supposed to be my first place of my own.  A starter flat.  Not a forever home (to use Kirstie and Phil speak).
photo from here
(Sorry, I actually quite like Kirstie and Phil, but this was such a hideous photo that I just had to share it with you...)

But life happened  and I have held onto this flat far longer thank I'd intended while I went walkabout.  Other people lived in it and gradually it stopped being my flat and became just an investment (a laughable concept for me given my profigacy, but that's what it turned out to be).  I never stayed in my flat when I went back to London to visit.  Every now and again I'd check in on it, and once or twice I gave it a lick of paint, but otherwise it suffered from benign neglect. 

And then one day last year, I woke up to the brainwave that I could sell this flat and buy a little house by the sea.  Somewhere where tourists would come and rent it so that I could pay a mortgage, but still be a place where we could come to on holiday and eventually settle in. 

It has taken until now to sell my flat.  We found a buyer 7 months ago, but then days before exchange in October, the buyer demanded changes to the lease.  And then my neighbour demanded that the exclusive right to their garden be clarified....  On and on it went, so that it was only last week that we completed on the sale. 

So, it's only now that I can dare to believe the house by the sea is actually real.  We've even chosen the place and the seller has been good enough to wait while we faffed around.  A bracing part of the English coastline.  No soft options here...

image from here

Last year, I spent weeks after I decided on this cunning plan surfing websites for everything from curtain fabric to sofas.  (I really really want this one from Rose & Grey ...
... but will probably end up with something sensible from Ikea.)

But then, with all the complications, I gave up because it was just too depressing.  But now, I can have free reign. 

It being by the sea and a holiday home, I want a nod to the nautical, but I don't want to drown in it either.  And I want it to be fun (if that's not too Boden-speak...).  And today, I have come across this...

by Jonny Hannah from St. Jude's Prints which works well.  (I'm glad I tracked it down.  I saw something similar in a dress shop in Devon last year but couldn't find it for ages.  And this...
... from Rockett St George which I absolutely love.

I'm sure there'll be plenty of stripes and ticking and colour.  (Back to the old fashioned deck chairs...)
 And it may be that I never get around to buying these prints.  But for now, it's nice to be able to dream about it again. 

But first, we need to get all the boring bits out of the way - solicitor, surveyor, mortgage, builders.  So you see plenty of time yet to choose a colour scheme... 

And I think that that's what the sudden urge to craft is all about.  Nesting.



  1. How wonderful! I am so jealous - I grew up near the sea but live in Oxford now - a seaside holiday home is my dream - till then I'll enjoy seeing you make a home in yours!

  2. Wow Claire...I think you and I seem to share very similar decorating tastes! That punchline print is absolutely fabulous...may have to get it :) And the sofa....yum yum. And I am mad about deckchair stripes...any stripes for that matter! My worst nightmare would be a Cath Kidston version of a house by the sea....I love 'vintage' but not the contrived stuff that is CK. It is too Disney for me. But your choices look fantastic. I was born near the sea on the North East coast (now that is cold!) and living in W Yorks I really miss it. I too long for a seaside place. Good luck in your property search x

  3. Forget to add....that Phil and Kirsty pic - what is going ON!!! They look like actually looks quite scary!

  4. How wonderful Claire! Somethign to look forward to, a house to find and furnish - yum!!!
    Incidentally as much as i can appreciate the prettiness of Cath Kidston stuff (and I do have a couple of aprons and mugs)I know exactly what Andrea means - I too prefer genuine vintage even if it is not quite so eye candy pinkish as the retro vintage or vintage style stuff which is so popular and everyone has it - there, thats what it is - I dont like to have the same as everyone else!!!
    I remember meeting Cath Kidston 13 or 14 years ago and buying a little apron off her for my then 2 yr old daughter and no-one had ever heard of her! Her stuff was so pretty and different from anything else then, but now there is so much similar stuff.


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