by Helpful Holidays
1 The Quay in Lympstone on the East Devon coast is a case study of transformation of a dated cottage to gorgeous holiday let.
Devon residents Kate Harwood and Iain Clarke, along with their three girls, were looking for a family project. Whilst some might turn to baking or building a tree house, this inspiring family decided to find a house in need of renovation and inject it with light and life in order to create a home others would flock to.
While both Iain and Kate had experience in interior design, they needed some help navigating the waters of property development. To springboard their journey, they began to gather as much information about the process as possible. “We had seen Helpful Holidays’ pieces in the Western Morning News, so we knew they could offer advice through the process”, says Kate. “Gaby Wakley was particularly supportive. I would send her pictures or brochures of properties I was looking at, and she would give me her opinion on potential letting income”.
But of all the properties they looked at, none sparked a sense of home until they came across the perfect investment for their family. “When we looked at 1 The Quay in Lympstone, we fell in love. We only live 10 minutes up the road, so it was conveniently close. It’s in a special setting, right on the estuary. Lympstone is a lovely village with a railway station, the cycle trail, brilliant pubs and a good community. Ever since we started our renovations, people have been so welcoming.”It isn’t just love that drew the perceptive couple to the house.
As the property had an established letting history, they didn’t need permission to operate as a business. This meant they could invest all their time and energy in the renovation, and it definitely paid off.
Kate and Iain threw themselves, heart and soul, into turning this dark and dated house into a home so filled with space and light that you’re surprised to see a shadow. “We chose a neutral, coastal palette throughout, and Iain has made, not just the bespoke kitchen, but all the furniture inside,” says Kate. “We had some ideas of how to use the space better and create more room, without losing the elements that made it popular. The plan was to do everything that we could ourselves.”
One of the first improvements was to install a woodburner to ensure every coastal winter night can be spent in snug comfort. The intention to instil comfort as a way of living continued as the pair transformed the spacious attic room into a cosy twin bedroom. “Helpful Holidays have helped us decide what to put in each room to address what people want – it helped that they had a lot of information on this property and how people used it. Things like zip and link beds can make a huge difference, because you can change them around to meet different people’s needs.”
It’s these features of well thought out flexibility and attention to detail that makes this property ideal for so many people. It really does adapt to your needs.
Kate and Iain tested the property’s capabilities by inviting 20 of their friends, along with their kids and dogs, to a party in the house. Needless to say, the event was a success and the house acted as the perfect backdrop to their frivolities.
Now that their renovation journey has come to a successful close, Kate wants to impart some of her newly discovered wisdom to others who are about to embark on this adventure. “I would say do it during the quiet time of the year, not during the holidays. This has been a challenge for us and took longer than we thought it would. But I think it’s been brilliant for our children to see us doing this.” The results definitely show that Kate and Iain, apart from knowing what they’re talking about, hold the passion necessary to turn a house into a home.
It’s clear that others agree with this assessment, as the property was very quickly fully booked for the first few months after it became available.
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