Home Improvement: Reviving a seaside classic home in Aldeburgh

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project - Credit: Archant

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside … so when the opportunity arose for Sara and Toby Newton to snap up a sea view at Gorse Hill in Aldeburgh they grabbed it with both hands.

Gorse Hill Aldeburgh project

Gorse Hill Aldeburgh project - Credit: Archant

But how did they make the dated property their own? Ellen Widdup took a peek inside.

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project - Credit: Archant

The Arts and Crafts property ticked every box: beautiful garden, bags of space, sea view, contemporary feel and just minutes from the beach.

Gorse Hill Aldeburgh project

Gorse Hill Aldeburgh project - Credit: Archant

But the seven-bedroom house did lack something – the couple’s personal touch and vision. So with the help of interior designer Hugh Jamieson, of At Home Interiors, they set about creating something special.

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project - Credit: Archant

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project

Gorse Hill, Aldeburgh project - Credit: Archant

Making it home

No new house is perfect. It is the job of the occupant to create their ideal space.

Sara and Toby had a vision for Gorse Hill and were not willing to compromise to create a space that worked on every level.

Most Read

But for them it was the kitchen that was pivotal.

“We love this part of the country, particularly the coastline,” Sara said. “So when we saw this place, we knew it would be perfect for all the family to use, as and when they wanted.”

“When we bought the property it was in a good state of repair, but a little dated. Also, we wanted to reconfigure a couple of the spaces to make them more user friendly, like the pokey kitchen that needed to incorporate an eat-in diner, which meant requesting planning permission.

“We decided to remove a dividing wall in the kitchen to open it up in to a single large room with a breakfast area at one end, a large island with Flos pendant lights in the middle and the Aga with bespoke tile design above at the other end.”

After some head scratching Hugh and the couple cracked the kitchen conundrum and were even able to add some ingenious and practical storage solutions.

Getting it right

It was not just the kitchen where the couple were keen to swing the wrecking ball. They also decided to remove a wall upstairs to give the house a better sense of proportion.

“It meant sacrificing another room but, as a result, we now have a lovely big master bedroom with a double-aspect en-suite,” Sara said.

Renovation in the bathroom meant a significant amount of new pipe work – but Hugh had an idea: “Raise the floor, hide the pipes and then you’ll be able to see the North Sea from your bath tub.”

Sara added: “We are now able to lie in the Lavasca bath and look at the sea.

“We then turned the existing small bathroom into a walk-in wardrobe, which is absolutely wonderful and feels like a real luxury.”

Sara and Toby also needed to obtain planning permission for a row of French windows they installed along the back of the house but the couple now enjoy almost uninterrupted views of the garden from the kitchen, dining room and conservatory.

Beautiful on the inside

Once the major structural changes had been made, the couple turned their attention to the interior décor.

Sara said: “Although the house is on the coast, we felt it was too big for a seaside theme to run throughout.

“Thanks to the renovations, the kitchen and bedroom were now lovely and light, but for the rest of the house we were keen to retain its arts and crafts character.

“Most of the work involved restoring the woodwork, panelling and original doors, which meant some heavy-duty cleaning and French polishing, but it was well worth all the effort in the end. Additions we made to the house included rewiring, heating, and hearths.”

Also on the ground floor, there is a cosy snug and a beautiful conservatory with Marine furniture, which can be used indoors or out, and Flos wall lighting.

In the master bedroom there is a hidden television set in the bespoke bed frame. The dark wood bedside tables are from Julian Chichester and the bedside lamps from Porta Romana. All the curtains were made to order by At Home Interiors.

In the sitting room all the window frames were left unpainted after being restored. A bespoke writing desk was designed and made to fit a corner of this room which boasted stunning original architrave and mouldings.

When it came to colour schemes Hugh went for showpiece – and the couple loved it.

He said: “They went along with pretty much everything I suggested – they really were the perfect clients.

“One idea was to use the dramatic Zoffany fabric in the dining room. I had seen this some time before and completely fell in love with it, but stored the idea away in my memory bank to use another time – this dining room was perfect for it.”

The finished product?

The house was completed last year and everyone is delighted with the end result.

Hugh said: “Their initial excitement with the house was hardly surprising – it sits majestically with beautifully manicured gardens.

“It boasts a large piece of land with an outdoor swimming pool and pool house, stunning views to the sea and even its own private path to the beach.”

Sara added: “We love it here – the style of the property, the fabulous views, the location, everything. And I can honestly say that were we to start again from scratch, we wouldn’t do anything differently.”

See more home improvement ideas here