JILL STEIN REVEALS HER NEW-LOOK PADSTOW HOME

PUBLISHED: 11:07 04 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:04 30 August 2017

JISTE001

JISTE001

Andreas von Einsiedel

Cornwall's celebrity chef Rick Stein's ex wife reveals the new look family home in Padstow

Jill Stein reveals how the family home she moved into with celeb chef (now ex) husband Rick and brought up their three sons has been given a makeover by the talented designer.

These days, Padstow and celeb chef Rick Stein are virtually synonymous, but twenty years ago when Rick and his wife Jill bought one of the loveliest period houses on Cornwall’s north coast, he was a relatively unknown restaurateur. Although many houses in the locality are holiday homes, the Stein’s house was a full-on family home where the couple’s three sons grew up with the beach pretty much on their doorstep. The first Stein restaurant opened in the picturesque fishing port back in 1975, and the future looked bright for the hard-working couple. Whilst Rick was in charge of the kitchen, Jill masterminded the front of house design.

Some 12 years ago, following the much publicised break-up of the Stein’s thirty year marriage, Jill decided it was time to make more changes around the house.

“Neither of us had any professional training but I felt that for a restaurant to be successful, the ambiance had to be as interesting as the food, if not more so. ” says Jill. “During those early years we both learnt on the job and whilst I tended to think I wasn’t ever good enough, gradually my confidence grew, largely thanks to the positive feedback from our customers.”

When the mid- 19th century house came on the market, Jill was first in line to view it. “It was a gem and ticked all the boxes as far as I was concerned. It was tucked away in the middle of a good-sized garden, the main rooms were light and well proportioned and there was a spacious lower ground floor which would make a great play area for the boys as well as provide utility and storage space. Best of all though, was that we had a view of the sea from our bedroom window.”

The fine sash windows and high ceilings in the front 1850s half of the house, are contrasted by the modest proportions of the north-facing wing, which dates from at least a century earlier. “We call the original part the cottage’ for obvious reasons,” says Jill. “Built in local stone to house farm-workers, it was a cramped, dark, two up two down with a staircase in the middle. The first thing I did was take out the staircase and walls downstairs and that space became the kitchen and dining area.”

A later project was the replacement of the dilapidated conservatory.

“I know Cornwall is quite a long haul from London but out of three conservatory companies I contacted, only Marston & Langinger offered to make a site visit. I liked their plans and was immediately impressed by the attention to details such as matching the glazing bars to those of the house. I’ve been very happy with the result which I think of as being more of a garden room than a conservatory.”

Some 12 years ago, following the much publicised break-up of the Stein’s thirty year marriage, Jill decided it was time to make more changes around the house.

“It started with the dining area. I realised that if the cottage part was extended at right angles, not only would I have a larger dining area but I’d get more light into the kitchen which is really quite dark.”

The extension is open to the rafters with glass doors running the length of the room. On fine days the doors fold back to reveal the new Mediterranean style garden, which Jill had planted with help from her sister Mary Newstead, a London-based landscape designer.

'Once Rick and I had split up, I only had myself to please so I knocked down a wall to make one spacious bathroom where previously there had been two. The bath is positioned so I can lie back and see the sea.'

“The garden on the other side of the house is quite formal but I wanted something different and more contemporary here. I love the sound of water so I incorporated a modern cascade into the design as well and also illuminated the pine tree which towers dramatically over the garden.” An additional feature is the sheltered deck complete with open-air fireplace. “It’s never really warm enough in England to sit out after dark but having the fire has changed all that. It’s absolutely magical being out here at night, star-gazing without shivering.”

Thrilled with her new kitchen and dining room, Jill decided to keep the builders on and undertake a comprehensive remodelling of the main bedroom and bathroom upstairs. “Once Rick and I had split up, I only had myself to please so I knocked down a wall to make one spacious bathroom where previously there had been two. The bath is positioned so I can lie back and see the sea and a wall of cupboards for clothes and makeup runs the length of the room. The adjoining bedroom is smaller because of the increased storage space in the bathroom, but that doesn’t bother me. The main thing is I wake up to a view of the Atlantic.

Despite having separated over 10 years ago, the Steins maintain a close working relationship. “Our three sons were an excellent reason to stay on friendly terms.,” says Jill. “However, I never had any intention of walking away from the company having worked so hard over the years to make it a success. It happens so often with couples – their business thrives but the relationship is neglected. Anyway, we’ve learnt to work together again and once you let go of the emotional connection, it does get a lot easier,” she says smoothly.

Jill’s life continues to be busy; as well as devising the interior design schemes for the Stein restaurants and guest bedrooms, Jill is the moving force behind the Stein Shop which opened in Padstow eight years ago. Packed with a stylish mix of clothes, furniture, jewellery and decorative accessories, it reflects Jill’s chilled out approach to life. “I still love that hippy chick look – both in the way I dress and the rooms I design so while the merchandise is always changing, the theme is generally easy, relaxed living allied with good design.”

Just like home…….

Latest Articles

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Read

It's Christmas

South West Attractions

A+ Education

Great British Holidays

Pure Weddings E-edition