HOMES: HOLIDAY LIVING IN LOOE
PUBLISHED: 13:51 24 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:01 30 August 2017
Down a quiet country lane near Looe is 13 stylish converted farm buildings that combine old-world charm with the latest in architectural flair
Hidden away down a quiet country lane near Looe is a collection of 13 uber stylish converted farm buildings that combine old-world charm with the latest in architectural flair...
Once known as Kilmenot Farm – which legend had it was a plea for clemency from a medieval former owner who offered up his land to the king in return for his life – the less gothic-sounding Kilminorth Farm has become a highly sought after collection of holiday cottages.
What is known is that the farm has been around long enough to appear in the Domesday Book and have a grade II-listed farm house with buildings that may date from the 14th century. A selection of different farm buildings from hay lofts and apple stores to stables and an outhouse where the cider and scrumpy was once made have been lovingly converted with original features transformed into architectural showstoppers from deep lintels to interior exposed stoneworks and beams which give clues to the original use of the building –you can trace the original horse stalls in the former stable and now make tea in the modern kitchen housed where the quarantine stall once stood.
For owner Jayne Longrigg it’s been a labour of love to create. We bought the place in October 2010 and we opened the first five cottages in July 2011. We had done the next eight by 2012,’ she tells me with incredible enthusiasm.
Once a high flying marketing professional in London, she decided to make the move to Cornwall to be closer to her family. My mum and dad lived in Devon and have been involved in the tourism industry since 1984. My dad had given up his corporate job in London and bought a place in Devon and they had a wonderful life. They worked hard, but they were outside everyday.
I was working corporately in London and I wanted to be closer to my parents – and to do something a little bit different. When we saw this place we new it had enough to get our teeth into. I miss the spontaneity of London – and my salary,’ she laughs. But there are so many benefits.’
The farm’s outbuildings had been converted into holiday let cottages in the 1970s but very little work had been done since then. It was awful,’ Jayne remembers of the old dark rentals that featured old-fashioned fittings, carpeting and – in some cases - damp. It was very, very run down. There was no way you could come here and rent the cottages as they were we just had to shut up and do them up.’
But despite its need for a facelift, Kilminorth had proved popular with families who returned year after year. We get a lot of people who say they used to bring the kids on holiday here and they are now 25 and they have very fond memories.’
Jayne’s approach to the new interiors were simple. No chintz; no fuss; try not to clutter and keep it simple: all clean lines.’ The cottages also have under floor heating, private garden space, six have hot tubs – which are emptied and refilled after each guest.
The most recent cottage to be completed is Beech, a formerly dark living space with three bedrooms, which once had its bathroom downstairs is now reverse level with an open plan living space upstairs opening out onto a deck complete with hot tub.
Jayne chooses the décor for each cottage individually, there is no fun, she says, in bulk buying 20 sofas that are exactly the same. Although they are all designed along certain principles of simplicity, and incorporating being dog-friendly, they are far from bland. Mirrors and shelving within has been created from old wooden rafters taken from the buildings salvaged from their renovations, which Jayne admits visitors are often keen to buy and take home. The colour scheme was chosen in Beech to reflect four vibrant prints she picked up in Ikea, and she spotted the lighting which hangs from the rafters in a restaurant and asked where they had gotten it – the owner of Kilminorth is never off duty when it comes to finding the perfect interior accessory.
Some of the conversions have meant creating more space and in most Jayne identified the need to maximise natural light. Jayne converted Wharley from two one-up, one-down cottages. Inside there are stunning exposed stone walls balanced out with white washed walls to bring in natural lighting. The living space features an upcycled vintage coffee table and outside the old cider press has become a flower bed. The reuse mentality is evident throughout the grounds. Hazel fencing has been created out of the trees that grow there, and the hot tubs are filled with the local natural spring. From outside Kilminorth resembles a perfect tiny village centre – complete with old red telephone box and is set in 32 acres which includes a swimming pool and tennis court. The collection of stone buildings are pleasingly placed around a courtyard and the original uses of the buildings are remembered in the names of the cottages. The buildings reveal their history: soil dug out from around the old hayloft to reveal the ground floor can betraced on the outside stone wall.
The final project will be to convert the farmhouse into a single let for up to 16 people. This enormous house, which is thought to date back to the 14th century is a grade II-listed building and hides some incredible features – including the hull of an old ship holding up the roof, with spare wood used to make up the panelling in the living space. Less savoury elements of the building include the former pig slaughter house.
There’s no pot of gold,’ she admits. We invest everything we make back into the cottages.’