Charlotte, Nordpeis S-31A, Harbour Lights

If you watch Poldark, you’ll recognise the rustic cliffs surrounding model-turned-property developer Charlotte Thomson’s ‘Loo with a View’.

Charlotte Thomson, Cornwall
Charlotte Thomson's Product
December 1, 2016

Bought for £115,000 at auction and renovated from an old WC into a rustic, earthy two bed luxury holiday home, ‘Harbour Lights’ channels the organic shapes and white washed scenery that frame it, bringing the Cornish landscape right through its front doors.

Tell us a bit about how the project started…

My partner Joey has always been involved with property in some form or another… He actually qualified as an Aerospace Engineer but it didn’t fulfil his passion of working for himself, and putting his stamp on something.

I often get dragged along to derelict water towers, tin mines, coastguard huts, and other unusual buildings that come up for sale – hence why we ended up buying a toilet at auction!

The guide price was £75-£90k, and we had agreed between us to go not a penny more than £95,000. However, I got a bit carried away and told Joey to just ‘do what it takes’ – I wanted that toilet!!!

Q. Were you always keen to have a wood burner in the property?

Joey and I absolutely love wood burners; there is nothing more cosy and homely than a crackling fire. It was an absolute must that we had a wood burner, especially with the property being so close to the sea, it’s so romantic!

Q. Why did you pick the Nordpeis stove in the end?

We didn’t realise how many different styles, sizes, shapes and colours there were on the market! We contacted a few local companies and decided to use Allen Valley The Fire Place for the purchase and installation, as they were so professional, knowledgeable and lovely to deal with.

Dean, the local rep from Stovax came to the property when it was still a shell, so it was hard to imagine what it would look like! Due to the shape and size of the building, and the contemporary/industrial feel downstairs, we were instantly drawn to the Nordpeis stove – and we wanted to keep it in the rustic concrete finish rather than painting it.

It had a real designer feel to it, which perfectly suited Harbour lights without it being too contemporary, and the superior quality was apparent as soon as it arrived. It took 2 or 3 men to carry each section, so it had obviously been made well!

We were also very keen to make the property as eco-friendly as possible, hence why the heating, lighting, and insulation are of the highest energy efficiency rating and wanted the stove to be no exception to this. We chose the Nordpeis S-31A not just on its looks, but also its remarkable clean burning. We knew that burning wood for fuel would be carbon neutral but we wanted to make sure the stove produced minimal smoke and was one of the most eco-friendly wood burners out there – in keeping with our environmentally friendly Cornish retreat.

It looks fabulous now, and is a real ‘wow’ piece in the room. I love the shiny stainless steel flue too, it’s definitely one of my favourite items in the house!

Q. You’ve got quite Scandinavian feel to the design of the house – why did you choose that style?

We really wanted to use some reclaimed wood as feature walls, so I suppose the rest of the furnishings and finishes adapted from that. We have re-used and recycled a lot of aspects of the property, including the driftwood banister which washed up on Charlestown beach and the ancient timber cladding adorning the walls of the lounge. We needed to keep the furniture light and airy, quite minimalistic and reflective, because the wood on the walls is rather dark. I love my glitter and crystals though so upstairs is a bit more ‘girly’ and luxurious; fluffy sparkly carpets, feather and crystal lampshades, etc!

Q. What have people said about the design of the house? Do they notice the wood burner?

We have had so many amazing comments about the house – every single person that has seen it has fallen in love with it, especially after seeing the transformation on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces!

At first people don’t realise it’s a wood burner, as it’s not obvious (unless it’s lit of course!) but it’s one of those pieces that makes you walk over to have a look. It’s fair to say not many people have seen anything like it, especially in Cornwall.

Our guests tell us they love staying here – that it’s so romantic and a wonderful getaway from the busyness of everyday life. With the stove and seaside views – it’s a cosy retreat in the colder months and wonderfully relaxed in the warmer ones.

Q. What’s your plan for the future – do you have any more projects on the go? And do you think you’ll use more wood burners in your other projects?

We have decided to keep the house and rent it out as a luxury holiday let now, as it’s so luxurious and romantic… We couldn’t bear to part with it! With regards to what’s next – Joey and I love a project; the grubbier and dilapidated the better! We’re already working on a few more buys, and they will ALL have wood burners in, that’s for sure! So watch this space!

The unique luxury retreat ‘Harbour Lights’ is available for holiday rentals and weekends away. Get more information here >


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btaylorfaiers#home #livingroom #armchair #skimmingstone #farrowandball

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Shropshire Stoves
Sarah Beeny talks about her experience with Stovax stoves

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