By Hebe Hatton
For anyone who has spent time on Porthmeor, the iconic beach that frames St Ives, you will probably recognize this candy-hued cottage that rises up from the sand. It's the perfect spot to lean your back against, (whether it be to shelter from the wind or feel the warmth of the sunset) and take in the sweeping coastline. So it's not surprising the interiors of this rustic pink cob house are equally blissfully as its inviting exterior.
Rustic and authentic, Alba Beach House stays true to its Cornish Fisherman roots. Each room is filled with weathered wood, nautical decor, and beautiful soft neutrals. Minus the luxury bed linen, brand new Range master hob, and electric lighting, this cottage could have remained untouched since it was built in the 1800s. It's no however a luxury holiday cottage – the perfect seaside bolthole at any time of year.
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Wanting to retain as much of the original cottage as possible, the cottage still boasts a lot of its founding features. The floorboards for example are the original, over 200 years old and the window boards were made from the wood of old recovered ships – the perfect nod to the property's pirate past.
While the kitchen may look like it's stood here since 1840, it's a relatively new addition. Made from a mix of reclaimed wood and antique finds it's filled with texture and intrigue. The cabinets still have tea stains on them, a reminder of their past lives and cracks vain the antique shutters that have been upcycled into doors.
The more contemporary open shelving, filled with a mix of vintage finds and cookware gives the room a more modern rustic vibe. And the sleek bar stools add to that stylish contrast of old and new.
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The kitchen opens out into an open-plan living space with beautiful views out over the beach and ocean beyond. In here the 200-year-old floorboards have been given a new lease of life and painted in dusky teal, almost exactly the same shade as the sea the overlooks. The shade only enhances the light in this space – that light you get when you are right on the water.
There's a subtle nautical vibe throughout the whole home, but it's felt most strongly in this space. Cork floats adorn the walls, pieces of old ships are turned into statement decor and barnacle-clad pottery sits with more interesting treasures.
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The cozy living room sits adjacent to the dining space, and yet the layout makes the two areas feel like two separate rooms. The very calming neutral scheme continues with slubby beige sofas, a large area rug, and floor-to-ceiling warm-hued linen curtains. Natural textures are added too with the rattan side table and antique wooden trunk.
There are some very subtle ocean-inspired pieces too – the rope and fish hook that holds up the minimalist globe ceiling lamp, the glass buoys used as decor, and the carved figurehead used as wall decor.
There's a smaller snug too on the second floor. The quaint little windows also look out over the beach, filling the room with a wonderful pinkish, cozy glow as the sunsets. The deep window ledges make for the perfect spot to watch the waves.
The soothing neutral palette continues from the snug and into the next-door master bedroom. Layers of soft textures make this a calming and inviting space and on every wall, there's an interesting print or artwork or object that all reflect the cottage's nautical past.
Beautiful ocean-inspired displays have been curated in each room. In the master bedroom, tinker trays are layered with fishing tackle and artwork that was original to the house.
A jack and jill bathroom joins the two largest bedrooms.
The second bedroom boasts its own freestanding bath, perfectly positioned to make the most of the view of the sea. There's an old ship's bell conveniently placed next to the tub. A nautical nod but also a handy way to get a drinks top-up.
The wooden beaded chandelier in the third guest bedroom instantly gives this room more of a contemporary, boho feel. As does the crinkled pink linen and carved wooden side table.
The fourth bedroom is a double and feels extra cozy with all the layers of soft bedlinen and the sloping ceiling. A vintage sea-inspired print hangs on the main wall and above the chest of drawers is a display of old net once used for rock pooling.
The main bathroom uses the same rustic materials as the kitchen. A mix of reclaimed wood and textured white ceramic tiles. The original floorboards add even more texture to the room and there are plenty of nautical references in here too.
The balcony, which overhangs the beach was a later addition to the house, added in the 1960s. But while it may not be original, there's no denying it provides the perfect spot for a morning coffee or an evening sundowner.
Alba Beach House is available to rent through Unique Homestays.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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