COTE DE TEXAS

A TRIP IN TIME IN CORNWALL

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“A TRIP IN TIME IN CORNWALL”

When you think of Cornwall, you probably think of the Duchess of Cornwall or Camilla, Prince Charles’ wife.  He is the Prince of Wales, but his second title is the Duke of Cornwall, and Camilla was given her title upon their marriage.

 

The Duchess of Cornwall at her London home, Clarence House.

   The royal couple visit Cornwall each summer, staying at the beautiful Restormel Manor.

 

  Restormel Manor

 

 

You can actually rent it yourself – if you have enough people in your party that is, it's rather large.  But, there are other options on the same property – through rentals via the Duchy of Cornwall.

 

  Restormel Manor was re-designed by the Duchess of Cornwall's sister, Annabel Elliot.  Isn't this beautiful!??!

 

  The dining room at Restormel.  I wrote about this rental HERE.

But not all vacation rentals in Cornwall are this fancy.        

Which brings me to our topic today.   I saw an ad on the Country Living UK website for a tiny cottage for sale in Cornwall.  I thought it would make a perfect Instagram post, short and sweet.  But, the more I looked into it, its history was too much for just a short and sweet post.

              

Of course!

      

The more I researched it, I noticed the cottage's ad was actually everywhere.  All the magazines were showing the sales brochure and even newspapers were running the ad.  The amount of press this 540 sq. ft. cottage garnered seemed a bit of an overkill. 

 

I mean, the cottage was very cute and all, but pricey.

 

 

  

It turned out this cottage is one of the most popular ones in all of Cornwall.  There is rarely a week that goes by when it is not rented and it is this rental history which makes buying the beach hut more of a business investment than a holiday adventure.   And at 1.75 million pounds, that’s a lot of cash for just 540 sq. ft. 

   A little history:

   Cornwall is located at the southern peninsula of England 

 

         Land’s End – the left tip of the southern coast.

     

A seaport at Mevagissey off the Eastern coast and the English Channel

 

Cornwall is home of the ancient Celtic land – and it is the home of the Cornish people.  It’s known for its high cliffs and sandy beaches and the most warm and sunny climates in all of the UK.   The peninsula is partly located on the English Channel and on the opposite side, the windy Atlantic Ocean.  The south peninsula is known as the Cornish Riviera, its beaches and seaport attract vacationers.    The internal land is moors and meadows and while tourism is its biggest industry today, it once was mining.

Another industry is the arts – books, poetry, song, and film.

When I think of Cornwall, I think of Daphne du Maurier who lived most of her life there and her novel Rebecca was also set on its coast,  although Alfred Hitchcock filmed it in California.

More recently two shows are closely associated with Cornwall, the period drama Poldark and the comedy Doc Martin.

The windy Atlantic Ocean side of the peninsula where the Beach Hut, as it is known, is located.

Besides buying the tiny cottage, the new owner will get beach frontage and ownership of 40 acres which includes 1.4 miles of linear coastline, above.

Which is why this tiny cottage costs over 1.75 million pounds.  You could always build a gorgeous house on the land and use the cottage as just a rental.

 

Here is the first glimpse of the tiny cottage, the Beach Hut.  It was built in the 1920s as a tearoom for those traveling in the area, walking down from the cliffs into the Millook Haven valley. 

 

 

   On the map, the tiny cottage is just south of Bude.

 

Here is the view looking towards the north.  The tiny cottage is right on the edge of this beach.

  

        

          And looking south, in the distance towards Spain and Africa.

    

 

   

The Beach Hut as seen from the back.

  

Not surprisingly, the current owners of the cute hut are in the “biz” – having both worked in the advertising and film industries.  The Beach Hut is used for photoshoots, TV commercials and for film locations.   It’s also a popular stop for surfing champions.

  

  

 

Photo By Smalljim - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2999287

The cliffs, seen above,  right next to the cottage at Millook Haven are famous for their chevron folds.  No, that is NOT chevron wood flooring!  It’s amazing isn’t it???  The Geological Society of London voted these cliffs as one of Britain’s top 10 geological sites, noted for its folding and faulting.  People come from all over the world to view these cliffs, which may be just the reason why the tearoom was originally built here on this very beach in the 1920s!!  

  

 

 

 The Beach Hut, freshly painted.

 

    The romantic approach to the Beach Hut is through a wooden gate on a shell drive covered by overgrown bush.

  

 

  This side door leads into the kitchen next to the original stone chimney.  And, next to the chimney is the lean-to bathroom, a green tiled wet-room.

 

 

It could not be anymore romantic, could it?

  

      

 

The front porch becomes an extra room.  Love that curvy feminine bench!

 

The surf is said to be some of the finest in Europe and this beach is very popular with professional surfers. 

Besides swimming, you can walk south on the beach three miles to Widemouth where they serve fish and chips on the sand.  

   The cottage is one room with an open kitchen and a wet room bath.  

 

 

On one side is the living/sleeping area - with the kitchen on the other side.   Notice all the green accents, the lamp, the plates and glasses, the pendant light, the throw.

The wood floors are wide planked and the walls are – wait for it – Joanna & Chip Gaines original and authentic approved shiplap!

 

 

Even the nightstand is shiplap!

 

 

I LOVE this view of the open concept kitchen with the butcher block counters and Smeg refrigerator!!  Notice the paintings of the tiny cottage’s beach above the window.  To the far right is the original fireplace.   This door leads out to the side of the cottage.

LOVE!

 

 

 

Small but adequate dining area with terracotta floors.  Notice more green decorative elements.  The color green is repeated throughout including in the bathroom!

The original stone fireplace.  Love the door!

It all comes down to styling!

This door in the kitchen leads to the wet room, the bathroom located in the lean-to.

 

The entire bathroom is a shower, all tiled.  Myself I need shower doors because of the chill.   The small window looks at towards the back of the hut.

Another view of the wet room, styled with flowers.

Next to the Beach Hut is a surf shack and boat house.

 

I suppose if you are truly adventurous you could climb to the top of the cliff.  I’ll just sit back and watch you.

 

Photo by:  ID 57749094   © Helen Hotson | Dreamstime.com

 

The blue surf shack is half hidden in the front yard hill.

  And while we all love to travel, we love interior design even more!   I adore the way the current owners decorated this tiny cottage.  But would you like to see how it was previously decorated too?

Of course you do!!!!

   

 

 

BEFORE:   Previous owners had a hot pink sofa and gilded mirror.  I like the punch of color but prefer the more monochromatic look used today.

The beach hut is used for many photoshoots so it’s possible these changes were brought in for a commercial.

 

 

  BEFORE:  I never say no to a gilded mirror, do you?  But, here it does seem a bit overdone. 

 

BEFORE:  There is no full size white Smeg, instead it’s a mini red fridge.  Still cute but the white looks better.

Let’s go even further back in time, shall we????

     

EVEN FURTHER BEFORE:  Over ten years ago, the porch was much more rustic and was missing that curvy, sexy bench!!!

Remember?

TODAY:    Ahhh, much better.

EVEN FURTHER BEFORE:  The trim around the windows was stained brown – it is now all painted white.  Mission styled furniture for a rustic beach hut?  Not a great choice.   And notice how the terracotta tiles is a border for the wood planks.  Strange?

EVEN FURTHER BEFORE:  Brown wooden shades at the window.  Today, there are white wood shutters.

EVEN FURTHER BEFORE:  The yellow based lamps add nothing to the décor.  Terrible pillows.  But, look how gorgeous that wood floor is!!!!!  I think if I owned this, I would turn the bed the other direction, along the wall – more like a day bed.

 

BEFORE:   Later, the windows frames were painted white and curtains and striped shades were added.  This is better that the brown wood trim, but it was still improved upon with the current décor:

TODAY:   Much, much better!  Kudos to the current owners.   Notice the white wood shutters.  And while I do like the hot pink sofa, a leather couch is much better for a rental.  Even slipcovers can be tricky with guests.  You’d have to wash them every week.  I love the way the art work is displayed – it adds so much interest to the white shiplap walls.

 

EVEN FURTHER BEFORE:  The kitchen recently got a big renovation.  This is actually a cute non-kitchen kitchen, but the décor shows how it could be so much better.  Through the door is the wet room.

 

 

 

EVEN FURTHER BEFORE.   No styling at all.   All the extinguishers look terrible.  Can’t they hide those?  LOL.

EVEN FURTHER BEFORE:  Today there is a cute table with French inspired legs.  This antique version is way too heavy for a rustic beach cottage.

TODAY:   With its new butcher block countertops and green accents, along with a lighter table and chairs, the kitchen looks so much more attractive and pleasing.  The white Smeg certainly helps.    And with all the crisp white paint, I bet you didn’t even notice the brown shades were left at these windows.  Did you!?!   OK, OK, I didn’t notice that myself!!!!

   TODAY:   The water matches all the green accents inside.

Does the Beach Hut look vaguely familiar to you?

   

If so, you probably saw the 2006 Demi Moore movie, Half Light, a dark and moody thriller about a successful author escaping the drowning of her young son while writing a new novel in a charming cottage in the Scottish Highlands.

As Hollywood is always about smoke and mirrors, the movie was mostly shot in Wales which substituted for Scotland.  But, the charming beach cottage that Demi rents lies in….

Cornwall.

 

As you might guess – Demi’s charming cottage is our infamous Beach Hut. 

Like Something’s Gotta Give, Demi’s cottage rental was the star of the movie, along with a spooky lighthouse, and years later, devotees of Half Light remember that cottage - longing for one of their own.

Well…now fans can buy it – for a cool 1.75 million pounds!

But as we noted before, Hollywood being Hollywood – the beach hut is not exactly the same as what is in the movie.

Let’s see if you can spot the differences:

Here is Demi’s Beach Hut:

Here is the cottage as seen in Half Life.  Notice the deck and stairs that lead down to the beach and boat dock.   And notice at the left of the house is an additional room that juts out from the kitchen!

Here’s the cottage in real life:

 

There in no boat dock, no stairs that lead down to the ocean and the deck ends at the side of the house.  Plus, on the left off the kitchen there is no other room!!!

 

 

The movie’s production team actually built onto the house, doubling it in size, and once the movie was over, they torn it all down again.  I’ve heard of production teams redecorating with new wallpaper and building false walls for a movie – but I’ve never seen a house added on to and then torn down!!!

MOVIE HOUSE:   You can see the production team added on an entire back side to the house to create a bedroom.   Also – notice in the ocean there is an island with a lighthouse!  That is totally fake.  There is no island and there is no lighthouse.  Somehow the production team created it to show up on the movie screen.

In the movie the lighthouse is a large part of the plot and Demi/Rachel takes a tiny motorboat into the ocean and goes to “research” the lighthouse.

Sure.  Her tiny boat would have capsized in those mighty Atlantic Ocean winds.  In fact, the movie was filmed in September and it wasn’t the cold or the rain that was the issue – it was the wind.  You can see it in every scene – how strong the wind is.

Here is the addition highlighted in red.  All that was added onto to the house for the movie – then taken down.   In the ocean, the entire island and lighthouse was superimposed onto the film.

Compare to the actual house:

TODAY:  This is how the beach hut looks normally – no rooms off the kitchen.   And, off the back by the fireplace – the only addition is the small bathroom lean-to.

BEFORE:   For the movie – notice the new side door and blue window which was added on by the kitchen.  Also – a bedroom was added on to the house at the left of the fireplace!!

BEFORE:  Here’s a view of the house and the crew!  You might notice Ashton Kutcher there with Demi in the red coat.  They weren’t married at the this time and the paparazzi were keen to get photos of them together.  Demi brought a few of her daughters to England, including her youngest Tallulah who played with the young actor portraying Demi/Rachel’s haunted son.

Look closely at the back of the house by the side door – you can see the faux wall coming apart probably from the wind.  Notice how on the faux door – there are shingles on its roof.  There is no time that this door was seen in the movie, but they spent a fortune getting it ready screen ready, just in case.  And notice also – there is a faux sky light by the bathroom!!!!

 

BEFORE:   A shot of the new deck and the added on bedroom – taken at night.

Another view from the movie – of the deck and stairs and new boat dock.  The faux bedroom is lit up in this photo.

I drew out the floor plan.  In black is the cottage.  In red is what they added on for the movie.

Doesn’t it seem excessive??   Why not rent another cottage with a bedroom?  It wasn’t a huge movie to begin with. BUT, it did star Demi Moore who was coming off a three year hiatus.

I rewatched the movie about five times while I was grabbing the screenshots for this story and I have to say, it is a pretty decent movie. I had seen it when it came out and I distinctly remembered loving the cottage.  Watching now, I was struck at how subtle an actress Demi is.  She does not overact or emote.  She is a natural on the screen.  She is so beautiful, so feminine, it makes me sad to think she never really had much respect as an actress.  I guess the producers expected this movie to bring in the big bucks like Ghost or Indecent Proposal.  One huge flaw though is her costar/love interest.  He is just awful!!!!  Terribly cast!  There is no way you can believe Demi/Rachel would fall in love with this clown!!!  Yuck!   LOL. 

From the movie – the new rails and the new lighthouse island.

 

Today, how the front porch really looks with the curvy bench.  Notice there are no railings at the front of the porch and only one rail at the side.

The new wrap around deck and stairs that lead down to the beach.  All the deck was added then just torn down.    The deck actually seems like a nice addition that the owners should have kept! 

What really started to drive me a bit crazy was – I started to wonder, did the film crew REALLY add on all those rooms onto the beach hut, making it twice its true size?  It seemed such a large job when they could have just rented a bigger cottage.  So,  I started to search for a photo of the hut taken before 2004 when the movie was filmed.  If I could find a picture of the hut before 2004 it would show that either the hut was once larger or that the film crew had actually expanded the house.

I spent days looking for photo proof that the house was never larger before the movie!!!  Only me!!!!

As luck would have it after searching for a few days, I did find a photo of the beach hut taken a few months before filming Half Light started.  And here it is – without the added bedroom and bath.  So…it’s proof that the production team did build onto the hut making it twice its size.   Look how dark it is here.

I actually found two photos.  This was taken just a month or two before filming.

And here it was in 2005, just one year after filming, very wind worn and in need of TLC.

And a year or two later, it was freshly painted.

And…LOOK!
This is what perseverance brings.  Or what being burdened with a crazy curiosity means.   Look what I found:

 

 

Here, in a photo taken in 1915 – there is no beach hut.  This was taken before it was even built.

And here it is!  A photo taken in 1920 of the original beach hut when it was a tea room for weary travelers.  You can see the words TEA HOUSE painted on its roof.  The cabin looks exactly the same today except for the dark paint.  Missing is the bathroom lean-to although there is a smaller privy in the same space.

And here, another photo of the beach hut from 1920, over 100 years ago,  with the same TEA HOUSE painted on this side of the roof.  It all looks remarkedly the same – the drive, the buildings, the beach…

Here is the same exact view of the beach hut with the road leading up into the cliffs.  A 100 years later – everything is the same, including the neighboring houses.  Amazing!!!

The décor inside the beach hut for the movie is really cute.  No wonder fans of the movie remember the cottage with the same fondness as the fans of Something’s Gotta Give:

While in real life, the cottage is filled with green accents – in the movie, it is decorated with blue accents.

Since a bedroom was added to the cottage, the living room has room for a sofa and a wood bench, along with a beautiful black corner cabinet which is the focal point in the room.

Blue accents everywhere – from the embroidered café curtains to the vases, lamps, window panes outside, and even the picture frames are in blue.

I love the painted white wood bench.

Blue pillows on the sofa.

The cabinet even has blue and white transferware in it.

In the movie, the kitchen as on the back window wall OR was it like that always????    There’s an Aga!  And a farm sink – two items that the current cottage does not have but should!!!

The table is a cute antique, even cuter than what is in the cottage today.  In fact, I happen to like this movie décor better than the current décor!!

The production team even added a vent to the Aga and notched the shelf to accommodate the pipe.  Was this really faked?  It makes me believe this was the real kitchen at one time.  Even the stone counters look real and aged – or is that Hollywood magic?? 

Demi/Rachel takes the wrap around hall back to the bedroom.  She passes the faux bathroom where the walls are tiled! and the tub is a clawfoot version!  Even the light switch on the wall is authentic.

In the bedroom with the antique pine armoire and bed, you can see the skylight the production team added to the hallway.  They also added shiplap walls to match the other rooms in the cottage.

In the bedroom, the curtain fabric looks so familiar to me.  In the distance, you can see the light beaming from the faux lighthouse.

The hallway leads back to the kitchen.  In the corner is a table and lamp.

The hallway leading back to the kitchen.

  

And this explains why they added the side door and room off the kitchen – it’s the hallway that leads from the bedroom back to the front part of the house.    This door is the actual side door to the outside.  You can see the kitchen’s fireplace at the very right.  The production team added the blue and white dishes – more blue accents.

 

    Which décor do you prefer?  The movie version with the antique corner cabinet and blue accents….

Or the one room living area with the kitchen dividing the spaces with all the green accents?????

Myself?  I like the movie décor!!  Either way though, it’s an attractive vacation spot and whomever buys the property is very very lucky!

 

                

                       

The cottage today, painted the light color.

The Beach Hut is already sale pending.

To see its real estate portfolio, go

HERE.

If you do want to visit Cornwall and rent your own cottage, there are several good rental companies.   Don’t bother with Air BnB – there are much better options such as Unique Home Stays and the National Trust.  AND if you want to stay where Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall vacation – then check out the Duchy of Cornwall Vacation Rentals HERE.

My favorite, The National, has so many great options.  Their rentals are like real homes, decorated just like the houses in Country Living UK magazine.  It’s amazing how wonderful their cottages are – we don’t have anything like this in America!  It’s fun to peruse their catalogue of rentals – even just to dream of a visit.

 Here are a few of the cutest ones to rent:

  

The first pick is located off the Helford River.  Called Wood Cottage, it was once a tiny apple store. 

           

Now, it’s a National Trust rental in Cornwall – for two.

Have you always wanted to live in a thatched roof cottage?  Well, at least for a week or two???

Now is your chance!!!

Is that Snow White eating at the picnic table???  Hmmm, maybe not.  She doesn’t look like Snow White!!!

   

  Cozy open concept living in yellows and oranges. 

As usual with National Trust property – it always looks right out of Country Living UK.

             

 

Even the window hardware is cute!!!  Love the short curtains.

  

The kitchen is small but it has everything you would need.

Darling bedroom. 

HERE

    

   

Next up is Carolina Cellar, right off the coast.

       

 

    

      

 

This cottage is built of Cornish stone!

Another cozy cottage that just sleeps 2.   Love the fireplace!

Black flag floors and gate leg dining table.

Beautiful wood windows.  I love how no expense is spared when redoing these cabins.

Black backsplash matches the floor.  Love how the blue looks against the black.

   

  

Carolina Cellar rental is HERE

And I picked just one last rental to look at today:

  

Lacombe Cottage is the oldest cottage in the area.

It is located in the Port Quin area – in Cornwall.

Inside, it is soothing in aquas and yellows.  It is the simplest touches that make is attractive – the small, antique table, the striped rug, the sconces, the white stucco walls, the scalloped detail over the shelves!

  

 

Another view.   This cottage sleeps three instead of just two.

The bench has another scalloped detail.  Farm sink and wood knobs.

  

More antiques, the pine chest and vanity mirror, brass and iron bed.

 

Lacombe Cottage is HERE.

 

Now that the pandemic is almost over and most people are vaccinated, tourism is finally opening up again!!!

I wonder if the new owners of the Beach Hut will also rent it out?

I hope you have enjoyed this story – told in hopes that the world will soon be enjoying life again, traveling, and just being with friends and family.