When it comes to finding the best place for a beach holiday in the South West, Kirstie Allsopp's stylish Devon home pretty much nails it..
You'd expect Kirstie Allsopp's holiday house to be pretty close to perfect and, of course, it is. Meadowgate was a battered old farmhouse a short, winding hobble from Welcome Mouth Bay in North Devon and it had stood empty for 38 years before Kirstie swooped in and turned it into a Channel 4 makeover show.
The house itself, as you can see, is no showstopper but true to form Kirstie knew the value of its extraordinary location, less than half a mile from a beautiful, little known beach reached through picturesque National Trust woods.
For her show Homemade House Kirstie furnished the whole pad on a shoestring budget scouring junk shops and salvage yards to find such gems as the kitchen dresser, vintage roll top bath and antique furniture throughout. She also met up with local craftspeople to relearn old-fashioned home-making skills and the house is a shrine to hand-made - cushions, curtains, handblown vases
It's pretty cool though, countrified without being too Cath Kidston, vintage without being too grannyish. And it's uplifting seeing a house looking so individual and stylish without resorting to loadsamoney designer everything which starts to look a bit uniform after a while.
Aside from the phenomenal location, why this house really works is because it's been made over with large family holidays in mind. It sleeps 14 - - five double bedrooms (all great though there may be some undignified squabbling over the master bedroom which has a rolltop bath), a twin room and a double bunk room - perfect for two or three famillies sharing. There's a games room too and a good sized garden and the interior, dare we say, looks like it can take a bit of tough living unlike some manicured holiday houses where you're almost too frightened to breathe. There's even a second sitting room for kids - surely every house should have one?
The kitchen is a large, practical living space with an aga at one end and a big dining table at the other. There are Kirstie's touches everywhere - the gold WOW lettering, the huge dresser and tons of mismatched vintage china.
Love the bathrooms, baths and basins picked up from salvage yards, antique mirrors and furniture giving the rooms a kind of laidback 30s vibe. Got to say only Kirstie could get away with primrose yellow bathware ( maybe don't try this at home).
The bedrooms are all luxurious - perhaps a tad granny for our taste with the vintage plates on the wall and sagey colours but in a holiday house, it works. And the beds are all Vi-Sprung, which are possibly the most comfortable mattresses in the world. We say if it's good enough for the Hotel du Vin....
Rainy days are no problem with this games room, we envisage adults elbowing kids out of the way..
Welcombe Mouth cove is a stunning beach set between two cliffs in an area of outstanding national beauty. What's more it's right off the beaten track so you won't be bothered by the tourist hordes - book off season and you won't see a soul.
You're just a few miles from Bude here with its stellar surfing. Book the kids in for lessons at the The Big Blue Surf School and park up at Life's A Beach cafe on Summerleaze Beach afterwards for a serious seafood lunch. Mostly though we think you'll just want to hang at Kirstie's pad.....
Meadowgate is available for hire through Classic Cottages