CAD Divider

How an elegant building extension was the key to creating an outstanding holiday cottage

Aug 1, 2018

By Mark Dawes, Managing Director, CAD Architects.

We were recently privileged to be involved in the extension and building alterations for Hallane Mill, a traditional stone built Cornish water mill. Hallane Mill has the distinction of being in one of the most magical locations for a coastal property that you will ever find.

Situated near Pentewan on the south coast of Cornwall, Hallane Mill sits on a pretty, sheltered inlet at the bottom of a valley, at the point where it meets the sea. It is the only property in this location. Directly in front of the cottage is a small beach which, although it has public access, attracts very few visitors due to its secluded setting. The beach is less than 20 yards from the property. This gives anyone staying at the cottage the feeling that they are lords (and ladies) of all they survey – with their very own private bay and beach. And yet, it is only a 10 minute drive from the town of St Austell.

Naturally, the owners of Hallane Mill saw that it had exceptional potential as a holiday rental. However, there were some challenges to be overcome. As well as being rather run down, the mill was too small to accommodate more than two guests in comfort, which would severely limit its market. Furthermore, the main windows were at right angles to the sea views – which is typical for the era in which it was built, where protection from the elements was far more important than pretty views!

Working closely with the owners, CAD Architects designed a building extension and recommended building alterations which combined three key concepts.

Firstly, the stonework, roof tiles and lime mortar used to build the extension were carefully sourced to closely match those of the existing external structure. Naturally, CAD Architect’s experience with contextual building design in Cornwall and with leading Heritage projects was invaluable here. The end result is that, although the cottage has been extended in length by more than 25%, at first sight you would not notice the new elements. In time, when the external stonework has weathered, the old and new sections will blend even more seamlessly.

Secondly, we installed large windows on the ‘sea facing’ end of the cottage, both upstairs and downstairs. The impact of this change is sensational. The newly expanded living area now has double aspect sea views which are really spectacular, as does the new master bedroom.

Thirdly, for the interior, we wanted to create a light, airy and clean feel, but retain as much as possible of the original character of this lovely building. We achieved a perfect combination of classic and modern features, so that guests can enjoy all the convenience of a contemporary home while also being able to sense the unique history and identity of Hallane Mill. For example, the oak ceiling beams have been painted white and combined with subtle recessed lighting to create a bright, fresh and welcoming interior. (On a practical level, the use of white walls with stone or wood flooring makes ongoing cleaning and maintenance much more efficient and cost-effective for the owners.)

You’ll find images of the new Hallane Mill here

The first three parties to stay at Hallane Mill all gave it five stars and made the following comments:

“Perfect accommodation, perfect location. The mill has been beautifully restored.”

“Fabulous. It has been restored to a very high standard.”

“My new favourite spot in Cornwall. What an amazing place. The work done to renovate the property is very impressive.”

Having only become available for rental this year, Hallane Mill is already booked for July, August and most of September and October. In peak season, it typically commands a rental price of around £400 per day. Hallane Mill is a great example of how using the services of a specialist architect for your building extensions and building alterations can create a stunning property that generates an excellent return on investment for its owners.

It is also really rewarding for the CAD Architects team to have played their part in breathing new life into another unique and beautiful part of Cornwall’s heritage.