Helen Grant welcomes us into her seaside home with hot coffee and irresistible, honeyed baklava. While she kindly makes sure that she has made everything just as the WT team like it, I nose around her kitchen. It’s made up of freestanding units and one wall is dominated by a broad, painted dresser.

Helen found the grand French doors in the dining room in a skip!

Helen found the grand French doors in the dining room in a skip!

Helen is an avid collector, and her professional eye for display is evident throughout the house

Helen is an avid collector, and her professional eye for display is evident throughout the house

A William IV mahogany chest of drawers stands to one side of the window

A William IV mahogany chest of drawers stands to one side of the window

the carved mahogany sofa came from Helen’s aunt Lucy and is upholstered in rich burgundy brocade

the carved mahogany sofa came from Helen’s aunt Lucy and is upholstered in rich burgundy brocade

the coastal light is one of the things that first attracted Helen to the house

the coastal light is one of the things that first attracted Helen to the house

The view down the staircase from the third floor

The view down the staircase from the third floor

A huge mirror in the centre of the magnificent white and gold French wardrobe reflects light back into the room. Rows of vintage china swans are lined proudly on shelving: just a small proportion of Helen’s huge collection

A huge mirror in the centre of the magnificent white and gold French wardrobe reflects light back into the room. Rows of vintage china swans are lined proudly on shelving: just a small proportion of Helen’s huge collection

Helen’s bedroom has great views of the sea and town. Helen’s bed is dressed with a hand-made ivory quilt and masses of cushions, some of which have been sewn from the same linen that Helen had used to make window panels

Helen’s bedroom has great views of the sea and town. Helen’s bed is dressed with a hand-made ivory quilt and masses of cushions, some of which have been sewn from the same linen that Helen had used to make window panels

The wall above the bed is a joyful collection of oil and watercolour paintings of flowers

The wall above the bed is a joyful collection of oil and watercolour paintings of flowers

In one corner of the bedroom, Helen has stacked four sets of small chests of drawers that she colour-coded according to her beads

In one corner of the bedroom, Helen has stacked four sets of small chests of drawers that she colour-coded according to her beads

The walls by the staircase are covered in paintings, drawings and fabric panels

The walls by the staircase are covered in paintings, drawings and fabric panels

The upstairs loo is home to some of Helen’s swan collection, this time in glass

The upstairs loo is home to some of Helen’s swan collection, this time in glass

The spare room is currently filled with fascinating curios: furniture, leather bags, wool, old newspapers, postcards and even a taxidermy cockatoo

The spare room is currently filled with fascinating curios: furniture, leather bags, wool, old newspapers, postcards and even a taxidermy cockatoo

Helen has cleverly hung eyecatchingly colourful baubles above the roll-top bath in the ground-floor bathroom to disguise the ‘scar’ across the paintwork caused by the removal of a strip light

Helen has cleverly hung eyecatchingly colourful baubles above the roll-top bath in the ground-floor bathroom to disguise the ‘scar’ across the paintwork caused by the removal of a strip light

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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