I’m sure we’ve all thought about buying a house by the sea – perhaps after an idyllic holiday, or a bracing walk, even just a drive along the coast. On the morning we visit James Rourke’s house, as the sullen sky washes grey sea onto grey shingle in a biting wind, I’m feeling poetic, but slightly less enthusiastic about coastal living. Until that is, I step inside this unassuming looking holiday property. And – suddenly – it’s as if the sun has come out. We walk in through the light filled ‘sun’ room straight onto the soft (actually bouncy) pale carpet of the living room and immediately feel cheered by the light and colour reverberating off the white walls and around this authentically sixties and very stylish space.

James has stencilled a number onto each door of the uncluttered kitchen. Dotted here and there, James has created discreet little flotsam fish sculptures, made from things he’s found on the beach

James has stencilled a number onto each door of the uncluttered kitchen

The colour scheme is a wonderfully simple one, with white walls and accent colours limited to three shades: a sunny yellow and two shades of blue

The colour scheme is a wonderfully simple one, with white walls and accent colours limited to three shades: a sunny yellow and two shades of blue

Dotted here and there, James has created discreet little flotsam fish sculptures, made from things he’s found on the beach

Dotted here and there, James has created discreet little flotsam fish sculptures, made from things he’s found on the beach

James has worked the house’s new interior around many of the original 60s features. “It’s such a different style for me,” he says, “and it took me right out of my comfort zone, finding things for this house.”

James has worked the house’s new interior around many of the original 60s features. “It’s such a different style for me,” he says, “and it took me right out of my comfort zone, finding things for this house.”

Throughout the house, retro furniture has been seamlessly blended with contemporary finds and unusual items that James has discovered on his travels, including an optician’s sight test.

Throughout the house, retro furniture has been seamlessly blended with contemporary finds and unusual items that James has discovered on his travels, including an optician’s sight test

I think James is an interiors magician. He smiles at this and admits that he does have a background in art, and has spent many years in the antiques business

I think James is an interiors magician. He smiles at this and admits that he does have a background in art, and has spent many years in the antiques business

James has retained the original buttermilk-yellow bathroom suite, which is in immaculate condition

James has retained the original buttermilk-yellow bathroom suite, which is in immaculate condition

The use of bold and sizeable reclaimed signs is a recurrent theme in each room

The use of bold and sizeable reclaimed signs is a recurrent theme in each room

An old fairground sign from France forms a bedstead in the master bedroom

An old fairground sign from France forms a bedstead in the master bedroom

Furniture has been carefully chosen to fit in with the eclectic mix of old and new including this repro Eames chair and 1970s dressing table which was a charity shop find

Furniture has been carefully chosen to fit in with the eclectic mix of old and new including this repro Eames chair and 1970s dressing table which was a charity shop find

In the second upstairs bedroom, a broken piece of an old bed has been transformed into a stylish pair of headboards

In the second upstairs bedroom, a broken piece of an old bed has been transformed into a stylish pair of headboards

Headboards double as handy bookshelves

Headboards double as handy bookshelves

A third bedroom is nestled on the ground floor. James has once again employed his creative skills to make painted wooden headboards onto which he has mounted upholstered squares. A trio of framed album covers are mounted onto one wall

A third bedroom is nestled on the ground floor. James has once again employed his creative skills to make painted wooden headboards onto which he has mounted upholstered squares

A trio of framed album covers are mounted onto one wall

A trio of framed album covers are mounted onto one wall

Yellow accents begin in the entrance to the property in the form of an origami-style Flux plastic chair

Yellow accents begin in the entrance to the property in the form of an origami-style Flux plastic chair

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

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