Sea Gem is aptly named and a Modernist treasure. It echoes the style of 1930s English seaside architecture but is no imitation or pastiche. The angular forms and spiral outdoor stairs, reminiscent of an ocean liner, have the elegance of art deco, but apart from the cedar timbers, the materials that it has been constructed from are very much of the 21st century. With its vast planes of glass, it looks wonderfully open and perfectly designed to absorb the unique coastal light, and yet its unusual form hints at a more complex, intriguing building within.

On the first floor at the front of the building, two walls are of floor to ceiling glass allowing an uncompromised view out to sea

On the first floor at the front of the building, two walls are of floor to ceiling glass allowing an uncompromised view out to sea

A corner of the couple’s office on the top floor

A corner of the couple’s office on the top floor

Two striped armchairs have been perfectly placed next to the windows with a telescope within reach

Two striped armchairs have been perfectly placed next to the windows with a telescope within reach

The kitchen, designed by Mounts Hill Woodcraft & Design, is sleekly efficient in appearance, with simple white cupboards and stainless steel appliances

The kitchen, designed by Mounts Hill Woodcraft & Design, is sleekly efficient in appearance, with simple white cupboards and stainless steel appliances

n the open plan dining area stands a long oak dining table surrounded by chairs covered in varying shades of blue family-friendly fabric

In the open plan dining area stands a long oak dining table surrounded by chairs covered in varying shades of blue family-friendly fabric

From the ground floor Sea Gem’s internal spiral staircase bears a striking resemblance to the cross section of a nautilus shell

The spiral staircase reflected in a mirror in the hall

From the ground floor Sea Gem’s internal spiral staircase bears a striking resemblance to the cross section of a nautilus shell

The reception room on the ground floor was intended as a games room but again, its access to the beach makes it hard to concentrate on much else...

The reception room on the ground floor was intended as a games room but again, its access to the beach makes it hard to concentrate on much else

A guest bedroom is decorated in Sea Gem’s signature nautical colours, with bold, sky blue and scarlet stripes set against pure white bedlinen. On the wall above the bed is a vividly coloured wide angle photograph of painted beach huts by Gill Copeland

A guest bedroom is decorated in Sea Gem’s signature nautical colours, with bold, sky blue and scarlet stripes set against pure white bedlinen. On the wall above the bed is a vividly coloured wide angle photograph of painted beach huts by Gill Copeland

In the other wing another guest bedroom, facing the sea, is decorated in softer shades of taupe, ecru and slate blue

In the other wing another guest bedroom, facing the sea, is decorated in softer shades of taupe, ecru and slate blue

Downstairs, a corridor leads to a twin bedroom with white sleigh beds, knitted covers and red, white and navy blue striped blinds and cushions

Downstairs, a corridor leads to a twin bedroom with white sleigh beds, knitted covers and red, white and navy blue striped blinds and cushions

The serene master bedroom features floor-to-ceiling glass and some clever curtains that are remotely controlled to run on an electric rail

The serene master bedroom features floor-to-ceiling glass and some clever curtains that are remotely controlled to run on an electric rail

he sea green bedcover and striped cushions that complement rather than compete with the colours of the waves outside

The sea green bedcover and striped cushions that complement rather than compete with the colours of the waves outside

The generously proportioned master bedroom en suite

The generously proportioned master bedroom en suite

Next door, a large circular mirror on the wall faces the beach

Next door, a large circular mirror on the wall faces the beach

Sea Gem’s garden was designed by Kent-based Jo Thompson, who has recently created an award-winning garden at Chelsea Flower Show. Curving wooden boardwalks snake through the grasses and a fire pit is surrounded by a sunken area of seating that is invisible from the beach and so offers both shelter and privacy

Sea Gem’s garden was designed by Kent-based Jo Thompson, who has recently created an award-winning garden at Chelsea Flower Show. Curving wooden boardwalks snake through the grasses and a fire pit is surrounded by a sunken area of seating that is invisible from the beach and so offers both shelter and privacy

The spiral staircase is echoed outdoors

The spiral staircase is echoed outdoors

At the far end of the garden there is a sea defence with timber uprights linked by rope made at Chatham Dockyard. The plants were chosen in association with Natural England so that they would complement the beach and dunes that are classified and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest

At the far end of the garden there is a sea defence with timber uprights linked by rope made at Chatham Dockyard. The plants were chosen in association with Natural England so that they would complement the beach and dunes that are classified and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest

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

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