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Exquisite expertise

Combining the quaint heritage of an old farm building with the contemporary style of a five-star holiday rental, Iroka has truly left its mark at Boskensoe Barns.

Words by Rosie Cattrell

Heralding back to ancient Egyptian days, when interior design was manifested in simple textiles, animal skins, murals, sculptures and painted urns, we’ve long harboured a desire to make the spaces around us beautiful. While styles, materials and technology has unfolded over the years, the fact remains the same; interior design in the hands of an expert can mean the difference between a roof over your head, and a space that emanates safety, comfort, contentment, and even joy.

Having designed and furnished some of the most exciting projects in the south west since 2006, iroka’s reputation precedes it. With an impressive portfolio under its arm, and a team of experts in everything from interior design, kitchen and flooring design, and even window dressing, it comes as no surprise that the team was top of the list when Mark and Bridget Tomlinson – business partners and owners of Boskensoe Barns – were looking to convert their collection of farm buildings into luxury holiday retreats, as Mark explains: “We had been existing customers of iroka, probably for well over 15 years, as the interiors team have always had a style we very much liked. We were chatting with Luke one day and mentioned that we were about to start working on some barn conversions. He suggested we let him have a look and the rest is history.” Located on a working farm in the idyllic countryside village of Mawnan Smith, and surrounded by fields and Cornish country, Boskensoe Barns is made up of five enchanting barn conversions, each one a perfect picture of peace and quiet amidst the calm, contemporary interiors that have transformed the spaces at the hands of iroka. “We were commissioned by Boskensoe Barns to turn these gorgeous old farm buildings into five-star holiday rentals,” explains iroka’s Managing Director, Luke Weller, “and that is exactly what we did! The Stable, Long House, The Pig House and The Mill were all converted from abandoned farm buildings into luxury spaces, just made for relaxing. We wanted to preserve the heritage of the buildings while adding a modern and contemporary look to each barn. Exposed beams are in keeping with the rustic feel of the farm, while the Scandinavian inspired interiors add a modern and luxury touch.”

“For our first four lets (Mill House, Long House, The Stable, Pig House), Luke originally helped us with tweaking the architectural layout of the property,” says Mark. “This was all we were going to do with iroka at first, but we then became interested in a more ‘designed’ interior style for our barns and used iroka’s team to help come up with a full design, as well as oversee manufacture and installation of designed items like the kitchens and bespoke wardrobes, as well as wall panels and lighting. They helped with the decision making and could visualise the flow of the design a lot more naturally than if we had been trying to do it ourselves on top of our day job! They were happy for us to say if we didn’t like something or if we had our own suggestions, so it did end up feeling like a collaboration rather than having just handed the project over entirely.” Bringing together a classic Cornish country history with a carefully narrated interior unique to the expert eye of iroka, these first four conversions laid the foundations for something really special. Five years after the completion of these four charming conversions, and ready to convert barn number five, Mark and Bridget would return to iroka again for help with the completion of what would be the jewel in the Boskensoe Barn collection; The Granary. “For The Granary,” Mark reflects, “the process was handled more entirely by iroka. We did still have our own input, but were a lot happier (and busier than we had been five years earlier) to just let the iroka team go through the process.”

Originally our ideas would have been very middle of the road, slightly contemporary but quite basic,” Mark admits, looking back on the collaboration. “When iroka started to become involved with the first four barns, our ideas quickly changed and we knew we had to get a lot more interested, a lot sooner. We became aware that we needed to aim higher in the market to make the business a success. At times we questioned this, but now looking at our letting figures we are glad we went the extra mile. When developing The Granary, we knew from the outset that we needed to exceed the design quality of the original barns; iroka managed that and more.”

From a beautiful timber staircase and feature slat walls, to integrated bespoke carpentry, carefully considered fixtures, fittings and subtle details throughout the property, there is nothing mundane about The Granary, and indeed, any of the Boskensoe Barns. Designed in-house, the custom kitchen and utility features a matt black longline handle, contrasting wonderfully against a light, driftwood-style slab door, while integrated LED strip lighting illuminates a full-height Caesarstone splash back and worktop with streaks of grey vein, finished with draining grooves. The cabinetry, produced by German manufacturers AGKU, was installed by their dedicated, specially selected and highly skilled trades and craftsmen, and possesses the sort of quality that iroka is proud to incorporate.

The cosy living room is the essence of Hygge, a defining characteristic of Danish culture which draws on the feeling of comfortable conviviality that brings with it a feeling of calm contentment. One particular highlight of the room is the wood burning stove feature wall, designed by the iroka team and thoroughly thought out, incorporating Bridget’s idea for a slate split-face tile chimney breast, slate hearth, bespoke oak shelving, lined log store, modern inset wood burning stove and finished with a handless, stone-top storage unit and accent slatted wall panelling. Hues of deep forest green and stone grey brings a settling calm over the room in promotion of relaxation and calm contemplation in the cosiest of rooms.

Tones of rich greens and earthy rust notes layered with textures of matt cotton velvets and linens bring a restful, calm feeling into the bedrooms, very much in keeping with the farm setting. Light wood furniture fitted and installed by the in-house delivery team complement the stunning A-frame beams that crown the master bedroom, while handmade curtains and roman blinds dress the windows throughout the property in neutral, simplistic fabrics, hung by iroka’s in-store specialist. Let’s not forget the striking contemporary bathrooms, adorned with rich, dark herringbone tiles against the statement oval-shaped freestanding bath, while the contrasting brushed brassware finishes off the look with a high-end finish, and the over-sized walk-in shower provides a luxurious addition amidst the neutral base of the light grey porcelain stone tiles. When it comes to the finest details that find home in The Granary, not to mention the rest of the Boskensoe Barns collection, I think it is fair to say that no element has been overlooked by the keen eye of iroka. From the floors and doors to the handles and hinges, every piece of furniture finds purpose in its rightful place in this wonderful space, just waiting for the next visitors to make a home here for a weekend, a week or an extended indulgence.

“All of our barns are five-star rated,” Bridget concludes, with a well-earned pride shining through in her voice, “which is certainly reflected in the interiors; clean lined, relaxing, clutter free, user friendly, contemporary and stylish, with designer and bespoke fixtures and fittings, all whilst still being warm, homely and comfortable. They are great as a base for travelling and exploring Cornwall, or for hiding away and enjoying the luxury of Boskensoe Barns. The Granary is all of that, but with an added WOW factor. Classy and elegant with top class fixtures and fittings, being more private and yet still dog and child friendly.” Touched by the hand of iroka, The Granary is the cherry on top of the stunning collection of holiday properties that is Boskensoe Barns.


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