Words by Rebecca Hawkey
Understanding the importance of holiday home interiors with three decades worth of experience.
Cornwall is unequivocally the desired destination of choice for many, with individuals, families and friends travelling from all over the world to explore this little corner of British paradise. Nestled within our country lanes, rolling hills and wild coasts are some exceptional properties that host guests not just through the summer, but all year round. Having lived in Cornwall since the age of two, this halcyon dream vacation spot has been a top runner for as long as I can remember, and has only increased since the start of the pandemic. Whether you’re packing up the car full of bags and buggies, or relaxing on the world-famous Paddington to Penzance rail service, coming to Cornwall is always full of anticipation for a holiday to remember. Rainbow wind-breaks, melting ice cream, pints and pasties in the sunshine are amongst a few memories I know holidaymakers will take away with them when they leave. And in the background, providing a sandy safe haven after an eventful Cornish summer’s day is usually a house. An unusual occurrence where families call somewhere entirely foreign ‘home’ for a short amount of time. Some bring home comforts, some bring everything but the kitchen sink, and some bring just themselves and a sense of adventure, knowing that at the end of each day they will have a place to rest their head and dream of the day just gone.
Since 1991 Cornish Horizons have been at the helm of holiday lettings in Cornwall, with offices in Looe, Fowey, St Ives and Porthleven. Their teams across the county are experts in their field, ensuring the properties in their portfolio adhere to the highest quality, including exterior maintenance, landscape upkeep and interior design standards. All of these elements combine to ensure a happy stay for guests, as well as the likelihood of another visit. When looking for holiday accommodation I believe we all know what we look for. As soon as the overall look has drawn us in, our eyes cast over the interior with scrupulous scrutiny. Can we see ourselves, our family and friends enjoying a glass of wine at the kitchen island whilst the dinner is cooking away? Can we visualise the kids running amok around our feet? Can we see ourselves reading in the window alcove, stealing glances at the crashing waves below, or retiring to bed after a long day exploring the countryside? All of these things rely on thoughtful interior design. However, that is no easy feat.
Designing the interior of your property to appeal to such a wide audience is a nigh-on-impossible task. That said, Cornish Horizons have over three decades of experience when it comes to creating the perfect space for memory making. When speaking with Annabel Leach, Senior Property Recruiter at Cornish Horizons, we discuss what she would deem important factors in customer satisfaction. “The world of holiday homes in Cornwall is highly competitive,” she says, “but there are great rewards to be had if your property has an edge. Properties where owners invest in hot tubs, log burners or open fires can often command higher prices and increase bookings that can easily cover the costs of the initial investment and installation. Cornish Horizons also see properties with off-street parking attracting more bookings; as do those with character, privacy, and those within walking distance to community amenities like a local pub. We also know that over a third of our customers like to bring their dog with them on holiday, so this is also another important factor to consider.”
Annabel also mentions some smaller, more understated additions to help turn a house into a desirable holiday home, especially if luxury hot tubs and fire pits are unattainable. “I think the most essential style tip that applies to every property would be to not forget or underinvest in the finishing touches. These might include brightly coloured cushions, rugs, artwork, house plants, runners/throws etc, but these small additions can make a real difference to how the property is initially presented and can really help make a photo stand out when potential customers are searching.” Personally, these are the things that I remember the most from family staycations along the coast. That fluffy rug I would lie on after a long day where I could play my Gameboy before dinner, or the cushion fort we would make when it inevitably rained and therefore forced an impromptu hibernation day for the whole family. It may not sound like much, but it makes a big difference and can be achieved on a low budget with a high-end finish.
With this in mind, I ask Annabel which rooms she thinks may warrant a little more investment on the styling front, that visitors would appreciate. “The rooms which warrant a little more investment and which visitors really appreciate are the communal areas of a property,” she explains. “For example, the kitchen or lounge – where people will likely come and spend quality time together on their holiday. We find sometimes adding more ‘tech’ extras like Sonos, Netflix, sound systems, Xboxes and so on can also make a property more appealing (particularly to those with children or teenagers!).” This makes perfect sense, especially when travelling and entertaining youngsters can be tiresome. Given the stresses and strains of the past few years, I think we all deserve a little holiday, even if it is just down the coast to quaint old Cornwall, so including all of our home amenities, not forgetting the games device, isn’t a bad idea, allowing full relaxation for the whole family.
Another thing to consider, for when the Cornish weather cooperates, is outdoor space. Gathering around a log fire, or a sizzling barbeque, or playing rounders in the garden is the perfect way to end the day. Ensuring guests have as much space as possible can increase bookings, as Annabel mentions: “Properties that offer outdoor space are, again, popular with families and those with dogs, and it is important not to forget about exterior design. If it’s sunny, many guests may spend a lot of time outdoors, so it is worth thinking about how you can make the most of your outdoor oasis, be it with beautiful planters, sculptures, or landscaping features. If you have space, we also find properties with outdoor extras such as a hot tub or fire pit are popular with visitors, too.”
Whether you’re thinking about starting your holiday home renovation, need some advice on interior design, or are trying to optimise your letting income potential by utilising the skills of a specialist agency, the team at Cornish Horizons are ready to help you. With dedicated local property experts backed by a recognisable national brand (being part of Original Cottages), they can offer you the best of both worlds, from high impact marketing to local personal service and property maintenance solutions. As one of Cornwall’s leading holiday cottage agencies, with more than three decades in the business, they know, in detail, what gives properties that extra pulling power.