Whitsand Bay, Cornwall

Contract value: £106k

Completed: 2014

Whitsand Bay in south east Cornwall runs from Rame Head in the east to Portwrinkle in the west.  It’s sheer, high cliffs, dramatic scenery and long stretches of sandy beaches have attracted holidaymakers since the early twentieth century when an ad hoc settlement of chalets began to colonise the cliffs.  Many of the original wooden buildings have now reached the end of their natural life, and today their owners are keen to upgrade for improved thermal performance and more spacious accommodation.

The bay itself lies within the South East Caradon Area of Great Landscape Value, an Area of Great Historic Value, and a Cornwall Nature Conservation Site.  To protect the area from over-development the local authority have imposed strict planning controls to which all replacement chalet proposals must adhere, including height restrictions a limitation of +10% of floor area for extended or replacement buildings.

Having stayed in another replacement chalet designed by McCaren Architecture in 2005, our clients purchased a run-down property a short distance away with a view to commissioning their own new chalet on the site.  The design drew heavily on that of the 2005 project, but was tailored to our clients’ taste and their slightly smaller plot.
The project involved the replacement of the existing 2-bedroom chalet and its external bathroom, with a new 2-bedroom chalet with bathroom, and open-plan kitchen / living / dining area.  By careful negotiation with the local authority McCaren Architecture managed to obtain concessions which allowed for increased headroom within the new chalet.

Extensive glazing makes the most of the site’s magnificent views and a minimal, white-painted interior enhances the sense of internal space.  Our clients, one of whom is an artist, chose fittings and furniture whose simplicity complements the modest aesthetic of the chalet itself.  Storage was built-in in benches and under beds to keep clutter out of sight.  Externally the chalet is clad in western red cedar which will weather naturally to a muted grey.  A hardwood deck extends the living space from inside to outside making full use of the depth of the plot.