A Sligo cottage is transformed into a cool and cosy surfers' haven

Still one of our favourite homes ever, the easy-breezy interiors of Sligo's Shells Cafe owners, shot in 2014, have proved timeless.


Jane and Myles Lamberth of Shells Cafe in surfers' paradise Strandhill, on the rugged Sligo coastline, fell in love with Cedar Rose, their modern and airy 1920s cottage, pretty much at first sight. Though it was damp, run down and the object of the worst survey report ever written, the couple knew they had something special on their hands.

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Having to start from scratch to rebuild the house was almost a blessing in disguise as it allowed Jane and Myles to both keep the house's vintage original features, and easily apply their personal style to what is now an exceptionally roomy and bright two-bedroom cottage.

The sprawling living space spanning from the front to the back of the house is brought together by the impressive polished cement floors, a strong feature of the industrial look the couple favour in terms of style. "As well as preserving what we could of the original cottage, we were both really into industrial style and knew that would play a strong part in the design," Jane says.

The massive windows are designed to maximise light and take advantage of the amazing mountain and sea views, but the house maintains a classic seaside cottage appeal, thanks to the muted and natural tones used throughout, the exposed stone, beams and joists, the small wood burner and an old fireplace they discovered in the hall.

The collection of assorted seating around the large dining table includes family hand-me-downs and flea-market finds, while the bentwood chairs were salvaged from a local school in Dublin. "Our dining table, which is made out of the wood from an old basketball-court floor, is more than eight feet long, so everyone is welcome," says Jane.

The overall feel of the house sums up their lives on the Sligo coast where they run a busy cafe, surf and enjoy the outdoor life. Reclaimed wood has been used throughout the house: for the chunky, open kitchen shelves, some of the flooring and even on walls. "We built the house for the way we live. The open-plan design allows for this brilliantly. We put in an outdoor shower, which is amazing in summer," Jane says.

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The outside of the house is as impressive as the inside, with a garden filled with tall marine grasses similar to those on the beach and dunes, which completes the laid-back holiday feel their home exudes.

Interview by Ben Webb, photographs by Mike Searle


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