A Vintage Filled 1930's Coastal Cottage

A shabby cottage on a sandy beach went from a weekend bolthole to a successful holiday let for one business-minded couple.

A family trip to Camber Sands turned out to be about much more than just building sand castles for Rebecca and Mark Partridge and their three young boys, as they instantly fell in love with the area and decided to put down roots. However, it was Mark who saw the business potential in the property that they found to buy, just a stone’s throw from the beach, and he convinced Rebecca that they should let it out as a holiday home.

Rebecca says: “We bought the property after falling in love with the area. I persuaded Mark to buy it, but he said it had to be as a business investment rather than entirely as our second home. We make the most of our time here when it’s not being let, but it’s proving popular with families as a great place to stay at weekends, during the summer and at Christmas.”

Rebecca has worked hard to make the 1930s coastal cottage welcoming and comfortable for anyone wishing to rent it, a mission that has been aided by her other business venture back home in Brighton. Along with business partner Jess Bird, Rebecca runs Nest, a company specialising in vintage children’s furniture.

Her love for all things vintage is apparent throughout the Camber Sands property, as Rebecca who is mum to Tom, Charlie and Rufus, explains: “There is quite a lot of vintage furniture in the house. When I’m out sourcing new products it’s one for me, one for the house and one for the business.”

Now called Sandways, the cottage comfortably sleeps up to 11 people, with three double bedrooms, a children’s bedroom with bunk beds and a further sofa bed in the living room. Outside there is a large decking area and a fabulous garden, complete with donkeys braying in the field that backs on to it. The clean white space is practical yet homely and a far cry from how Rebecca remembers it when they bought it. She says: “It was revolting. I just remember it all being brown, with UPVC windows and just absolutely tasteless.

“We used to come here every weekend to work on it. I thought Mark would never want to come and stay again and that he’d hate it forever but he loves it now.”

Rebecca and Mark restored the entire property, re-wiring, re-plumbing and re-cladding along the way. “The en-suite bathroom was just like a little folly, it wasn’t even built-in, just the framework was there,” remembers Rebecca.

With the hard work complete, Sandways is the perfect base for families looking to make the most of what Camber Sands and its mile after mile of sandy beach has to offer.

“When it’s not being let out we just love spending time here as a family,” concludes Rebecca. “We can invite friends to stay now, whereas at first no-one wanted to come because we’d make them do a job!”

For more information about renting Sandways visit www.cambersandscottage.co.uk.

For more information on Rebecca’s vintage shop visit www.kidsnest.co.uk

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Heart Home mag.

Photographs: Simon Eldon.  Words: Kelly Lavender.