Ship Shape: How To Create A Contemporary Coastal Retreat

In 2010, Marta Nowicka used a small inheritance to buy an unprepossessing bolthole by the sea. “It was in a terrible condition,” she recalls. “It hadn’t been touched since the 1960s, and when the last tenants moved out the entire place had been vandalized. The floorboards had been ripped up and all the copper piping had been removed. The windows were smashed, the walls graffitied, and there was rubble and rubbish everywhere.”

An experienced interior architect, Marta saw past the debris and destruction and decided to embark upon a slow, budget-conscious renovation of the unassuming end terrace at Jury’s Gap: a group of nine white coastguards’ cottages overlooking Camber Sands in southeast England.

the kitchen diner extension in marta’s coastguard’s cot 14
Above: The kitchen-diner extension in Marta’s Coastguard’s Cottage: “It’s turned the entire space from nice to perfect.” Photograph by Voytek Ketz.

Having recently completed a final—and fairly major—phase of renovation work, the once “creepy” cottage has transformed into a contemporary coastal retreat that Marta rents out via DOMstay, a succinct collection of design-led holiday rentals. Here, she shares her advice for creating a contemporary coastal retreat.

Photography by Felix Speller, except where noted.

camber sands. photograph by voytek ketz. 15
Above: Camber Sands. Photograph by Voytek Ketz.

the view of the cottage from the beach. photograph by voytek ketz. 16
Above: The view of the cottage from the beach. Photograph by Voytek Ketz.