Norfolk home: Pretty nautical cottage in Cromer
PUBLISHED: 10:42 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:42 20 August 2019
It's a special place which has given a family real quality time
As regular readers will know one of my favourite places in Norfolk is Cromer. So I was delighted to get an invitation from Emily and Gavin Smiley to visit them at their new holiday home there.
Location, as always, is paramount and here is a very special spot. Situated in a period building positioned on the Gangway, with commanding views over the sea, beach, fishing boats and coast, this is a gem.
The Gangway is the road down which fishermen take their boats to head out to sea and it is a very historic road. The Smileys' story is also interesting, as they arrived here by chance.
People often choose holiday homes in a place they visited as children, or in subsequent years, before deciding that the location is their all-time favourite. However not in this case.
Gavin from Cambridgeshire, and Emily, from Newmarket, run Smiley Carpentry and Building from home. "We always wanted to own a holiday home, to spend quality time with the children, Jude, Isabella and Eden," says Emily.
"We have been coming to Norfolk for years as we love it so much and it is not too long a journey from home. The area we like is the coast between Winterton and Horsey, especially seal watching.
"So when the time came that's the area we looked in. We found a property and proceeded, but just before completion a pipe burst, which negated the purchase. So I started searching immediately online and in the Eastern Daily Press property pages.
"Interestingly, I always wanted a three storey town-house and Gavin a seaside house with coastal views, which is exactly what we found," she says. "As soon as we arrived at the house, and saw inside, I began grinning."
"I said 'As we have never been to Cromer in our lives, perhaps we should explore,'" says Gavin. "Which we did and, after looking around at the great variety of independent shops, then the beach, we ended up at the Pavilion cafe/bar at the end of the pier. After quarter of an hour we were convinced this was hopefully to be our new holiday home, so rang through an offer immediately. As soon as it was ours, I lived here for two months, getting the house ready. There were lots of walls with old wallpaper and the decor was very dated. So it was at case of taking it back to the original."
"Something that attracted us immediately to Seaforth, [the house's name], says Emily, "are the period features. The fantastic bay windows, with those stunning views, the old wooden floorboards in most rooms, and the period fireplace in the living room, all of which we have preserved.
"When it came to the decor, I started searching online, while Gavin was here doing the renovation work. I wanted a seaside theme, a fresh feel, with blues and greys and a pastel, neutral palette.
"With the furniture and accessories I was looking for smart contemporary, stylish, but definitely not a cheesy seaside feel. I did, however, give way to my love of hearts, as you can see in a couple of the bedrooms. As items arrived at home, I almost ran out of room, ending up with my kitchen almost full as well."
I ask Gavin and Emily, now they have settled in, what they are enjoying about Cromer. "Well, naturally, a pub in both directions," says Gavin, laughing. "But seriously, the whole town is great. The people are all so friendly and helpful. Besides things already mentioned, the pier, beach and sea, we have a excellent cinema and the children love going to the zoo. We all enjoy walking our dogs, Blu, a Staffie, and Phoebe, a Lhasa Apso, along the cliff path to Overstrand and back."
"Gavin and I prefer the guest bedroom on the second floor, as the views are even better there and the biggest delight is going to bed and waking up to the sounds of the sea on the beach below, it's so romantic," says Emily.
"We still enjoy a day out to Horsey and Winterton to see the seals, which originally brought us to Norfolk.
"Our biggest happiness and surprise," says Emily, " is how much our time with the children is truly quality time. Running our business at home is very 24/7.
"They are involved with their friends and social media, but here in Cromer, its far more a traditional lifestyle. We talk more and it's a good family vibe, a real family home.
"Walks with the dogs, fun on the beach lots of interactive time together. We're a family unit enjoying family time, a proper holiday home that we always dreamed of, in such a great place."
Seaforth is available for holiday lets. Contact: Norfolk Cottages, norfolkcottages.co.uk 01263 715799
Owners: Gavin and Emily Smiley and children: Jude 13, Isabella 10 and Eden 7
Property: Victorian three storey house
Moved in: 2018
Professions: Gavin and Emily are partners and owners of Smiley Carpentry
Favourite room: The top floor bedroom. The view is stunning, looking out and you can hear the sounds of the sea.
Favourite item: The oars on the landing.
Favourite interiors shop: Several: Here in Cromer, The Garden House Gallery.
Favourite local shop: The Farm Shop in Tucker Street, for produce.
Favourite part of the county: Here in Cromer; there's no where else like it.
Favourite day out: Horsey Beach to see the seals.
Favourite waste of time: Just looking out to the sea.
Favourite walk: From here up along the coastal path, past the lighthouse, across the golf course and beyond
Favourite pub: The Red Lion around the corner, with a table overlooking the beach.
Favourite restaurant: The Garden Street Grill, Cromer.
Favourite cafe: The Rocket House. The children love it.
Hobbies: Gavin: snowboarding. Emily: interior design and interiors magazines.
Most magical moment in the county: On the beach at Winterton, after seeing the seals, knowing then we had to move to the sea.