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The Great British Seaside Holiday, Living Architecture Style


When Living Architecture set out to acquire sites for houses available for rent by discerning 21st century holidaymakers, naturally we turned to the coast for likely – or unlikely – locations for leading architects to reinvent the seaside house.

The development of the ‘traditional’ British seaside holiday destination originated as recently as the late nineteenth century. The 1871 Bank Holidays act enshrined the idea of a ‘day out at the seaside’ in the popular consciousness. Workers thronged from polluted cities to take in the air at the new resorts, often formerly workaday fishing villages and ports.

50 years of seaside holidays later, and the 1920's fashion for tanned skin and wholesome outdoor pursuits reinvigorated the idea of holidaying by the shore for a new generation. The architecture that accompanied this fashion for the seaside encompassed promenades, boarding houses, wedding-cake hotels, beach huts, lidos and other familiar tropes. After a precipitous decline, there has been an unmistakeable revival in the fortunes of our seaside towns. The key difference for travellers today compared to their forebears is that they seek out boutique hotels or private houses equipped to at least the same standard as their own design-conscious homes, instead of boarding houses or crumbling captain’s cottages.

Our two seaside homes – Shingle House in Dungeness, Kent and Suffolk’s Dune House, offer contemporary interpretations of the modern coastal residence. Whilst Thorpeness and Aldeburgh have never truly fallen out of favour since their Edwardian heyday, Dungeness’ wild shore and desert landscape have only more recently drawn larger numbers of visitors to this stretch of coastline, nestled in the shadow of a nuclear power station.

Although only separated by a stretch of coastline, the exposed Dungeness landscape feels closer to the elements than the more genteel stretch between the Edwardian holiday village at Thorpeness and Aldeburgh, home to Dune House. On fine days, windows and doors at Shingle House can be opened to the salty air, but the day-to-day blustery winds are more likely to encourage retreat to one of the house’s many nooks and corners, there to enjoy the elements from a distance. At Dune House, the ground level wraparound glazing invites guests to move seamlessly between the beach outside and the welcoming interior. The carefully considered interiors in both houses invite guests to relish the chance to look out at the view, and appreciate not only the experience of staying by the sea but also the pleasures of a well-designed house.

Modern vacationers enjoy holidays year-round, embracing the pleasures sea-gazing and beachcombing and spray-drenched forays outside in every season. Instead of praying for sun during one’s annual week-long seaside break, today’s visitors seek out the solace of the shoreline no matter the weather. Winter walks with the dog, family gettogethers or a weekday escape in search of inspiration from the ever-changing sea – these are arguably all the more enjoyable when the weather is inclement, especially if the accommodation is welcoming and warm.

Book Dune House (sleeps 9) and Shingle House (sleeps 8) for mid week and long weekend holidays in 2019 now.

The Great British Seaside Holiday, Living Architecture StyleThe Great British Seaside Holiday, Living Architecture StyleThe Great British Seaside Holiday, Living Architecture Style
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