The house itself is a beauty – not overlarge but spacious and airy, with beautiful plaster-pale walls and huge windows overlooking the lawn, the beach and the Channel beyond. No joke, no hyperbole – these windows are the kind that can change your life. They turn each of the three first-floor bedrooms as well as the entire open-plan ground-floor lounge, dining and kitchen space into a living gallery of sky and sea. Even better, they’ve been designed with sight-lines in mind: I defy you not to be wonderstruck the first time you surmount the curving staircase (its design informed by seashells) and glimpse, through the concentric rectangles of corridor, bedroom doorway and window, the mingling blues of the horizon, dotted with the tiny, dark, wetsuited forms of surfers.
Other interior amenities include a large utility room and walk-through shower that gives out onto the garden – ideal for those fresh from the beach; a dorm-style room with bunk-beds for kids or young teens; en suite bathrooms to each bedroom; a cosy den with home entertainment system; high-tech kitchen conveniences (including boiling, filtered and sparkling water taps) and a wireless Sonos system that allows you to play your choice of music throughout the house. The decor itself is minimal with a beachy, surfy twist, and while there’s nothing in the way of clutter or confusion, there is a pleasing sense of the owners’ own active, unpretentious family life, visible in the boxes of Lego and model cars in the dorm room or in various homely decorative touches. On that note, here’s a tip: take a moment during your stay to go into the rear part of the garden, behind the house, so you can look in through the rear windows. Even here, you’ll find every visual detail has been considered.
Once you’re in the garden, you’ll want to stay there. The neat, broad lawn, frequented by white-tailed rabbits and hovering kestrels, is well provided-for with seating, a barbecue and a heavenly hot tub; there’s also a trampoline for those of a bouncy persuasion (our eighteen month-old loved it). But don’t feel that it’s all about getting active. For us, the location itself was the jewel in the crown: sitting on the lawn as the sun went down, the bare, undeveloped headland sweeping away to the east, we gratefully received a salutary lesson on the restorative and ruminative potential of the sea. Having been fortunate enough to travel the world and to stay in some truly lush and luxurious places, it was a surprise to find ourselves considering the pre-eminence of this sun-doused, windshook, wave-eaten spot so much closer to home.