June 2021 – The Guest Room & Rose Hilton 

Our guests were booked in for the beginning of June, which had seemed a long way in the future but now seems very imminent.

Daily job lists grew longer, well…. daily.

We couldn’t seem to coordinate moving forward without a major discussion, major reorganisation, or minor disagreement which leads me to what would become the guest bedroom and bathroom suite.

The vaulted ceiling space had the potential to be a fabulous bedroom after a carpet rip-out and thorough whitewash.

Shabby glamour covered the bathroom’s current state, gold taps encrusted with limescale and quite a fancy linoleum floor.

We attacked both with gusto, sometimes late into the night, wrapping anything metal in vinegar-soaked cotton pads and the sonic little cleaning brush worked overtime.

The little wall cupboard was covered with lots of old clippings, exhibition invitations, a piano tuners card and promotional flyers for shows all stapled to the slightly askew doors.

It was kind of sad and lovely.

Only 30 minutes in and already we were sitting on the floor reading through everything, this sort of thing happens in this property, we start a job with tons of energy to be stopped by a treasure that insists on being researched.

One of the clippings was a moving home card Sandra Blow had kept from her old friend Rose Hilton.

‘Dearest Sandra,

Congratulations on the new place – it is very exciting!

Love Rose x ‘

Rose Hilton was a painter trained at the royal college of art and married leading abstract artist Roger Hilton, which in itself was exciting, Roger said famously that he would be the only artist in their relationship, discouraging Rose’s artistic practices, but she achieved great recognition after he died in 1975 she took up her brushes again and came into her own. Go, Rose!!

Her post-impressionist, figurative paintings achieved huge popularity.

The card was such a lovely thing and quite poignant, but putting that to one side, it came apparent that the scuffed and faded tongue and groove bathroom walls were not going to clean up with just scrubbing alone but neither of us could face painting anything else.

I cracked first.

Whilst Will was busy recycling downstairs, I opened a pot of paint. To be fair, it wasn’t the perfect shade, a little more acidic in tone than I would’ve liked, but it was cream; it’s what I had, and I was going to use it.

Cut to Will.

Apart from the obvious, ‘I thought we weren’t going to decorate this room’ conversation, he really disliked the colour.

Muttering he took himself off to Colenso’s for a couple of litres of a better colour match, only to discover on his return that Colin had mixed an oil base eggshell instead of acrylic satin. Although wholly appropriate, took hours to dry and lots of hard work applying it, which I did stoically.

I also got Will to take the doors off that little bathroom cupboard and recycle it as a mini plant theatre to cheer up the front door. It was a perfect size!

Our tiny guests turned up, moved into the pristine bedroom and bathroom, threw wet towels on the floor, got sand in the pipes but most importantly, watched the sun go down over Porthmeor beach, and we all had a really lovely time.

If there’s one thing I’m now confident about is how those bathroom oil eggshell walls held up! In 24 hours, I need to turn it around for our new arrivals.

The bathroom cupboard

Sandra Blow’s moving in card from Rose Hilton

The guest room before

The guest bathroom before

Several whitewashes later

Plant theatre, the recycled bathroom cupboard


Dancing in the waves on Porthmeor beach, St Ives

You can read the next update here – July 2021 – Seagull and the Nest

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Vera Zappala

    Have enjoyed watching you renovate. I have visited St Ives a couple of times and your water scenes are bringing back lovely memories.
    I hope to visit St Ives again to visit friends and maybe pop into your studio for a workshop/classes (if you are still doing them). Not sure that I would be bringing my paints and canvases all the way from Australia, but you never know!
    Looking forward to reading/watching more… just finished June 2021.
    Thank you for sharing

    1. Will Kemp

      So pleased you’ve been enjoying the journey Vera, glad it back brought back some nice memories from your visits.

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