October 2021 – Building the Garden of Compromise

The Tate cafe sits high on the top floor overlooking the yellow ochre-covered rooftops, crooked chimneys and dotted here and there little green garden sanctuaries. If you turn your head to the left, Porthmeor beach stretches out as far as you can see, and now the Summer season is over, St Ives seems even more beautiful.

Meandering along the dusty little old lanes and rediscovering our favourite coffee shops has become the new highlight of the week. We manage to resist carrot cake most of the time, aware we are temporarily squashing any renovation financial anxiety with a short-lived sugar high.

But the annexe is really taking shape now.

The entire front has been pulled off, and the door and window spacing has been framed out, ready for the new powder-coated aluminium ones to go in. It took multiple redesigns to get this to feel balanced from the inside and out, and we’ve chosen a soft putty colour to complement the existing studio cladding.

The Courtyard has become a real multifunctional all-around walkway between the buildings, a communal meeting place under the early sun where Will discusses the day ahead with Luke (I join a little later post beauty regime and first coffee) and the most valuable asset in St Ives, multiple parking spaces.

Unfortunately, I have ideas of grandeur for a Sorolla-style garden, tiled steps, palm trees and copious pot plants after our visit to Hospital De La Venerables in Seville in 2018.

It becomes apparent early on everyone is on a slightly different page with the design. We mark it out, walk it through and move the perimeters. Sleep on it, rework it and consult with Ric, Wills’s dad, on the Sunday phone home until we’ve got a workable plan.

It’s been a real challenge to try and squeeze in an area of raised seating, space for planting and an accessible entrance to the annexe without compromising anything else.

I went down to Margaret, the baker in town, for backup buns only to discover she was retiring at the end of October. No more Saffron bakes as a support network; Will was devastated.

We had a couple of late holidaying guests towards the end of the month; spending time together and taking a week off planning gave us much-needed perspective.

The garden area we’ve set aside is going to be ample. I can squeeze in a few tiles on the steps. The cars will have enough space; I just haven’t broached the subject of the expensive decking yet.

Sitting in the Tate Cafe, veiw from the top

Front off ready to be boarded out for the windows and dooors

Final sketches for placement

Old School plug planning, scissors, pen and sticky tape


Inspiration from Hospital De La Venerables, Seville

Will sketching the courtyard at Hospital De La Venerables, Seville

Temporary sprayed out terrace footprint


Raised terrace and steps first sketches

You can read the next update here – November 2021 – Is it 95 or over?

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