Television presenter Carol Smillie’s beautiful beach house is up for sale.
Nine years have passed since Carol Smillie’s final appearance on the BBC’s Changing Rooms series but she has only just achieved her own makeover ambition – transforming part of her Scottish beach house into the dream room she always wanted.
“I craved a white space to relax in. Now I’ve created it in an upstairs bedroom,” she says, referring to a converted 19th-century house in rural Ayrshire, which her family has used as a holiday retreat since buying it in 1999.
“The room used to be an old sail loft, so the floorboards and walls were different dark colours where the sails had been left and rotted. But I’ve given it a bleached beachy feel with white floors and white walls. It’s become my place to chill,” says the presenter.
The irony is that Carol, along with her restaurateur husband Alex Knight and their three children aged 12 to 17, are now selling the home. “We bought it as a place for the kids to enjoy old-fashioned growing up – playing on the beach, having the wind in their hair, not sitting in front of a computer. Now they’re the age when they’d rather go to parties,” she admits.
The property was built in the 1870s as a lifeguard station, but has been modernised by the couple, who added a bedroom and bathroom. It has four bedrooms in all plus a large open-plan ground-floor living area and a wide decking area overlooking the beach.
Its unusual location – in private grounds near the village of Maidens, two miles from the famous Turnberry golf course on the south west coast of Scotland – is the main reason why the family bought it.
Carol says: “We sat outside when it was for sale thinking of reasons we shouldn’t buy it. We told ourselves the beach would fill up with noisy tourists and it didn’t. We said the house would be damp and it wasn’t. So we took the plunge as it’s been a huge part of our lives ever since.”
The Smillies have visited once a month for the past 13 years and have held regular New Year’s Day parties for families and friends who flocked there for views of the Irish Sea and the Isle of Arran.
“It’s the perfect spot for getting away from it all. The property’s been simple to keep up – we’ve never had a cleaner – and the location has kept its basic old-fashioned quality. There’s no fish and chip shop, no amusement arcade, just the beach and the sea.”
There is history, too. Carol was once stopped by a local woman whose father had made a catamaran in the lounge of the house back in the Sixties. “We invited her father to see the house as it is now and he presented me with a charming video they’d made using cine film of the catamaran being made and launched. It’s a real community like that,” she says.
Carol has no regrets about leaving Changing Rooms, famous for two-day makeovers with a tight £500 budget. The programme, which ran for eight years, was considered one of Britain’s first reality TV shows and gave the public their initial glimpse of interior design gurus Linda Barker, Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson, as well as Cockney carpenter “Handy Andy” Kane. The format was sold to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
“The old phrase ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ is what made the show a success. Everyone likes to see the latest design for their home, especially if they are shown how to achieve it without huge expense,” says Carol. Her role as host involved coaxing the prima donna designers to stick to their budgets and deadlines.
“We’re all pretty nosy when it comes to wanting to know what other peoples’ homes are like. We judge people by seeing where and how they live. That’s one reason why Changing Rooms was such a success and is still remembered today,” she says.
The family is now concentrating on Alex’s restaurant business – he has three eateries in St Andrews and one in Stirling – with another completely new business venture being announced in the autumn.
Carol and Alex are not going to replace The Beach House with another retreat. They already have a detached Victorian house in Glasgow and a modern holiday home on the Algarve in Portugal “where there’s at least some guaranteed sun”, she says.
They admit to having mixed emotions about leaving the property, but Carol says it is time to move on. “It’s the end of an era, whether we like it or not. The house needs to be loved by another family, just as it’s been loved by ours.”
The Beach House is on sale for offers over £395,000 through Knight Frank, 0131 222 9600, knightfrank.com and CKD Galbraith, 01292 268181, ckdgalbraith.co.uk. Furnishings are also for sale by separate arrangement.
Original Article Can Be Found Here.