Written by Lucy Studley.
Elaine Skinner of Hops & Camellias is a BIID (British Institute of Interior Design) certified Interior Designer, with a multitude of design, self-build and travel magazine covers to her name. She’s worked on some of the highest profile private homes and commercial properties in Cornwall, lending her exacting eye to many stunning interiors in dream locations.
Elaine’s studio-based practice in Truro is first port-of-call for design consultancy in the Duchy, especially for the lucky owners of those ultra-luxurious holiday properties we all covet on Instagram. Elaine explains: “We are immersed in a stunning natural playground here in Cornwall, and the Cornish lifestyle is the envy of many. As a designer I’m always striving to emulate that, taking inspiration from my surroundings whilst delivering the highest standards of quality and longevity.”
Elaine has shared some of those sources of inspiration with The Maverick Guide; from the most Instagrammable hotel rooms to the most stylish restaurant tables, here is her designer’s guide to Cornwall.
The best places to stay for the design enthusiast
I love the Pig Hotels and I’ll be one of the first through the door when the new Pig at Harlyn Bay opens. I’m a fan of that slightly eccentric English style, with a rich abundance of textures and artful objects for the eye to fall on.
It’s not in Cornwall but I also absolutely adore Hotel Endsleigh on Dartmoor; the interiors are the epitome of English elegance and a few nights here is a rejuvenating experience. My favourite room is Room 5 with its beautiful hand-painted wallpaper and original roll-top bath; bliss! I go a few times a year for complete respite, and I always return with a renewed creative focus.
We’ve been lucky enough to work on some incredible holiday properties in Cornwall. One of my favourite is Vincis at Portreath, which enjoys a stunning location overlooking the sea. Our brief was to help furnish this super-luxe beach house, curating an interior full of interest and comfort without detracting from the epic views. I could very happily spend a few days at Vincis, which is let through Boutique Retreats; unlike many I wouldn’t go in the summer, but during storm-watching season instead!
The best restaurant tables for your Instagram feed
I love the St Tudy Inn. Emily Scott has a great eye for interiors as well as being a fabulous chef! The interior design perfectly complements the food in its simple, pared-back elegance.
The café at The Duchy of Cornwall Nursery in Lostwithiel is an Instagram-addicts dream! With a combination of contemporary décor and colourful, wholesome food – not to mention that huge collection of plant life – it’s a great place for design inspiration to take root.
Hooked On The Rocks in Falmouth is also a wonderful place to enjoy both great food and great design. We helped remodel the interior to make the most of the views and provide an intimate, special dining experience overlooking Swanpool Beach.
A designer’s sources of inspiration
Again, it’s across the border in Dartmoor, but I do enjoy walking in the Hound Tor area. I love that juxtaposition of the sense of vastness you have out on the moor, before plunging down into deep valleys of thick woodland. A lot of design is about balancing the need for a sense of space and connection with the outdoors, with the desire to feel enclosed and protected, so traversing these landscapes is a good way for me to reconnect in-between projects.
Cornwall has many fabulous galleries – both small private galleries and public institutions – which I duck into whenever I have time. Far and Wild in Perranporth has a great selection of paintings, ceramics and jewellery, and Lemon Street Gallery in Truro is somewhere I often send clients looking to purchase art for their homes.
The Naum Gabo exhibition currently at Tate St Ives (finishes 3rd May 2020) is really interesting as a retrospective of an artist obsessed with exploring form, space and rhythm – for anyone interested in architecture and design I highly recommend a visit.
Tremenheere Sculpture Garden in Penzance has an impressive collection of work by internationally renowned landscape artists including James Turrell, David Nash and Richard Long. One of my favourite parts of the garden is the Chelsea Garden designed by Darren Hawkes for RHS Chelsea in 2015.
A designer’s finds. Shopping for homewares in Cornwall
I often get asked to help with home staging for sales, or to furnish holiday properties. I have a couple of go-to places for various things, for example Fowey is great for tableware and coffee table books, whereas St Ives is my shopping destination for all things art – including painting, ceramics and sculpture. Falmouth and Lostwithiel both have a good selection of homeware stores where you can pick up interesting things, often from local artisan makers. It takes a lot longer to trawl through independent stores but it’s rewarding, and the end result is much more unique than buying from mainstream stores.
My favourite interior stores in Cornwall include Willow and Stone in Falmouth, Illustrated Living and Uneeka in Truro, Alice in Scandiland in Lostwithiel, and Jo&Co near Wadebridge. All of these stores have one thing in common and that is excellent customer service, something I really value.
If you’d like to discuss a design project with Elaine, email email@example.com.