The subject of a complete modern treatment by the acclaimed architect mj Long, this beautifully renovated home is sited directly on the water’s edge in the Cornish village of Lerryn, around ten miles north of Fowey. The interior living space of over 2,100 sq ft is orientated towards the wonderful river views, with the original features modestly celebrated in a pared-back palette of slate, lime and timber. Steps from the private courtyard gardens drop directly onto the water, and adjoining walking paths wind through Ethy Wood, which borders one side. Fowey can be easily reached in 20 minutes, with Falmouth, Padstow, Penryn and Port Isaac around an hour’s drive to the north and south.
Mary Jane Long, Lady Wilson, obe (July 31,1939 – September 3,2018), known as mj Long, was an American architect, lecturer and author, best known for her work as a principal architect partner on the British Library in London (with her husband, Sir Sandy Wilson). She created a series of purpose-built studios for the artists Peter Blake, rb Kitaj, Paul Huxley and Frank Auerbach, later documenting these in a book. In partnership with Rolfe Kentish, she focused on designing museums, libraries and galleries, including the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, the Jewish Museum London in Camden Town and an extension to Pallant House Gallery.
The house is nestled at the far end of a quiet country lane to the north side of the river, with parking and private mooring conveniently positioned adjacently to the house. The main entrance is accessed via a private courtyard garden, set discreetly behind a wooden gate with the original external stone stairwell rising to one side.
This house is full of natural tactile materials, which blend harmoniously with its surroundings. Preserving the building’s past was key to the renovation. As such, the original features, most of which are over 150 years old, have been sensitively preserved with just subtle alterations introduced for the comfort of modern living.
A beautifully light entrance hall creates a welcome introduction to the house, where the soft curve of lime-rendered walls is paired with slate floors. The primary living space flows across an open plan, creating a relaxing room where cooking, eating, and family life meet good design. Timber-framed glass doors ensure a constant visual connection with the gentle flow of the river and its verdant backdrop. A wooden bench is strategically placed on a slim terrace, creating the perfect spot to read with a coffee or dive straight into the water for a wild swim at high tide. The light is soft and dappled, filtering in through timber-framed windows, with deep window seats ideally positioned to enjoy the views at varying points of the day.
A workspace tucked to one side of this room is set beneath a glass ceiling, next to glazed doors that open onto the plant-strewn terrace. A utility area and laundry room are also positioned on this level.
Two of the four bedrooms lie on the northerly aspect of the ground floor, each with characterful nooks and sloping ceilings decorated in soft, earthy colours. A bathroom is positioned centrally.
Ascending the open-tread concrete stairwell, the upper level is given over to an impressive living room, where the arched pitch of the roofline provides contrasting height and volume to the level below; floorboards run throughout, and the solid timber beams cross-hatch overhead. This is an inviting room where family life can play out, with glass doors that open onto a balcony and the riverscape. The glow of an open fire provides comfort and warmth through the winter.
Two further beautifully appointed bedrooms and two bathrooms, one en suite, are positioned on this level, finished with a sense of craft, perfectly in keeping with the essence of the architecture.
A large courtyard and terrace are positioned at the heart of the site, creating the perfect pavilion for summer lunches and alfresco dining, with breathtaking views across the river. Drenched in golden light in the later hours of the day, the gardens are quiet and secluded, with dense, herbaceous beds, mature shrubs and trees that grow heavy with apples in autumn, providing privacy and forming the boundary.
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lerryn is a friendly village that retains its authentic Cornish character. Located approximately three miles southeast of Lostwithiel and straddling the two parishes of St Winnow and St Veep, the village has a school, post office, a shop and a pub, The Ship Inn, which pre-dates 1762. The centre is a five-minute walk from the house via stepping stones across the river at low water or the Grade ii-listed Elizabethan bridge when the tide is high.
Lerryn is steeped in history. Renowned for smuggling, an observant walker can still find a small cave in Ethy woods, the historic woodland thought to be the inspiration for Kenneth Grahame’s book The Wind in the Willows. A small wooden bridge by Ethy Rock at the banks of the river is said to have been where Grahame penned his story beneath the boughs of the willows.
The village and surrounding parishes have long been known for their apple orchards and cider production. The area is also renowned for fresh seafood, with the recent additions of Fitzroy and North Street Kitchen putting Fowey on the foodie map.
The station at Lostwithiel runs direct services to Plymouth and its broader onward connections by rail. Padstow and Port Isaac are less than an hour’s drive north, with Falmouth and Penryn just over an hour to the south.
Council Tax Band: G
|Property Type||%||Avg. current value||Avg. # beds||Avg. # bathrooms|
|End terrace house||2.6%||£365,000||3||2|
|Property Type||1 Bed||2 Beds||3 Beds||4 Beds||5 Beds|
|Houses||£277,500 (2)||£221,714 (7)||£463,000 (5)||£595,500 (10)||£570,000 (1)|
|Flats||£188,333 (3)||£295,875 (6)||£415,000 (2)||-||-|
|All||£224,000 (5)||£255,942 (13)||£449,286 (7)||£595,500 (10)||£570,000 (1)|