The Magpie Anthology

Pale and Interesting

New England style meets Asian influences in this relaxing stylish Isle of Wight home.

The proof of a beautifully decorated house is that as soon as you leave you want to go home and change everything in your own house and this is exactly how you feel when you visit Wild Apple Lodge.

Tucked away down a private road in Cowes and with sea glimpses from the garden and dining room Marc Thompson and Jack Rebours took the house on in 2014 having moved to the Island from London.  The house had been rented before Marc and Jack moved in and needed some upgrading and attention. “It had a New England appearance with the weatherboard and shutters, and we wanted to respect this with the interior but add another layer to create a classic and comfortable English feel with a modern twist,” says Marc.  “We moved from a cottage in south London and brought some of our furniture with us and also had decorative pieces influenced by our travels to Asia so it was a challenge to bring all of this together whilst also adding new layers”.

Having met twelve years ago, the couple found themselves working in Southampton on a project to launch a new cruise ship. They spent time together working in India training ship’s crew and eventually settled back in London before joining the ever-increasing number of Londoners looking for a ‘lifestyle move’. Marc says, “We had a close friend and work colleague who lived in Cowes so we got to know the area as a result of visiting for weekend breaks and the reason we are here today is through her warm introduction to the Island. We both have a special love of Cowes, as we got to explore more of the Island we knew this was the ideal place to live – a balance of a picturesque coastal village combined with great accessibility that we needed for travel connections to London and beyond”.

The couple had a distinct advantage in the decorating and design stakes with Jack having done a Master Class of Design course with Kelly Hoppen in London which not only reinforced his already passionate interest in interior design, but also taught him some important lessons. “We got to meet all of the trades on the course, specialists and fellow design enthusiasts; it was fascinating, and the feedback was priceless. We wanted to make the house accessible, so that people didn’t feel uncomfortable and we also needed to work within our budget. It’s all about classic long-lasting pieces mixed with good value accessories with comfort in mind”.

The result of this decorating ethos has resulted in an absolutely stunning interior. Pale colours with daring wallpaper here and there, Indonesian dark wood tables and cupboards accented with Philippe Starck lights and cushions in contrasting fabrics give a cool elegant luxe feeling to the sitting and dining rooms. Upstairs the four bedrooms have been refurbished to five-star hotel standards with beautiful bed linens and heaps of pillows and the main bathroom features not only a slipper bath but a television for the ultimate in relaxation. Attention to detail is paramount for both Marc and Jack and everything has been sourced with great care although not always at vast expense. “The bookshelf wallpaper in the hall was from B&Q and less that ten pounds a roll because I love a bargain,” laughs Marc, “In direct contrast to the Sandberg wallpaper in the sitting and dining room which was considerably more and Jack’s choice, but we also used popular online shops including Zara Home and the White Company for accessories and linens”.

In addition to all of the new decoration, many aspects of the interiors including all electrics, light fittings and floor coverings were extensively changed- with oak planks replacing carpets throughout the ground floor. To detract from a ‘new build’ feel (the house was less than ten years old when they bought it) they panelled the staircase, deepened the skirting boards, and changed covings. The garage was converted into a home office which gives Marc and Jack the opportunity to enjoy more time working on the Island as Marc explains, “I am continuing to work in sales and marketing, primarily focused on cruise ships and Jack is now running a successful counselling practice so having the space at home to work is ideal”.

Jack explains why their house is affectionately called the ‘might as well project’. “Each time we started something we said, ‘well if we’re doing that then we might as well do that too and this was especially true in the kitchen when we kept the original cabinets but changed just about everything else around them including the marble topped central island and the retro style Smeg cooker. We have been extremely fortunate to work with highly skilled local craftsmen and are delighted to discover so many talented people and unique suppliers on the Island”.

The refurbishment of Wild Apple Lodge has taken over six years, but you get the feeling that Marc and Jack will still be tweaking and adding to for years to come. Well they might as well really…

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