Case Study

Creating a coastal retreat in Margate (sea views included)

:Pin this story
Case Study

Creating a coastal retreat in Margate (sea views included)

Interview: Akua Danso

We talk to sellers Lisa, a costume designer, and her husband Bradley, a Chartered Surveyor, about their love for Margate and the extensive renovation and restoration of their Victorian home. Check out the sales listing here

Where did you live before, and why did you move to this house?
Lisa: Bradley and I were living in Soho, London, when we had our daughter. Originally, we planned that she’d grow up in Soho but life quickly took over and it didn’t take us long to decide that a move to the coast was a good idea.

Bradley: It was a hard transition because we loved central London life and living right in the thick of it, however we got to that point where we were looking to move out to a completely new environment. There was a shortlist of places and Margate was right up there in terms of its creative vibe and exciting things going on. The house also gave us direct walking access to the town, local beaches and commuter trains.

Had you visited Margate before?

Lisa: I’m from Dover, so I grew up going to Margate, Dreamland and the beaches. I knew it quite well and I had family in the area which was great in terms of the kids.

Bradley: The day we viewed this house was my first visit to Margate. We were really taken by the house. At that point, we hadn’t fully decided that we were going to move down here full-time. I think we were contemplating staying in London and buying a smaller home for weekend trips, but when we saw Beach Houses, we felt it was too special not to make it our permanent home.

What was the condition of the house when you first bought it? What did the renovation process entail?

Lisa: The house was very different from how it is now. The previous owner was a local artist who had incorporated a strong sense of style throughout the house: a strong blue palette, seaside-themed with lots of boats and artwork on the wall…

Bradley: …traditional Cornish fisherman style. I thought it was lovely, really charming.

Lisa: Once we settled in, we realised that the whole house needed gutting and a full renovation. We felt obliged to look after it and give it the necessary love.

Bradley: Yet once we started the renovation, we discovered a large number of underlying issues. A total modernisation job was required, and so we began a full-on strip out.

We wanted a more open plan feel and to improve the flow of the rooms, orientating every space around the sea views, even from the garden.

Lisa: We began the renovation in lockdown whilst living in the house. Knocking down walls, taking plasterboards off, taking the floorboards up… we even had the kids mucking in with demolition! It was a family team effort before the builders came in to start the major works.

Bradley: An important aim for the renovation was preserving anything original to the building. Where the building had been adapted over recent decades, we wanted to reinstate as much as possible that would align with the original architecture, materials and construction. Examples of this were using pure lime mortar pointing for the brickwork, which was one of the first things we did.

Another example was sourcing an old arched timber sash window from auction. The window itself was very cheap, but I spent around 100 hours restoring that window! It took a lot of time and effort but it didn’t matter to us. We were happy to pursue the restoration knowing that it’s invaluable to have something with that much TLC. That gives us a lot of joy.

But the renovation also gave us the opportunity to improve the energy performance of the building, introducing new insulation to the ceilings, walls and underfloor voids which was of great benefit whilst living here.

On an average day, how did you use your space? 

Lisa: The kitchen island is our hub (and also our ping-pong table!). We have many happy memories around that table.

Bradley: It’s definitely the heart of the home. Beyond that, you will find us between the beach and the hot tub.

What are your favourite rooms at certain times of day and different seasons?

Lisa: The sunlight that comes in is just amazing and you can watch it move throughout the whole house. Since we opened the floor plan up, the light floods the property from all angles.

Bradley: One of my favourite spots is the bay in the front bedroom upstairs that looks straight over Margate, across the beach and sea. This is particularly special on New Year’s Eve when the town comes alive with fireworks.

It’s a totally captivating window to sit by if you ever need to stop and contemplate. The constantly changing seascape will always be endlessly entertaining. This house provided us with the perfect retreat from our busy London jobs; we were looking for a safe haven for the kids. Margate was ideal for this.

What do you enjoy about the local area of Margate?

Bradley: I love the buzzing cultural and food scene. But more importantly, the exposure to the sea and the environment. It’s a very special place for me. 

Lisa: The sunsets are phenomenal! We’ve travelled all around the world but Margate has some of the best sunsets we’ve ever seen.  

What is the next chapter ahead and what do you hope the new owners will get out of living here?  

Bradley: Oh blimey! That’s quite an emotional question to answer… 

Lisa: …we didn’t originally intend to sell the house. We embarked on the renovation and spent a lot of time, love and money on every design element with every intention to stay for the long term but for personal reasons we have had to move with the family in mind.  

Lisa: Margate and this house has been our happy place for the past six years, and we will always hold it in fond memory. We hope the new owners will enjoy it as much as we have. 

Bradley: I like to think that we’ve restored the house back to the glory the Victorians had in mind: the perfect retreat. 


Beach Houses, Margate CT9
Share this story
Previous Story.
The Agency. Celebrating a new chapter for Aucoot
Previous Story.
Next Story.
The Agency. Say hello to the new Aucoot team
Next Story.