2002: Tower Cottage

We had wanted to find a place in the Salcombe area for some time and had looked at many houses which didn't work out for one reason or another.

In August, shortly after one of our many trips down to Devon, we got the Estate Agent's flyer for Tower Cottage. We were immediately suspicious that the only photo of the house was taken from East Portlemouth. It did show the location and there was another photo of the view, which was fantastic...

We rushed down the next weekend, staying at the (now demolished) Bolt Head Hotel just above the property. We immediately confirmed our remote intuition - that Tower Cottage had to be demolished to make way for our project.

We found a local architect who seemed to know the planners and despite dire warnings from them - one of them told us "Let us have your plans. We can't say 'No' until we see them" - worked out that the project was feasible, although a bit of a leap of faith. The numbers were just affordable once we added 50% contingency to the architect's estimate. Had we known the true cost, we probably wouldn't have continued....

Some rather treacherous steps led down through the now dense garden to the house. We used to describe this as our rainforest as it took on an eerie quality in the wet.

The original 1920s house was extended in the 1970s to add the Living Room, a tiny shower room, a sauna and a very small bunk room and the "Tower", from where we liberated the Chart Room name plaque.

Our architect thinks that the door this came on was salvaged from a local shipwreck. Unfortunately the door was already rotten and then became too badly damaged in the demolition to be saved again. This door was on the rear of the tower, in the dark alcove you can see above and was very small.

The route to the "front" door - at the back of the house - was overgrown, adding to the rainforest feel.

After some negotiation, various geological surveys and sealed bids we completed our purchase in November and commissioned the architect to start work on a design.