Spinneys & The Boathouse is the perfect beachside holiday home
PUBLISHED: 13:14 26 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:14 26 August 2016
Drawn to water, Annie Averdieck found her perfect home among the dunes at Thorpeness. Words and images by Tony Hall
There’s something very special about Annie Averdieck’s family home in the sand dunes between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh.
She welcomes me at the front door, which opens onto the open plan living/dining areas. The kitchen flows off to the left and I glimpse an indoor swimming pool through the glass to the right. One of the large bifold doors is open, so we go out onto the terrace. What a view – unchanged for centuries. It’s a hot day, but there’s a gentle breeze, and in an instant I feel as though I’m on holiday. Bliss.
Annie is at home on the Suffolk coast. Originally from Leigh on Sea in Essex, she is drawn to water and has always loved sailing.
“My parents were very into boats and the water, something that has stayed with me.”
Not surprising then that her latest business venture is a spa in Woodbridge. Annie went to university in London, where she gained a degree in English, before heading off to Hong Kong for three years. She returned to London and a career in public relations and marketing, then taught English in a junior school for three years.
She then moved with her family to Brussels for three years, where, inspired by Belgian chocolate, Annie and her then husband came up with the concept for the successful chocolate desserts brand, Gü.
“Around the time that the company was sold I’d got wind of a site in Thorpeness with a small house on it that might be coming to market,” says Annie. “Thorpeness always meant family holidays when I was growing up, so Spinneys was an opportunity not to be missed.
“Economically, it would probably have been better to start from scratch, but I loved the original structure, which I didn’t want to destroy, so we extended and refurbished to create a spacious, ‘easy living’ family home. The project evolved during the build, as it became clear it was going to become a permanent home rather than a weekend house.
“It was very important for us to have an open plan design that flowed between living spaces, particularly for my son, Rory (19), who has special needs. We also added a heated indoor swimming pool, gym and relaxation area overlooking the beach, which helps Rory’s mobility, but is also very popular with all the teens.
“My daughter, Phoebe (16), is at Woodbridge School and the house is often full with ‘gatherings’ of school friends in the holidays. It’s a seaside teenage party home, which in summer easily spills out onto the terrace and dunes, but equally, in winter, it’s very cosy with the wood burner. I kept to entirely local companies for the project – Ashton Design Architects, Brian Andrews for the building, Ashford and Brooks for the bespoke kitchen, Suffolk Heritage for the bespoke staircase.”
When it came to the interior design, Annie was inspired by the colours of nature around her – the dunes, the grasses, the sea and beach.
“I wanted the interior to merge with these muted colours and be, above all, informal and comfortable. I’m quite eclectic in my choices of furnishings, but often buy from Anthropolgie, Conran, Luma, OKA and locally, Vanil and 10 Church Street in Woodbridge.
“My favourite room has to be my bedroom, as I can lie in bed – or the bath – listening to the waves, birds and beach sounds, or gaze out at the ever changing sea. This place makes you happy, like being on a permanent holiday. My favourite items are my Anita Klein prints dotted around the house. Although Klein’s style is bolder than I would normally go for, they break away from the pallet of gentle beach colours in the house. She captures exactly how I feel about maternal love and the precious family unit, which she celebrates in her work.
“When I came up the first summer after buying here, I decided there and then it was time to leave London. I really need to be by the water – it’s in the blood and I found over the years when not around it, I was always pining to return.”
As a great hostess with an eye for interior design, Annie started her own health and beauty business in Woodbridge two years ago. Bathsheba is a boutique day spa offering a range of beauty and relaxation treatments in lovely surroundings. She employs six therapists and the business is going from strength to strength.
“I felt there was definite gap in the market in such a lovely town as Woodbridge, which I hope I have filled. We use REN Clean Skincare products and all my therapists are REN trained. The spa has comfy armchairs, blankets and robes, herbal teas and delicious coffee to ensure each visit is as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. Bathsheba is named after my favourite beach in Barbados on the Atlantic Coast – another magical beach!”
In the grounds of the main house is The Boathouse, which can sleep six, and with similar fantastic views is popular for holiday rental. Sometimes, if there is a big summer party at the house, which has four bedrooms, The Boathouse takes the overfill.
“We are members at Aldeburgh Yacht Club and frequently go sailing. Phoebe has a Feva – very fast, very lightweight – and is continuing the family tradition. We also have a RIB (inflatable), which we use for picnic trips up or down river – great fun in the summer.
“When I do get any spare time, I love to cook, paint a little bit (watercolours) and I’m an avid reader – my two Schnauzers are named Wickham and Willoughby after two of Jane Austen’s handsome, but naughty, heroes! The natural beauty of the Suffolk Heritage Coast on my doorstep is inspirational; it is a privilege to live on Thorpeness Beach.”
Owner: Annie Averdieck
Property: modern seaside home
Built: 1920’s, extended 2008 onwards.
Moved In: 2008
Favourite Room: Master bedroom, lying in bed, listening to the waves, watching the ever changing sea.
Favourite Item: Anita Klein prints . . . “she captures exactly how I feel about maternal love and the precious family unit.”
Favourite Local Shop: Vanil, in Woodbridge. Great Scandi interior design.
Favourite Part of the County: Here, without doubt.
Favourite Day Out: Sailing on the River Alde from the yacht club.
Favourite Waste of Time: In my ‘Idler’ garden swing seat, glass of rosé and good book to hand, gazing out across the grasses, beach, waves and horizon.
Favourite Walk: Walking the dogs, Wickham and Willoughby, along the dunes to Aldeburgh.
Favourite Pub/Café/Picnic: Regatta in Aldeburgh, The Dolphin for Sunday lunch. Also the pop-up Thai on Crag Path in the season.
Hobbies: Reading, painting and sailing.
Spinneys (sleeps 8) & The Boathouse (sleeps 6)
Holiday lets: firstname.lastname@example.org