How a former sail loft has been stripped back, extended and enhanced
to become the perfect waterside home. By Kate Thompson
By stripping their home back to the bare bones, Amber and Thomas Du Plessis were able to unlock the true beauty of the former boathouse tucked away in Bathing Lane in Old Portsmouth.
“We could see the quirkiness and the opportunity for us to knock it into a good shape,” explained Amber. “Our priority was the layout. The master bedroom was downstairs with a courtyard and outside loo.
“We covered over and raised up the courtyard to the first floor and decided to keep the master bedroom downstairs, reclaiming the courtyard space for a bathroom with the bath and sink opening onto the bedroom.”
Dating back to 1810, the former sail loft was built on the site of one of the first free schools in Portsmouth and the couple wanted to reveal more of that history.
On the first floor they created a light and bright living room rejoicing in the exposed joists and beams. A raised area leads onto the kitchen and dining area, with french doors opening onto the raised courtyard.
“We stripped it back to the bare bones and realised the inner beauty that had been covered up over the decades,” said Amber.
Their corner of Old Portsmouth has always been much sought after but recent additions such as the Hot Walls art studios and the opening of the Canteen have certainly added to the attraction.
“The views and aspects are what makes it. We love seeing the ships go by and we still run outside to see the Carriers pass by.
“There is a really nice close knit community here – people like to have a chat. We’ve got wonderful pubs nearby too and I like the fact you can cut through to Gunwharf Quays via the Camber and see all the fishing boats there,” said Amber.
After nearly 10 years living in Bathing House Lane, Shearwater is up for sale and Amber and Thomas are seeking their next adventure.
“We are looking for a smaller house and want to be by the water – we are even considering a watermill in France,” added Amber.