Marketing Coordinator Robyn speaks with the owners and interior designers of Ammonite and Romany, to discover the inspiration behind their romantic white-washed cabins.

Let’s start with hearing a little bit about yourself...

We are a husband and wife team who have worked in the magazine, photography and design industries for the last thirty years. Both of us are Londoners born and bred, and we moved to the wild and beautiful Kent coast when we realised that with three young boys, we needed the space and freedom to bring them up as we wanted. We have since added to our family and had a little girl eight years ago. We were lucky enough to be able to relocate our business and now run an interior design company and shop alongside our photographic locations agency and holiday lets.

We absolutely love living on Romney Marsh, each season has a unique beauty of its own. Winters in the city used to feel cold and grey, but now we feel that winter is a glorious time of year with achingly beautiful bleak landscapes, marshy scents and cosy fires. Spring is an explosion of acid greens and birdsong, summer speaks for itself and autumn is filled with russet colours and, down here on the south coast, warm Indian summer days if we're lucky.

What were the different inspirations behind both of your properties, Romany and Ammonite?

All of our designs stem from a love of honesty, simplicity, and the need to be ecologically sound. We are always trying to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum and we draw influence from the environment that surrounds us. Ammonite was very much inspired by local beaches. White-washed floors and bleached wood is the main theme, with vintage touches that pay homage to old-fashioned English seaside holidays. Daylight plays a very important part in our interiors and bespoke wrap-around windows let as much natural light flood the house as possible.

Romany has a more rustic vibe and was mainly inspired by the beautiful, natural countryside that surrounds it. American log cabins and Scottish hunting lodges were definitely an influence for this property.

Antique, vintage and re-purposed pieces are used wherever possible in both houses, not just for the look (which we love) but also for economic reasons. Far from being a passing fad, we feel that recycling, upcycling, and retro-fitting is here to stay, and rightly so. The need to save energy, preserve natural resources and protect the planet plays a vital role in the design world, and we feel it’s important not to brand this as just a style statement, but see it as a way of life.

We would love to hear about your career and how Pale and Interesting began?

I (Atlanta) started out studying textile design and pursued a freelance styling and design career, while Dave started his career in the film industry as a set designer and art director. A particular highlight of mine was being asked to work on the launch of Red Magazine as the interiors editor - it was a great privilege to be a part of the founding team of this iconic publication and I continued to work with them for a couple of years.

Since then, I have concentrated more on my own businesses and in 2007 we launched Pale & Interesting, an online boutique homeware store that sells items inspired by our love of the functional, beautiful and out-of-the-ordinary alongside exclusive own-brand furniture and accessories designed by ourselves. Our philosophy is all about mixing it up, teaming old with new, contrasting rough with smooth and pairing femininity with utility. As well as this, we work on various interior design projects using our simple, honest approach that is showcased in our five bestselling interior design books: The Relaxed Home, At Home With White, Easy Elegance, Pale & Interesting and Keep it Simple.

Later, we started renting to the holiday market and this is how two of our homes came to be on the Unique Home Stays portfolio. In total, we have owned and designed ten or so of our own houses that have all been used as locations and backdrops to almost every magazine, catalogue and fashion shoot in the country with our interiors quietly featuring in the background. Alongside all of this, Dave has designed furniture for retail giants such as John Lewis, as well as helping to design pubs and other shops all while still creating set designs. He has always worked on bespoke projects and has developed a passion for cabins, which has now blossomed into another business venture, in which he designs bespoke cabins for private clients.

Where are your favourite spots in both homes?

At Ammonite, we just love the main living space with its lofty pitched ceiling and natural wood accents. As soon as we enter that house, we feel an instant sense of calm and relaxation which I think comes from the soothing combination of white walls and floors complemented by the bleached wood.

At Romany, it has to be lying in the roll-top bath gazing out at the meadow or curling up on the daybed with a book in the glasshouse.

What do you enjoy most about the surrounding areas?

The countryside! At Romany, it’s the beautiful big sky views on the surrounding marshland and the sounds of the trees, birds and other wildlife. At Ammonite, it’s the beaches close by and nothing beats a swim off Pett Level Beach at high tide. You almost feel as if you’re in the Mediterranean at times!

Properties featured in this article: RomanyAmmonite