The perfect escape

Laura Cartledge meets the team turning old offices into stunning waterside apartments.

The Salterns at Chichester Marina have been created to offer apartments for short luxury breaks.
However Susanna Matthews, one of the interior designers tasked with transforming the site, admits it has been a great place to work too.
apartment_5_night_shot_45134“It is definitely one of the more picturesque site offices we have,” she confesses. “It is a lovely project and we are very lucky, it always seems to be particularly good weather when we are down there.”
What were buildings in need of renovation, have been replaced by nine prestigious holiday lets – with ten more due when phase two of the development is complete.
Graham Barnsley, marina manager, says the project seemed ‘the obvious choice’ for the former 60s-built offices.
While customer experience director Andy Mills explains the move is part of an effort to ‘diversify what we are doing with the marinas’.
“It brings new people and offers something for people with boats here whose families might want to join them,” agrees Graham.
“We have a pontoon at the front so you can moor your boat for free.”
This comment is just a hint as to why The Salterns is somewhere really quite special.
I am not ashamed to admit I made a beeline for the windows as soon as I entered, with my tour guide’s comments about the high-spec fittings and high-tech features just washing over me while I soaked in the simple pleasure of a breathtaking view.”
bedroom_apartment_1_ 44822 1It is no surprise to learn then that the brief given to DO Design Studio was a ‘light, coastal look’.
“They came to us with key images that actually turned out to be a past project of a colleague which was useful,” Susanna smiles.
“Then we put together a presentation for an overall theme, peppered with furniture that would work.
“It is a beautiful area and the setting is very unique so it was nice to pick up on a light scheme that felt calm with a contemporary edge, but we have used a lot of Ercol furniture too for an ageless look.”
The collaboration came about as owners Premier Marinas had seen DO Design’s work on another project along the coast in Southampton.
“We came in a little late in the day as they were already on site,” she recalls.
apartment_4_yellow_bed_45233 1“Usually we take a more interior architectural approach and look at the overall space and how it is going to flow right across the property.
“We look at both the hard furnishings and soft furnishings, anything you could shake out of a building if you could lift it up, as well as the bathrooms and the fittings,” explains Susanna. “Whereas some practices will just do the soft, we get quite involved.”
At The Salterns she says this included ‘a little reshuffle of walls and bathrooms’, things they ‘thought could be reworked’.
A presentation was then put together with a focus on a ‘taupe, neutral palette,’ with ‘punches of colour’ achieved through furnishings and statement wallpaper.
“I think we ended up with about five different colour schemes, it adds a bit more fun,” she enthuses.
“A lot of people can shy away from things but it shouldn’t be the case, you can add a lot with featured wallpapers – just one wall adds a nice surprise to a space and gets people talking.”
patio_2_45192 1Making an impact in this way suits homes but is also very useful for rented accommodation, as Susanna says: “If you want to regenerate it over time you could quite easily go back in and refresh the scheme.”
Wallpapers that don’t look like wallpapers are also highly recommended, with Susanna saying the quality of wood-effect ones in particular now are great.
Vinyl’s resurgence also sees it regularly used in Do Design’s projects, with the woven variety deemed ‘very smart’ and ‘great for communal spaces’.
As for creating the impression of more space, the use of ‘quite large tiles’ is recommended for bathrooms.
Quality has clearly been the key word here, from the iPad welcome book to the sonos sound system and each apartment having its own WiFi, there’s no doubt it caters just as well for work as it does for play.
“I wouldn’t say it was an uncapped budget, but pretty much,” Graham confesses, before saying he thinks the main draw is ‘the location and the atmosphere’ of being in a marina.
“It is something that a lot of people will not have experienced.”
Enquirers for The Salterns should contact Henry Adams on 01243 375893 or visit, or The Salterns website


admin August 23, 2016 Interiors and Property