Fashion designer

A stay at fashion designer Pearl Lowe’s coastal retreat

It’s that time of year when everyone starts to wonder if you’re going somewhere nice on your summer vacation. At a time when celebrities are selling, you could up the ante by telling them you’re renting Pearl Lowe’s summer home, a seaside spot a stone’s throw from the beach on England’s sunny south coast .

Adorned with a mosaic of seashells and brimming with bohemian tempo, Pearl’s on Sea is a laid-back luxury East Sussex cabana with hot tub and outdoor pool, just 10 minutes’ walk from Winchelsea Beach, near Hastings.

Making the purchase fulfilled a lifelong dream, she says, as she has always been drawn to the call of the sirens of the sea – she even has a picture of the big blue as a screensaver.

“It’s so calming. All my worries seem to disappear,” says Lowe.

She bought the place during lockdown last year. Located on a private road in a village between Hastings and Rhye, towns teeming with navigable shops, the wooden property, built in the 1940s, won her over from the minute she saw it.

Pearl Lowe. Photography: Dave Watts

The cave mosaic outside Pearl Lowe's seaside home that won her heart.  Photography: Dave Watts

The cave mosaic outside Pearl Lowe’s seaside home that won her heart. Photography: Dave Watts

“The exterior is adorned with this extraordinary and enchanting mosaic of shells and pebbles picked up on the beach,” she explains. The mural, which wraps around the ground floor of the two-story house, was created by an artist who lived here all those years ago. “I think that’s why I fell in love with the property when I first saw it.”

Pearl has been a singer, songwriter, designer and decorator. She fronted several bands, toured Europe and in the late 1990s was part of the Primrose Hill band which included Kate Moss and Sadie Frost, and whose antics regularly made headlines. When it all got too heavy, she climbed into the carriage and left London for the green pastures of Somerset.

But one thing has remained constant: her innate style and love for all things vintage, from dresses to dressers and curtains.

She has put her talent for design to good use by launching a range of cushions, tablecloths and lace curtains, and also sells a collection of clothes that her youngest daughter Betty designs for her. Her eldest daughter is famous model and former star of Strictly Daisy Lowe.

Pearl Lowe's Seaside Kitchen.  Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe’s Seaside Kitchen. Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe's bathroom.  Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe’s bathroom. Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe's seaside home with a plush velvet Alice sofa from Soho House Home.  Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe’s seaside home with a plush velvet Alice sofa from Soho House Home. Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl decorates using the same boho aesthetic that informs her style of dress. It’s a mix of flea market finds and antique sources. Her mother was an interior designer and had a shop in Covent Garden.

“She was constantly buying houses, renovating them and reselling them,” she explains. “She also had a fantastic wardrobe which included Ossie Clarke, Missoni and Oscar de la Renta.” The time spent in the boutique shaped Lowe’s style and strengthened his business acumen.

“While it’s definitely our family retreat, it’s also a business,” she explains. “I praise him. It’s very lacy. I didn’t want a standard beach house with boats. There is no blue ticking.

Working on a word-of-mouth basis, Lowe regularly takes buying trips, sometimes for a customer, but also believes in buying anything she sees that she likes, whether she has a customer in mind to sell it or not.

“You have to buy it and find a part to install it rather than waiting for the right part to show up when you have a commission.”

This approach, which some might call hoarding, means her husband, Danny Goffey of rock band Supergrass, and her children all collectively grunt when they see her driving home with her car loaded with finds on the roof.

“Sometimes the house can feel like a store,” she says, half-jokingly. “And sometimes you bring back moths. I can’t have cashmere at home.

She’s also not averse to removing pieces from the house to help finish a job, even admitting to rolling a rug under her husband’s feet while he watched TV.

“It’s like living with a dealer,” she laughs. “Everything is for sale.”

For her, she says, the thrill is in the chase. “It’s not about the money at all.”

Boho on the sea with lots of interesting textiles, all sourced by Lowe, for lounging in the sun.  Photography: Dave Watts

Boho on the sea with lots of interesting textiles, all sourced by Lowe, for lounging in the sun. Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe's garden with a Sunbeam Jackie parasol and a lace scarf strewn across the table.  Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe’s garden with a Sunbeam Jackie parasol and a lace scarf strewn across the table. Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe's house on Winchelsea Beach in Sussex.  Photography: Dave Watts

Pearl Lowe’s house on Winchelsea Beach in Sussex. Photography: Dave Watts

His purchase on the beach includes two properties: the main house, which has four bedrooms, as well as a two-bedroom cabin in the back. The clapboard house is surrounded by a deck and there is an outdoor swimming pool which you can use in the warmer summer months as well as a Swedish hot tub for two. It can sleep up to eight people and costs from £6,150 (€7,245) per week through Unique Home Stays.

For the most part, the walls, ceilings and floors are all covered in Pointing, a soft white from Farrow & Ball. “It’s a look I love,” she says, “but it’s high maintenance.” The floors are painted in a more durable color – Linen Wash, by Little Greene – and require a freshening coat at least once a year.

The house has the feel of a seaside resort with a maritime feel, from the lace curtains that adorn every window to the interior porthole doors. The relaxed atmosphere includes plush velor seating. Standouts include an Alice sofa from the Soho House Home interiors collection.

Accommodation has French beds topped with satin comforters and large chintzy prints on plush curtains.

In the garden, there are lots of disco balls, a favorite decorative trope of hers. In one corner, there’s a table draped in a lace shawl, a Sunbeam Jackie umbrella above it.

Faded Glamor by the Sea is published by Cico Books with photography by Dave Watts.  Price €34.99

Faded Glamor by the Sea is published by Cico Books with photography by Dave Watts. Price €34.99

The property also inspired his new book. Faded Glamor by the Sea (Cico Books, €34.99) is Lowe’s ode to the English seaside and a window into the celebrity cradles of some of his friends.

You can peek inside model and photographer Helen Christensen’s coastal cottage, a few hours’ drive from Copenhagen, peek inside a very British beach hut owned by the artist Claire Fletcher, who grew up in Greenisland, County Antrim, overlooking Belfast. Lough, and stay at the Albion Rooms, a hotel on the esplanade in Margate, jointly owned by Libertines frontmen Carl Barât and Peter Doherty, and with a salty rock’n’roll sensibility.