As Carole Sweetnam strolls out of her back garden and pushes the rickety wooden gate leading directly onto a wide expanse of beach, she has absolutely no regrets about the decision to transform a dilapidated bungalow into a smart New England-style home.
“My husband David and his sister, Sarah, enjoyed so many magical family holidays here at Bracklesham Bay in West Sussex, when they were growing up,” she says.
“However, as the years rolled on, the small original bungalow – which had been in David’s family since the 1940s – became increasingly tired and dated. It was abundantly clear that it was crying out for a major overhaul.”
Six years ago, the Sweetnams decided the time was right to knock the property down and replace it with Long Island – a much larger home that would be the perfect place to both rent out and enjoy making memories with their family.
With their main home located in Oxfordshire, and leading incredibly busy lives (David is one of London’s leading sports knee surgeons and Carole manages his orthopaedic practice), David and Carole called on the expertise of neighbours Clare and Murray Johnstone, who had created their own stylish New England-style home right next door: “Clare and Murray, who used to run the nearby coastal café, Billy’s on the Beach, are a really enterprising pair. We loved their home and reckoned it would be ideal if they’d project manage our build,” says Carole.
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