PLAIN SAILING
Country Homes & Interiors|August 2021
Fulfilling his dream of living by the water, David Rothman found a riverside cottage and refreshed the interior with a nod to the nautical
MAGGIE COLVIN

AT HOME WITH

Owners David Rothman, an engineer, and his partner Lesley Hepher, a personal trainer, and their two golden labrador retrievers, Henry and Archie.

House A 19th-century, three-bedroom fisherman’s cottage. They bought the house in 2014.

This is a magical spot where you can relax and lose all sense of time,’ says David Rothman as he leans over the half-stable door of his fisherman’s cottage to chat to passing neighbours and watch the boats sail by. ‘The Yealm estuary in Devon has always been a desirable haven for artists, yachtsmen and families escaping the city in search of boating holidays.’

David was brought up in Plymouth and his love affair with this area goes back as far as his childhood. ‘As a boy, I tried to get my parents to move here but unfortunately only I made it,’ he says.

When David, a keen kayaker, first saw this riverside gem, with its private mooring and garden sloping down to the water’s edge, he realised he had found the escape he had always wanted. Creating a true connection between the cottage and its waterside setting was a priority, so the back garden was first on David’s agenda. By carving flat areas into the slope, he created three terraces on different levels, one for sunbathing and the others for eating outdoors.

The previous owner had already extended the cottage kitchen at the rear, adding a bedroom above. Her additions were executed to an impeccably high standard but the style was too stark for David’s liking. He contacted Paul Hervey, a local interior designer. ‘I rang him when one of the bathrooms sprung a leak and suddenly there was a new bathroom to design and a lot more besides,’ he says.

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