Inside Surf Cafe couple’s homemade home

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Surfers Jane and Myles Lamberth are living the dream after creating the perfect home by the sea. Sharon Dale reports

The Surf Café Cookbook was a bestseller thanks to its contemporary take on traditional Irish food.

Now the authors, Jane and Myles Lamberth, have adapted the theme to include the transformation of Cedar Rose, a rundown, 100-year-old cottage near the Knocknarea mountains.

Their new book, Surf Café Living, tells the story of the renovation and also includes lots of great recipes and a host of craft ideas, which will appeal to those who love a home-made home.

They started by making the property dry and damp-free before adding a contemporary, cedar-clad extension designed by architect and fellow surfer John Wiggins.

They were keen to create a sense of space and freedom and so kept doors to a minimum and opened up ceilings to maximum height.

The decor is neutral and the furnishings are a mix of salvage yard finds, bespoke pieces and modern art.

“Our goal was to treasure the old, add our personality to it and reuse as many materials as possible,” says Jane, who commissioned a ten-seater dining table made from reclaimed wood and teamed it with old benches and Thonet chairs.

The couple wanted an industrial look and used a mix of concrete, stone and wood to great effect. The floors are polished concrete, as is the kitchen counter and island. The shelves are made from scaffolding planks while reclaimed timber was used for feature walls.

“We created a visual mood board for all our areas,” says Myles. “Everywhere we went we took pictures, tore scraps from magazines and spent days scouring the internet.”

Among the clever ideas they collected is the sliding door into the bathroom, which maximises space in the smallest room. The couple, who run a café and shop, were hands on with the renovation and their creativity and crafting helped with the finishing touches. They also asked a friend to fashion hessian coffee sacks into rustic cushion covers, which all feature contrasting, fancy trims. You can find the sacks at any good coffee sellers.

The rooms are full of colour thanks to fresh flowers displayed in a range of vintage vessels, including old teapots and milk jugs.

Outside, the concrete continues onto the patio and the garden fence is rusty, concrete-reinforced mesh softened by perennial grasses.

There’s also an outdoor, hot water shower overlooking the mountains. The water runs onto ready-made decking tiles and into a drain, while the “shower head” is a piece of copper pipe. An old swimming pool ladder acts as a towel rail.

Myles and Jane also made a fire pit in the garden, using stones from an old shed that they demolished.

“It’s just a matter of sticking on the fuel and a grid and off you go,” says Myles.

“Gathering round and gazing at a fire is relaxing and really breaks down barriers.

“We always have marshmallows at the ready. It’s consistently interesting to see that for young and old alike, the pleasure factor in roasting marshmallows is exactly the same.”

Miles Lamberth’s fire pit tips

Natural lumpwood charcoal is expensive but it burns slower, holds the heat and produces much better flavour than briquettes.

When setting up kindling remember it needs cavities of air, so arrange it in the form of a tepee or layer in hashtag shapes.

Fires often suffer from limited oxygen feed, so use a bike pump as bellows beneath your barbecue to stoke it back to life.

Surf Café Living Orca Publications, £17.99

For more details on the Surf Café, visit