Alison Truelove panicked when she began reading one of the first comments in the guest book at her seafront holiday apartment in Filey. It began: “We have only one complaint...” After putting her heart and soul and a small fortune into creating the property, she wondered, for a split second, what on earth could be wrong. Then she read the review in full and realised that the visitors were, in fact, delighted: “We only have one complaint...we have to leave,” they wrote.
“It was such a relief,” says Alison with a laugh, adding that not wanting to leave Under the Waves and its sister apartment, The Waves, which sits above it, is a common reaction when closing the door on a holiday there.
Thanks to Alison and her husband Chris, both are stunning, contemporary properties with some of the best sea views on the Yorkshire coast. The couple, who let and manage the apartments alongside their full-time jobs, are now reaping the rewards of the gargantuan effort it took to create them. This involved a 10-year planning battle that started after the Trueloves bought their Georgian house.
They had long wanted to try their hand at the hospitality business and had spotted the opportunity to create a holiday apartment above the double garage that sat alongside their seafront home. However, the local authority was not supportive and so the Trueloves faced a long fight, which they eventually won. In 2017, the couple finally got permission to demolish the old garage and build a carport with a two-bedroom holiday let above.
The Waves opened in 2019 with sensational views of the sea and is described as “Ibiza meets the Yorkshire coast”. “It took so long to get planning permission because the architecture is modern but we felt that it was right, so we persevered,” says Alison. "The glass balcony was a major sticking point but it was such an important part of the design because it gives unrestricted views and we were determined to have it, which is why we took it to a planning appeal.”
Lockdown saw the couple embark on the second part of their plan, which was to turn the carport beneath into Under the Waves, a second luxury holiday let with sea views. Both properties are now something of a tourist attraction thanks to their striking, contemporary good looks.
“Modern architecture is so rare in Filey that they’ve become a new landmark. We have people coming across from the foreshore just to have a closer look. They are quite a draw,” says Alison.
Building Under the Waves in the midst of a global pandemic came with its challenges but no corners were cut. Chris says: “Alison’s attention to detail is unbelievable and guests always comment on it. I did question why she had spent so much on the interiors but now the apartment is up and running, I can see why. Guests want to stay somewhere that is better or equally as good as their own home.”
With that at the forefront of her mind, Alison, a buyer for Boyes Stores, spent hours online sourcing products while project managing the build. Fortunately, the Trueloves had a great team of builders but co-ordinating the work was still a big task.
The layout, designed by Alison, includes an L-shaped, open-plan living space with a sitting area on the left and a dining area to the right. The kitchen is at the rear and behind this is the large bedroom with a bath plus an en-suite shower room. It’s a perfect configuration that makes the most of the sea views from the bifold doors and the cleverest part of it is the internal window in the bedroom. This allows guests to look out across the lounge area to the sea beyond. "The bath in the bedroom is under that window so you can sit in it and have a sea view,” says Alison.
The interior has a maritime theme and Alison spent hours sourcing products online from around the world and in person when pandemic restrictions allowed. “It took me two nights online to find a kettle that was aqua coloured,” says Alison, who bought the footstool and a lampshade from Morocco via Etsy.
HomeSense stores were a big help and that’s where she sourced the Octopus table, which she painted white. After spotting a hugely expensive pendant light made from loofahs, she knew she had to have one but to cut the cost, she made her own. “I bought some loofahs and stitched them together and it looks remarkably similar to the very expensive one.”
The kitchen is from local company L Deyes Installations and, rather than cupboards, the units all have drawers with shelves above made from scaffold boards. “There are lights everywhere including in the scaffold shelving,” adds Alison, who also designed space-saving, built-in bench seating for the dining area. The seats lift up to reveal storage space.
To add texture and interest to the walls inside, one side of the apartment is clad in spruce planks that were whitewashed and the dividing wall is papered in a dark brown to add depth.
The fabrics for the blinds are by Harlequin and Clarke & Clarke in aqua and neutral colours and the flooring is herringbone-patterned, oak-effect vinyl, which is easy to clean.
Outside is raised decking from where there are stunning views of the sea. “You could just sit and watch the sea all day. There’s always something going on, from the surfers and paddle boarders to lifeboat training. Our first guests even saw dolphins,” says Alison. “I’m so glad we persevere with planning because the apartments are really special and we love running them because they bring guests such a lot of joy.”
Useful Contacts: Under the Waves and Waves holiday lets, www.wavesfiley.com; Lusso Stone for sinks and white taps, www.lussostone.com; Planters from www.countryabodes.co.uk; Bath from Aquaroc.com; Fabric from Harlequin & Clarke & Clarke; Kitchen by L Deyes Installations on Facebook; Brushed spruce planks from www.cowleytimber.co.uk; Oak herringbone vinyl flooring from www.Plusfloor.com; Home accessories from Etsy, TK Maxx and Homesense
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