Interior designer Anouska Lancaster has transformed a run-down 1830s house into a funky family home brimming with colour and personality.
Bubbly interior designer and QVC presenter Anouska Lancaster, best known for her colourful and flamboyant creations, believes your home should reflect your style.
She shares the rambling 1830s property in Boscastle on the north Cornwall coast with husband Greig Scott, a specialist printer, and their blended family – not to forget their two dogs, Otto and Stanley.
Finding the 1830s house
Anouska and Greig spotted the house online in the spring of 2021 and immediately arranged a viewing. “The asking price was £995,000 and we thought ‘what’s the catch?’,” says Anouska. They decided to go for a sneaky peek, and it was love at first sight.
“As we approached the house we saw an amazing carpet of bluebells,” Anouska recalls. “We walked around and our jaws dropped. We followed the coastal path to glance back and it was just beautiful from every angle. It was like something out of a Disney movie.”
The following day they went to the official viewing and were dismayed to find out there were several interested parties. “We walked around the house with our best poker faces,” says Anouska. The agents asked everyone to make their best offer and, unusually, to provide a written explanation of why they wanted to buy the house.
Anouska spent hours researching Penally House and its history. They made an offer just over the asking price and described their vision: to once again make the house a family home and protect it for generations to come.
They were delighted to receive a phone call the next day saying their bid had been successful.
The 1830s house renovation
Set in three and a half acres in the fishing village of Boscastle, the three-storey, six-bedroom Grade II-listed house was built in 1836 for William Sloggett, a local merchant and, according to Cornish rumour, a smuggler.
Anouska and Greig wanted to respect the heritage of the house but were also mindful it needed to be a family home.
As the property is Grade II listed, they had to be very careful about their design choices and couldn’t simply rip anything out. They even had to consult about removing the 90s radiators and fake stained-glass windows.
Sadly, squatters had moved in during the early 1990s and stripped out many of its original features – including cornicing, ceiling roses, cast iron radiators, and many of the marble fireplaces.
Anouska used as many local craftspeople as possible – including Cornwall-based Lee Vanstone, a plaster mouldings specialist who restored and created mouldings, ceiling roses, and cornicing throughout.
The interior design process
Her starting point for the interior design was a dusky pink Everhot range cooker for the roomy kitchen. “I’d always wanted one and everything else just revolved around it,” says Anouska.
“Everyone told me to go for a neutral shade, but I just love it. Pink is such a happy colour.” Luckily for her, Greig shares her love of bright colours and vibrant patterns.
The final design
Anouska and Greig have breathed sympathetic yet vibrant new life to their home but have made no structural changes. The renovation of the kitchen, living room and master suite was featured on Channel 4’s Renovation Nation.
Now, the house has five bedrooms, with the sixth turned into a dressing room.
“The design of Penally House has been about experimenting with so many different ideas and colours,” says Anouska. She trained as an artist and started out by designing night clubs for her first husband.
When they split up, she designed a tiny but beautiful rental cottage for her and their two children. After that, she was asked to do up some houses for school mums, and her career snowballed from there.
“I began by doing a lot of beige schemes, because that’s what clients wanted at the time, but now people come to me for my colourful style,” smiles Anouska. “For me, interior design has a lot to do with gut instinct. l love to mix colours and patterns together, but a house is only a home if it reflects your personality.”
Photography: Darren Chung