When thinking about the interiors for Cabilla Cornwall, I knew we had to create a space that let nature in as much as possible, because when we are surrounded by nature we feel happier, more content, more balanced. Biophilic design has been proven to be positive for your psychological and physiological health so it was something I felt very strongly about.

Inspiration behind the design for Cabilla

I wanted all areas to feel warm, welcoming and safe, because when you feel these things you are able to think more deeply, ‘to think limitless’ as one of my old bosses used to say. Enabling this type of powerful thinking and release meant that we had to create an experience that felt frictionless, somewhere you could just turn up and be. That was always my dream and we’re so lucky that we now have the space and the team to do this for our guests.

For me, the Barns acts as your sanctuary, as the heart of Cabilla. We tried to make it feel like you are seamlessly connected to the natural environment through the use of ginormous windows and big barn doors that we throw open at every opportunity. It is full of gentle textures and materials, locally sourced woods with comfortable furniture and accessories. We put Atlantic Blankets everywhere we can – they feature in every Koyt and we have piles of them by the log burner too.

It was also designed to facilitate connection and community. I feel very sadly that nowadays we can all be so focused on what divides us, so I wanted the space to unify as quickly and simply as possible. Our large dining table can seat 24 people and is 125 years old. It is made from a monkey puzzle tree that fell down on the nearby Lanhydrock Estate. We always dress it simply with large church candles from St Eval and perhaps some seasonal flowers, so the delicious food and your conversation are the main focal points of the experience. Above it are large, hanging planters that I conjured up with Ian, one of our talented local craftsmen, after seeing a very cool cafe in Vietnam with something similar. Our builders thought I’d lost the plot. The sweetheart vines and Boston ferns spill out of them and we let them grow and flow with the seasons. We have the wonderful Emily at People Plants to thank for their beautiful styling.

Creating your home from home

The Field Kitchen is another open, communal space. We work with chefs who absolutely love telling you about the ingredients they have used and how they are nourishing you. Here you’ll also find our beautiful La Marcoza coffee machine, which creates the most delicious artisan coffees, with beans from Grounded, whose roastery is on the North Coast. I used to love walking to my local coffee shop in London, so when I get the chance, stomping over a few fields to get a beautifully made pick me up makes me very happy.

Our bar Daphne’s was inspired by my love for the author Daphne Du Maurier. Cornwall was her home and in 1936 she describes riding through the ‘dark, diabolical beauty of Bodmin Moor’ – just magical to me that she could see the beautiful wilderness as we do now. Her twisting plots, her wit and treatment of suspense are iconic, as is the incredible capture of female characters within her books. Rebecca was written in 1937 and has never gone out of print, it still sells about 50,000 copies a year. She wrote many of her best sellers in Cornwall, saying of her home  “I walked this land with a dreamer’s freedom and a waking man’s perception—places, houses, whispered to me their secrets and shared with me their sorrows and their joys. And in return, I gave them something of myself, a few of my novels passing into the folk-lore of this ancient place.”

As well as her books, I have always loved her eyes, mysterious and haunting in a way. A photograph taken by Cecil Beaton was a big inspiration behind the graphic treatment for Daphnes Bar. You’ll find lots of her books dotted around Cabilla and in your Koyts.

Providing comfort & nurturing experience

The Koyts are your own personal place to retreat here whilst staying at Cabilla. On retreat, group experiences are so gratifying, but they can also be overwhelming and not everyone expects the revelations that occur. Inspired by Cornish Quoits, which were places of significance in ancient times, they were where communities would go at moments of spiritual importance in life. Simply furnished with beds made by a local carpenter, you’ll be sheltered from the elements, and enjoy a log burner, lots of blankets, books to read plus beautiful aromatherapy products to enjoy.

What we see around us is a big part of our lived experiences, what we feel on our skin, what we taste, what we smell is an even bigger part. We burn specific incense and fragrances that are proven to support grounding, connection, relaxation and clarity too. Did you know that 75% of our daily emotional responses are triggered by aroma? It’s important to get this right and we try to make the fragrances of Cabilla as beautiful and as subtle as possible all through the spaces you experience, on every day of your retreat, from morning to night.

Why not experience Cabilla for yourself? Either join onto one of our Dirty Weekends or get in touch on [email protected] to find out more.