Emily Escaped


Emily Escaped: reviews and photos of holiday homes for design lovers

Emily Escaped

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Written by homes journalist Emily Brooks, this blog is dedicated to seeking out UK holiday rentals that are all about great design

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Chert, Isle of Wight

An ‘upside down’ modernist house trapped in the 1970s – think turquoise, orange, purple and black – preserved by the National Trust


The perfect symmetry of this late-1960s Isle of Wight house tells you its story before you’ve stepped over the threshold. Built for two ladies as their coastal retirement home, it had mirror-image living space, and remarkably preserved 1970s interiors: when it was left to the National Trust in 1995, the charity decided to preserve it.

Built into the cliff at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, the house has garage and storage space on the ground floor, with the living area on the first floor, all the better to take in the sea views. A spiral staircase in the centre pops up into a shared hallway area: the ladies’ living accommodation was left and right off the hallway.

The ‘chert’ that gives the house its name is a type of local flint: the pair embedded these flints and other stones into concrete to make some very groovy wall tiles for the entrance hall and outdoor areas.

Inside, the decor is a mix of sober monochrome – like the speckled lino floor – and riotous colour, from the turquoise interior of the fold-down breakfast bar to the orange bathroom. The NT has stuck with the period vibe, and there’s even a 1970s record player so you can bring your own Richard Clayderman.

Nearby: Nothing’s very far away on the Isle of Wight, but Ventor itself is a handsome Victorian seaside town, with botanic garden, harbour and lighthouse. Coastal walks from the door.

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Chert, Isle of Wight

Chert, Isle of Wight

Photos via National Trust Holiday Cottages

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