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Two London Creatives Shore Up a Tiny Beach House, Ikea Hack Kitchen Included

The perfect beach shack: A tiny plywood-lined beach house in Seasalter, England shored up by two creatives, Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop. Marcia Mihotich photo.

To be filed under: The Ultimate in Simple Summer Living. Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop’s tiny beach shack stands right in the sand at the mouth of the River Thames in Kent, England, and like its neighbors is little more than a wooden tent. The pleasing simplicity continues inside.

The couple happen to be two of London’s most interesting creatives—Marcia is a graphic designer and illustrator (her clients include Donna Wilson, The School of Life, and Studio Mama, whose own shack is just two doors away) and Durrell is an interactive product designer at Line-us. Not surprisingly, they took a hands-on approach to their getaway. On tackling the remodel themselves, Marcia says, “It means that you often don’t quite finish everything, but it’s much more fun and you do get to know how everything works.”

Photography by Marcia Mihotich and via The Modern House.

Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop's tiny fixer-upper beach house in Seasalter, England. Photo via The Modern Hous
Above: Located an hour and a half from London, the couple’s house (second from the left) is part of an enclave of 20 raised beach huts that overlook a part of the Thames Estuary known as The Swale. The nearest villages are Seasalter and Faversham, and Whitstable is an hour’s walk along the beach.

The house was built in 1954, a detail the couple learned from a stamp on the wood in the ceiling. “We also came across a photo from the fifties that showed our house as fairly recognizable as it is today,” says Marcia. ” I don’t really know about the inside, the previous owners had made it very much their own and we did the same.” Photograph via The Modern House.

The perfect beach shack: A tiny plywood-lined beach house in Seasalter, England shored up by two creatives, Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop. Marcia Mihotich photo.
Above: Marcia and Durrell’s 15-year-old son, Hal (L), and Durrell’s mother, photographer Bridget Bishop (@lostruralindustries), in the living room, a mere 10 meters (about 33 feet) from the water at high tide.

The house is 30 square meters (approximately 323 square feet) and entirely sheathed in “shuttering ply,” a dense construction plywood that the couple selected because they wanted a grainy pattern. The simple windows and French doors are all new.

The artful, plywood-lined interior of a tiny beach house in Seasalter, England, shored up by Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop. Marcia Mihotich photo.
Above: Furnishings include a midcentury chair of unknown origin purchased by Durrell’s sister and a packing crate coffee table that, Marcia tells us, they found on the street near their place in London. “It’s from Martin Parr, the photographer; his name was on it, but he doesn’t know we took his rubbish. It’s a great table; we keep the hoover and other stuff like that in it.”
DIY sofa and biergarten table in the plywood-lined interior of a tiny beach house in Seasalter, England, belonging to Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop. Marcia Mihotich photo.
Above: The sofa, which serves as an extra bed, is a homemade wooden platform—”just a base with four legs”—and upholstered foam cushions. It stands alongside a stack of Ikea’s Alvar Aalto–inspired Frosta Stools, $14.99, and a biergarten table.
A plywood-lined Ikea hack kitchen and biergarten table in a tiny beach house in Seasalter, England, belonging to Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop. Photo via The Modern House.
Above: The kitchen is tucked just beyond the dining area. That’s the back (inland) door in the distance. Photograph via The Modern House.
Tiny house plywood-lined dining area. Marcia Mihotich photo.
Above: Pretend cellphones made years ago by Hal and a friend hang on the dining area wall. Note the patterning of the plywood.

“In the UK most plywood is birch ply, which is quite grain-free and uniform,” explains Rachel. “We like the grain and shuttering ply has a more pronounced grain and is also more affordable. But there are many different grades of shuttering ply and we found a timber supplier in Rochester where we could choose one we liked and then order the amount of sheets we wanted from the same batch. If the wood is from different batches, the patterning can be very, very different, which doesn’t look so good if you want to have a continuous surface.”

A plywood-lined Ikea hack tiny kitchen in Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop's Seasalter beach house. Photo via The Modern House.
Above: The couple rebuilt the kitchen using Ikea cabinets that they faced with plywood. The stainless steel counter and sink are also from Ikea.

The kitchen is equipped with a small under-the-counter fridge and an Ikea combination stove and microwave (shown here), as well as an electric burner, but most cooking takes place outside on the grill. The portrait is a 50 pence (64 cent) car boot sale purchase.

A plywood-lined Ikea hack tiny kitchen in Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop's Seasalter beach house. Photo via The Modern House.
Above: A lineup of garlic boxes salvaged from a local grocery serve as over-the-counter storage—”they were added on a whim, but have proven pretty useful,” says Marcia.

The cabinet pulls are loops of rope from a sailing shop “just because it’s fairly indestructible.” Photograph via The Modern House.

Plywood kitchen counter still-life with Japanese blue electric kettle. Marcia Miihotich photo.
Above: Marcia and Durrell are ever on the lookout for presentable appliances. They bought their Récolte Classic Libre Electric Kettle on a trip to Hong Kong.
Plywood bedroom with sleeping loft in Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop's tiny beach house, Seasalter, England. Marcia Mihotich photo.
Above: The bedroom has a twin bed and a sleeping loft big enough for two. In addition to wall hooks, there are storage bins incorporated into the steps to the loft.
Tiny plywood bathroom in Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop's Seasalter, England, beach house. Marcia Mihotich photo.
Above: The tiny plywood bathroom has just enough room for the door to open. “But the shower is hot, the loo flushes, and there are three drawers under the sink, which is enough for the essentials,” says Marcia.
Tiny plywood beach house bedroom. Marcia Mihotich photo.
Above: There’s also a curtained-off bedroom just beyond the kitchen.
Floor plan of Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop's tiny beach house, Seasalter, England
Above: To orient the house to the sea and outdoor living, the front door and living area are on the water side. Sleeping quarters are sequestered in the back.
Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop's tiny beach house (second from right) Seasalter, England. Photo via The Modern House.
Above: Marcia and Durrell’s house is second from right—that’s Marcia on the porch. The pale shingled house with the glass door belongs to their friends Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama of Remodelista favorite StudioMama.

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