How an abandoned beachside shed turned into a nautical-themed summer home

Creating distinct moods and showcasing interesting objects can be tricky when working within the constraints of a mere 520sqft. But French duo Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, the architects behind the ultra-chic Beefbar steakhouses in Monaco, Mexico and Hong Kong, didn’t shy away from the challenge.

On the Italian Riviera, between the towns of Bordighera and San Remo in the northwestern region of Liguria, sits a small beachside cabin. Its owner is a female artist who has many fond memories of her childhood spent in this part of the Riviera. When she stumbled upon an abandoned shed along the small beach, it was love at first sight, and she decided the structure would be ideal for her summer holiday home and studio. She sought out Humbert & Poyet and shared her ideas – she hoped to spend her time painting, playing the piano and practicing yoga in her new bolthole, and she liked beautiful, eco-friendly materials and neutral colours.

The cabin's location provides sparkling views of the sea.

"With the terrace, we wanted to create the feeling of being on board a vintage yacht with wooden flooring and hammocks," says Christophe.

One of the homeowner's few requirements was that the space feature neutral tones and eco-friendly materials. Artworks and accessories are nautical themed; walls are made of marine timber.

The cabin's rustic design is in keeping with its seaside setting; brass fixtures and accessories add a nice contrast. Fixtures are by Lefroy Brooks, while the brass sink and cabinetry were custom designed.

The mattress was custom-made to fit into the loft space; the white bed linen from Habitat is paired with a throw from Africa.

Photography: Francis Amiand