For the last 15 years, Chicago House has been the holiday home of the author AN Wilson and his family. Standing five storeys high above the harbour in Port Isaac, it’s a double house. Its slate-built lower storeys date from the 17th/18th century, and two more of clapboard with bright, high ceilinged rooms under an airy attic were added early in the 19th century.
The unusual name and colonial-style architecture come from the local man who returned to build it after making his fortune in America, and a much older slate flagged basement room is said to have been used to dry and mend fishing nets.
‘The downstairs “cottage” provides self-contained accommodation for guests (or teenagers), and there are front doors on three different levels,’ says Ruth. ‘But the glory of this house is its multiplicity of views out over a maze of alleys and roof tops to the harbour and sea beyond.’
Port Isaac is just a few miles from the popular resorts of Polzeath and Rock, and the North Cornwall coastal path runs through this pretty village, with its old chapel, fish cellars, Lifeboat station and up-market shops and restaurants.
The sounds of fishing boats starting up their engines and the sea shanty concerts on the village platt drift in through its windows but this house is set away from the tourist beat, on a secluded side lane.
Designer Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen and his wife Jackie are ex tenants, and it has featured as school teacher Louisa’s house in the popular TV series Doc Martin.
Guide price: £650,000 through John Bray (01208 880302)