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Inside Dawn French’s beloved harbourside Cornwall mansion she called home for 15 years

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She recently parted ways with her treasured Cornwall mansion for a multi-million pound fee, after living in it for 15 years.

And Dawn French regularly gave her fans intimate glimpses of her treasured harbourside abode, which sits in the charming town of Fowey, over the years before she packed up and moved on.

Sources recently revealed to The Mail On Sunday that the Vicar of Dibley star, 63, opted to sell the grand abode, which she shared with daughter Billie and husband Mark Bignell, because the area had become ‘too trendy’.

Move: Dawn French recently parted ways with her beloved Cornwall mansion for a multi-million pound fee, after living in it for 15 years

Move: Dawn French recently parted ways with her beloved Cornwall mansion for a multi-million pound fee, after living in it for 15 years

Stunning home: She owned Point Neptune House, which boasts huge, arched windows and stunning sea views, for 15 years

Stunning home: She owned Point Neptune House, which boasts huge, arched windows and stunning sea views, for 15 years

The Welsh-born star often took to Twitter to share an insight into her idyllic life on the coast, including time with her beloved pets and the bountiful flowers that decorated the home, called Point Neptune.

And while her adorable pets and sweet and savoury treats were often the subject of her posts, her spacious kitchen, light-flooded living room and art-covered walls often stole the show.

Boasting views of the harbour, Dawn was also able to take advantage of the West Country’s abundant sunshine, with a sprawling outdoor dining area.

Although the three-storey home was clearly grand in stature, it boasted a relaxed feel, with the screen star’s pet pooches and cat regularly seen lounging around the house on the furniture. 

Furry family members: Although the three-storey home was clearly grand in stature, it boasted a relaxed feel

Lounging: The screen star's pet pooches and cat regularly seen lounging around the house on the furniture

Furry family members: Although the three-storey home was clearly grand in stature, it boasted a relaxed feel, with the screen star’s pet pooches and cat regularly seen lounging around the house on the furniture 

Breathtaking: The Vicar of Dibley star gave her fans intimate glimpses of her treasured harbourside abode, which sits in the charming town of Fowey, over the years before she packed up and moved on

Breathtaking: The Vicar of Dibley star gave her fans intimate glimpses of her treasured harbourside abode, which sits in the charming town of Fowey, over the years before she packed up and moved on

Life's a beach: The Welsh-born star often took to Twitter to share an insight into her idyllic life on the coast, including time with her beloved pets

Shoreline: She enjoyed countless strolls along the golden shoreline during her time at the abode

Life’s a beach: The Welsh-born star often took to Twitter to share an insight into her idyllic life on the coast, including time with her beloved pets and strolls along the golden shoreline

Despite all the charm of the home, it was recently revealed that Dawn planned to move out of the rural idyll of Fowey at a time when it has become too ‘cool and trendy’.

The Mail on Sunday revealed that the comedienne had sold her treasured home, dramatically set on a windswept bluff, and has decamped to a more low-key area, while remaining within Cornwall.

She had owned Point Neptune House, which boasts huge, arched windows and stunning sea views, for 15 years.

The property is widely considered one of the most desirable houses in the town, but it is clearly visible to the growing hordes of tourists that visit.

A source said earlier this month: ‘Yes, Dawn is selling up, but she’s very much staying in Cornwall. She just wanted a change.

Stealing the show: While her beloved pets and sweet and savoury treats were often the subject of her posts, her spacious kitchen, light-flooded living room and art-covered walls often stole the show

Stealing the show: While her beloved pets and sweet and savoury treats were often the subject of her posts, her spacious kitchen, light-flooded living room and art-covered walls often stole the show

Too cool for school: Despite all the charm of the home, it was recently revealed that Dawn planned to move out of the rural idyll of Fowey at a time when it has become too ‘cool and trendy’

Sweet treat: The star regularly baked at the grand abode

Too cool for school: Despite all the charm of the home, it was recently revealed that Dawn planned to move out of the rural idyll of Fowey at a time when it has become too ‘cool and trendy’

Also fresco delights: Boasting views of the harbour, Dawn was also able to take advantage of the West Country's abundant sunshine, with a sprawling outdoor dining area

Also fresco delights: Boasting views of the harbour, Dawn was also able to take advantage of the West Country’s abundant sunshine, with a sprawling outdoor dining area

‘Dawn is low-profile and private. The fact that Fowey has recently become cool and trendy isn’t what she finds appealing per se.

‘It can get very busy now during summer. Dawn will always love Fowey and had 15 wonderful years living there. She will miss all the locals who made her feel so welcome.’

During an interview with Fern Cotton back in 2018, Dawn said of her home: ‘It was in a bit of a state and I thought “Oh, I’m going to need a bit of dosh to do this up”.

‘I called Jennifer [Saunders] and I said, “Look I’ve seen this place and I know I want to live there but we’ve got to go on tour, how about it?” And she said something like “Oh yes, I’m doing my conservatory, OK yes.”‘

Fowey, a charming harbour town where writer Daphne du Maurier once lived, has been described as a ‘millionaires’ playground’ and is popular with London buyers. 

Moving on, staying local: The Mail on Sunday revealed that the comedienne had sold her treasured home, dramatically set on a windswept bluff, and has decamped to a more low-key area, while remaining within Cornwall

Moving on, staying local: The Mail on Sunday revealed that the comedienne had sold her treasured home, dramatically set on a windswept bluff, and has decamped to a more low-key area, while remaining within Cornwall

Say it with flowers: One overriding theme in Dawn's snaps of her home was her love of fresh flowers adorning the property

Blooming marvellous: She also added flowers to the outdoor areas of her home

Say it with flowers: One overriding theme in Dawn’s snaps of her home was her love of fresh flowers adorning the property

Art pieces: A selection of quirky and personalised art adorned the walls and other areas of the tastefully decorated property

Art pieces: A selection of quirky and personalised art adorned the walls and other areas of the tastefully decorated property

It voted last year to ban newly built houses being sold as second homes amid an influx of city-dwellers pricing locals out of the market.

The summer season sees the town overrun with tourists, particularly recently now that foreign travel is largely off the cards. 

Several trendy London restaurants have opened outlets on its narrow – and previously quiet – streets in recent years, with queues around the block.

The source said that Dawn ‘doesn’t see herself in that celebrity, flashy tribe. She’s a low-key resident. It’s actually not like her to have a visible, ostentatious home in the centre of town.’ 

Safety first: At the height of lockdown last year, the comedienne shared her tongue-in-cheek solution for hugging loved ones

Safety first: At the height of lockdown last year, the comedienne shared her tongue-in-cheek solution for hugging loved ones

In the midst of the bustle: The property is widely considered one of the most desirable houses in the town, but it is clearly visible to the growing hordes of tourists that visit

In the midst of the bustle: The property is widely considered one of the most desirable houses in the town, but it is clearly visible to the growing hordes of tourists that visit

Change: A source recently said, ‘Yes, Dawn is selling up, but she’s very much staying in Cornwall. She just wanted a change'

Low profile: Added the source, 'Dawn is low-profile and private. The fact that Fowey has recently become cool and trendy isn’t what she finds appealing per se'

Change: A source recently said, ‘Yes, Dawn is selling up, but she’s very much staying in Cornwall. She just wanted a change’

Oops! The star revealed that a wood pigeon accidentally flew through one of her glorious windows, braking it in the process

Oops! The star revealed that a wood pigeon accidentally flew through one of her glorious windows, braking it in the process

Dawn, who starred as Geraldine Granger in The Vicar of Dibley, moved into the Grade-II listed building in 2006 with her then-husband Lenny Henry and their daughter Billie. The couple divorced in 2010.

In 2013, she married therapist Mark Bignell in the coastal resort of Mawgan Porth.

The sale of Point Neptune House is believed to have been a multi-million-pound off-market sale through the luxury property agent Jonathan Cunliffe. 

He said of the sale: ‘We cannot say who Dawn sold Point Neptune to, only that she has bought again in Cornwall.’

Big move: Dawn, who starred as Geraldine Granger in The Vicar of Dibley, moved into the Grade-II listed building in 2006 with her then-husband Lenny Henry and their daughter Billie. The couple divorced in 2010

Big move: Dawn, who starred as Geraldine Granger in The Vicar of Dibley, moved into the Grade-II listed building in 2006 with her then-husband Lenny Henry and their daughter Billie. The couple divorced in 2010

Husband: She now lives with her therapist husband Mark Bignell, who she wed in the coastal resort of Mawgan Porth in 2013

Views: The property and surrounding area are not short on breathtaking views

Husband: She now lives with her therapist husband Mark Bignell, who she wed in the coastal resort of Mawgan Porth in 2013 

Busy: The summer season sees the town overrun with tourists, particularly recently now foreign travel is largely off the cards

Busy: The summer season sees the town overrun with tourists, particularly recently now foreign travel is largely off the cards

Loving it: The star has often joked about Cornwall being 'grim' and 'horrible' as she shares one stunning view after another

Loving it: The star has often joked about Cornwall being ‘grim’ and ‘horrible’ as she shares one stunning view after another

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Madison International Realty invests in London Salesforce Tower (GB)

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Madison International Realty has acquired a minority stake in the Salesforce Tower, London EC2, through a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), joining other investors including Heron International.

 

The 230-metre tower, completed in 2011 at 110 Bishopsgate, is an island site in the City of London and provides 441,000ft² of office space over 37 floors. The property is over 93% let to a range of tenants, the largest of which is Salesforce. The Salesforce Tower also has an outstanding food and beverage offering with Duck and Waffle and Sushi Samba at the very top and the Drift on the ground floor. The building has a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for design.

 

The asset’s central location in the core of the City of London means it benefits from excellent transport connectivity, with Liverpool Street and Bank within a short walking distance. Similarly, there are a large number of new world-class food, drink and entertainment options nearby including the new Pan Pacific hotel adjacent at Heron Plaza and Eataly in Broadgate. In January 2021, an ING-led syndicate of lenders completed a €465.2m (£400m), five-year refinancing of the Tower.

 

Alex Lukesch, Managing Director at Madison International Realty commented on the investment: “This acquisition has allowed us to secure a stake in a prominent London office building, which we believe delivers space that meets the demands of modern occupiers looking for world-class offices in one of the world’s leading financial centres. The investment reflects our conviction in the ongoing resilience of the office sector and the role we believe it will play post-pandemic. We have observed that demand for quality, well-located space remains robust, while companies are increasingly looking for properties that also have strong ESG credentials to help meet their own sustainability targets. In Heron, we believe we have an experienced and highly regarded partner and we look forward to working with them on this venture.”

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Britain’s blossoming love for Japanese design in the home

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The design has a red lid and a narrow neck which widens to form a base of sturdy hips. When poured, the contents flow in a singular, uninterrupted stream.

The Kikkoman bottle hasn’t changed since it was designed in 1961 by Kenji Ekuan for the world’s largest soy sauce producer.

Simplicity has made it ubiquitous. And crucially, it works — think of wrestling with glass Heinz ketchup bottles or constantly wiping lids on plastic iterations. Likely, Kikkoman’s bottle is the reason we’re so familiar with soy sauce.

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country's influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country’s influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

In the introduction to her book Japanese Design Since 1945 (£35, Thames & Hudson), Naomi Pollock writes: ‘In Japan, good design is everywhere. But most of all, it’s in the home.’

The trend for Japanese-inspired, UK-based brands, such as Wagamama, Superdry and Yo! Sushi, is well worn, but the country’s influence is likely seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes.

Inspired idea 

The Japanese approach to design is summed up well by a single product – Muji’s right angle sock (from £3.50, muji.eu). 

As the foot is perpendicular to the leg, the sock should follow the shape of the body: design centres on the user rather than the designer.

The word ‘Muji’ translates as ‘without brand’ and the company invites (often renowned) designers to create reasonably priced products anonymously. 

Design guru Naoto Fukasawa is an adviser to Muji, and his wall-mounted CD player for the company (£149) is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Naoto Fukasawa's butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869, chaplins.co.uk)

Naoto Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869, chaplins.co.uk)

In the UK, Chaplins stocks a large selection of products from Japan, including some from the designer.

‘The idea is to create designs that appear to have been sculpted by the elements,’ says Ludovic Aublanc, creative director at Chaplins. ‘It’s the kind of minimalism that brims with emotion, that makes you grateful and happy to come home.’

The company stocks Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Papilio range – chairs and sofas sporting headset ‘wings’ to protect the user’s head (Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair, £2,869, chaplins.co.uk).

Simple seating

Japanese designers have described the chair as the centre of design and an extension of the human form. It follows that these things should be easy on both the body and the eye.

Habitat’s Mori charcoal two-seater sofa (£716, habitat.co.uk) certainly fits the bill. It is compact, unfussy and elegant with its plush curved armrests and contrasting thin, wooden legs.

Simple unfinished woodwork is a key part of design in Japan, like the solid oak dining chairs from Oak Furnitureland (£140, oakfurnitureland.com) which would pair well with the Japanese oak Castor Table by Karimoku New Standard (£1,169, nest.co.uk).

Clutter free

Last year, decluttering guru Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her hit Netflix show. The programme has been talked of plenty, but we’re perhaps unaware of how key these principles are to Japanese design.

A large part of the focus on user-friendly products comes down to space. As ever, it’s important for Muji, with its storage bed (from £299) which has spacious drawers to banish clutter. Loaf has the Woody storage bed (from £995, loaf.com).

Simple boxy shelving units such as the Ikea Kallax range (from £15, ikea.com) are practical, but can also be used for displaying plants, books and records.

Or, for a modern twist, try the John Lewis Dice shelving unit bookcase (£450, johnlewis.com). The company also stocks Japanese brand Like-it’s clear storage products (from £8).

Crockery that rocks 

Japanese pottery has long been a feature of our homes, and a collection by John Lewis is a nod to this. Inspired by woodblock prints, the range includes glassware, plates, mugs and even Christmas decorations. 

It’s all delicate, bright patterns and the infuser mugs by Tokyo Design Studio (from £25) are a highlight.

But elegant motifs are only part of the story. The earthy charcoals, whites and beiges of Hasami Porcelain (hasami-porcelain.com) are a calming, elegant addition to any kitchen.

Hasami teapots start from £65 and mugs from £22 (la-gent.com) – also pick up a copy of Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book Of Tea, written in 1906, an insight into the Japanese ritual of tea-making. Elsewhere, an Oriental Hobnail tea set costs from £22.98 (wayfair.co.uk).

For eating, Denby Pottery has Japanese-inspired bowls from £58 for four in grey and white (denbypottery.com).

Finally, being able to serve Japan’s other favourite drink – the highball – is a must. Try LSA’s Mia Highball glasses (£27 for four, lsa-international.com) or, for something cheaper, a set of six Duralex Prisme highballs is £11.99 at rinkit.com.

Then grab a bottle of Akashi whisky (£28.50, waitrosecellar.com), add ice, stir clockwise 13 times, add soda water, stir again and appreciate another example of elegance and simplicity in Japanese design.

What your home really needs is… a Christmas throw

At this time of year, people fall into two groups: those who believe more is more, with bright lights and decorations aplenty; and others who keep things simple, with a few holly sprigs and a carefully adorned tree.

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

But whether you’re a maximalist or a minimalist, your home will need a Christmas throw because someone in your festive bubble is bound to complain about being cold.

If glitter is your thing, you’ll like the fleece star throw from Marks & Spencer (£25, marksand spencer.com). 

Or snuggle up under Dunelm’s red cable-knit design with a fleecey inside (£60, dunelm.com).

For something more fun, Redbubble has one that reads: ‘This is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching blanket’ (£34.73, redbubble.com).

Going low-key? How about a white and grey reindeer pattern with red pompoms (£40, barkerand stonehouse.com)? 

Or this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw , £99.50, notonthe highstreet.com), which you could use all year round.

Anne Ashworth 

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Extending grace period on checks in North would be ‘problematic’ – Taoiseach

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said it will be “very problematic” if the UK again extends unilaterally the grace period for Northern Ireland Protocol checks.

But speaking on the Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme on Sky News, Mr Martin also insisted a breakthrough between the EU and UK was still possible “if there’s a will there on both sides”.

His comments came after Boris Johnson escalated his dispute with the European Union by warning he will do whatever it takes to keep goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Following talks with the EU’s key figures on Saturday, the British prime minister said he would not hesitate to take unilateral action to protect the position of Northern Ireland in the increasingly bitter row over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The row – dubbed the “sausage war” – could mean chilled meats will not be shipped across the Irish Sea because of EU rules after the end of the month.

The UK is considering extending the current grace period without the consent of Brussels to ensure that sausages and mince can continue to reach Northern Ireland’s shops.

But Mr Martin told Sky News that the “channels do exist to get this resolved”.

He added: “In particular, the Sefcovic/Frost process should be fully explored and optimised to get an agreement and I think the prospects, in my view, if there’s a will there on both sides, and there is a will there from the European Union side I know that, I detect from the British prime minister Boris Johnson that the British government is anxious to get a resolution of this, so I think we should work at it.”

Mr Martin said he believed an SPS agreement (on plant and animal health measures) could remove 80 per cent of protocol checks.

When asked about the possibility of the UK unilaterally extending the grace period for checks, Mr Martin said: “I think it will be very problematic because it’s not about sausages per se, it really is about the fact that an agreement had been entered into, not too long ago, signed off by the British government with the European Union.

“If there’s consistent, unilateral deviation from that agreement, that clearly undermines the broader relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which is in nobody’s interest and therefore that’s why the UK with the EU have to work very hard now in the coming weeks.

“I know the European Union are anxious to resolve this and want to resolve it but they need to see a similar reciprocity from the UK side.”

When asked if the protocol is undermining Northern Ireland’s place within the UK, Mr Martin said: “We’ve never seen the Protocol as a constitutional issue, it doesn’t in any way interfere with the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as defined and articulated in the Good Friday [Belfast] Agreement.

“We’re very clear from the Irish Government perspective on that, but we do believe in seamless trade on the island of Ireland, it makes sense. We believe in seamless trade insofar as we possibly can between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.”

‘A bit of respect’

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab accused EU leaders of trying to undermine the status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.

After talks at the G7 summit in Cornwall between Boris Johnson and key EU figures failed to achieve a breakthrough in the dispute over the implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in Northern Ireland, Mr Raab said the EU was showing a lack of respect.

“What we cannot have is the continuing disruption of trade and effectively try to change the status of Northern Ireland, contrary to the consent and wishes of the people, which is not just contrary to the Northern Ireland Protocol but also to the Belfast Agreement,” he told Mr Phillips on Sky News.

“We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was some kind of different country to the UK. It is not only offensive, it has real-world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation.

“Could you imagine if we talked about Catalonia, the Flemish part of Belgium, one of the lander in Germany, northern Italy, Corsica in France as different countries. We need a bit of respect here.– PA

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