French Country Style in Scotland

As you know, I have been given a monthly column on Decor8 – only the most beautiful interiors blog ever – I chose to share the story of Arlene and David Munro-Wise who live in this 200 year old Georgian farmhouse, located in the magical area of Lunan bay, just north of Dundee.

Please do have a look.

As a couple they share an artistic vision and have a proven track record for rescuing ancient houses. They previously restored their own 400-hundred-year-old home in France and then spent nine years thereafter undertaking restoration projects for clients all over Provence. They then decided to return to Scotland, where Arlene was born and brought up, to be nearer family and old friends.
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The Mysterious Art of Interior Design

Watching the latest episode of The Apprentice, which entailed designing a hotel room interior. I was a mix of bewildered, despairing and ultimately, lost in admiration, for the real life interior designers I work with, who are artists really.

I regularly talk up the work of Jessica Buckley, whose eye for colour and verve with pattern can literally bring any space to life with the flick of her dazzling selection of wallpaper samples. Jessica has opened a shop now on St Stephen street in Edinburgh, which means this incredibly talented lady is even more accessible for advice and consultations.

Glasgow designer, Catherine Henderson, has used a more subdued palette in her Pollokshields living room. Creating an interior scheme that actually works and is really pleasing is very much like doing a painting and not something anyone can do. You can train and you can learn tricks that work and you can educate yourself on trends and styles that you may wish to adopt, but you do need to have some talent in the first place.
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Nettles Cashmere

To celebrate my new monthly column on the beautiful blog Decor8 where I have been asked to showcase contemporary Scottish Interiors, I thought I would post a particularly spectacular Highland home belonging to fashion designer, Jeanetta Rowan Hamilton.

 

Tucked away, north of Helmsdale, far off the beaten track, this jewel like fishing lodge is the perfect destination for anyone wishing to enjoy scenery, fresh air and even a spot of fishing.

The sense of ‘switch off’ you get when you arrive is overwhelming, completely addictive in fact and keeps the owner, Jeanetta and her whippet, Ruby, endlessly coming back for more. There is no internet, no TV, just peace and quiet and a fire to light when you get back from a walk.
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The Magic of Scaramanga

I just cannot get enough of this Fife based, vintage and interiors salvage company Scaramanga. They import beautifully distressed antiques, mainly from India. I was fascinated to hear that they have been the go-to supplier for props buyers around the world for ten years now and was delighted to hear of their latest starring role in the film Victoria and Abdul.

They provided 15 pieces to the film set: trunks and boxes, tins, bowls and leather journals.
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Going back to my roots

A little bit about me – I was born into quite straitened circumstances: my parents were a middle class, educated couple, who, somewhere along the line, had taken a vow of poverty: they met at a communist party meeting in Hampstead – cute I know. This weekend was a nostalgia trip for me because I went on an Abigail Ahern masterclass, in Islington, where I lived for the first three years of my life, in a prefab estate on Brecknock Road.

I stayed in a smart hotel in Bayswater, The Shaftesbury, where my parents later lived, in a beautiful council flat, until they very sadly died when I was 21. After a long train journey, listening to a guy behind me talking Hungarian for the last half of the journey (my Dad was Hungarian) I was predictable a heap by the time I arrived, I phoned my cousin, who has heroically carried on the London baton for us and with whom I normally stay, and who completely understood – thank you Gaby, you are so kind, and I calmed down!

Abigail’s workshop was nothing short of amazing, you are greeted by this beautiful overgrown fig tree in the front garden (yes, she plays with scale a lot.)

The small group walked round enraptured, as we were treated to a house tour.
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