Decor & Design Scotland

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NOVEMBER | 2021

WHITE HOUSE TO WEST END

DIY

Girl with a Drill

Real People Real Homes

Self Build Special

What Have We Dunoon HOME SWEET HOME PERIOD GLAMOUR IN GREENOCK CHRISTMAS STYLING | FIRESIDE ACCESSORIES | MR CHRISTMAS | STYLISH HEATING



E DI TO R’S LET T ER

Welcome

to the winter edition If you’ve ever had that feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew when it comes to tackling renovations, you’re not alone. With the pandemic causing a boom in home improvements, many tradespeople experienced a huge surge in demand and have been booked up for months in advance. Homeowners have therefore been tempted more than usual to go down the DIY route, with varying degrees of skill and knowledge. One couple who certainly had their DIY skills stretched to the limit are Claire and Cal @whathavewedunoon. Read on p8 how the couple ‘accidentally’ bought a derelict Victorian villa, and instead of throwing their hands up in despair, rolled up their sleeves and decided to bring it back to life themselves. And did we mention, it’s been done on a shoestring budget, whilst working as sustainably as possible? A further testament to their ‘can-do’ attitude, the couple also gamely agreed to let us hold our Christmas tree shoot in their unfinished home, see the results on p15. Talking of Christmas trees, Scottish born ‘Mr Christmas’ David Lawson has a dream job if you’re a fan of decorating for the festive season – he accidentally does it for a living. Looking at his jaw-dropping designs it’s not hard to see why celebs and top hotels alike turn to him to bring a touch of festive fabulousness. We go behind the scenes at David’s own home on p45 which is the perfect showcase for his amazing designs and turn to p51 to read his top tips for creating your own stunning tree design this year. We’ve been lucky enough once again to peek into some amazing real Scottish homes in this issue. Read where the inspiration behind John and John @kirkleemansions OTT Christmas décor for their Glasgow townhouse comes from on p54, and hear about their painstaking renovation of the property. Adding style and personality to a new build is Ruth @MrsMacs USP, and her magic decorating touch is more than evident at Christmas, see p32. Susie @girlandadrill is another success story of the recent home-improvements boom, turn to p90 and read how she has transformed her Glasgow flat in the past 18 months with her impressive self-taught DIY skills. Have you ever been house-hunting and turned down a ‘project’ property because you didn’t have the vision to see how it might turn out? Read how Shannon and partner Chris @nunnerytofunnery got on when we introduced her to architect Jon Frullani. Jon’s challenge from us was to see if he could help her solve

her design dilemmas regarding the renovation of their 1980’s manse, see the creative solutions that Jon came up with on p85. Lastly, with winter well and truly upon us, there’s nothing like cosying up in front of a roaring fireplace when the temperature takes a dip outside. Make sure your heating is up to the job with our range of the latest stoves, radiators, and renewables on p101, plus advice from experts on how to choose the right one for your home.

Lindsay Doherty LINDSAY DOHERTY EDITOR

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this issue, let us know what you think! Do you live in Scotland and have an eye for interior design or have you embarked on an amazing renovation? If so drop us a DM on our Instagram @decorandesignscotland or send us an email at info@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk we’d love to hear from you.

Check out our website www.decoranddesignscotland.co.uk Follow us on: Instagram @decoranddesignscotland Facebook @DecorAndDesignScotland Pinterest @decoranddesignscotland.

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CO NT ENTS

CONTENTS 8

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Real homes - Sticks and Stones Cal and Claire ‘accidentally’ bought Jameswood Villa, a derelict house in Dunoon. Despite being advised to knock it down, they rolled their sleeves up and undertook the mammoth task of bringing it back to life. Read their inspiring renovation journey involving a line-up of helpers, a limited budget, hard graft and bucketloads of enthusiasm.

Tree Decorating Tips

See how the shoot turned out when Christmas came early in Dunoon.

Professional tree decorator David Lawson gives us his top tips on how to add your own personality and unique sense of style to your Christmas tree this year. Spoiler – anything goes, as long as you love it!

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Real homes – West Coast Self Build A spectacular glassenclosed home on the Isle of Lewis looks like an architectural dream, but it actually came from a kit! Read how Sarah and husband Ian made a long-held ambition a reality and created their perfect home on the island where they live.

New Traditions Stylish but also liveable, these things don’t always go hand in hand when it comes to decorating a family house. Find out how seasoned interiors Instagrammer Ruth approaches decorating a new-build home with the use of mood boards and colour themes, and makes this balance look effortless.

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Christmas Looks/Christmas Styling

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Real homes - Mr Christmas

We had the (admittedly slightly off-the-wall) idea to hold a Christmas tree shoot at Jameswood, and Cal and Claire happily agreed! We decorated five trees in a range of different styles against the onsite backdrop of toolboxes and hard hats.

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Real homes - From the Whitehouse to the Westend We meet a couple who have turned decorating their Glasgow home at Christmas into an art-form, inspired by a visit to a grand white-painted house overseas (we think you can guess the one). Hear all about their pain-staking renovation project and how their home comes into its own at this time of year.

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Real homes – Home Sweet Home

Bringing some of the original glamour back to a tired period property has been a labour of love for Robert and Lynn. Read how they’ve been inspired by period dramas such as Bridgerton and Downton Abbey to re-create the Victorian splendour in their Greenock house, but with all the comforts of a modern home.

If you’ve ever thought your dream job would be to decorate Christmas Trees, meet a Scot who’s made that dream a reality. David Lawson, a real life ‘Mr Christmas’ shows us around his bright London home and tells us how decorating his own house for Christmas led him to a change in career.

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CONT E NTS

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Real homes – Let There be Light

Sometimes all it takes is some know-how from an expert, and a little vision. Read how an architect helped a couple overcome their conundrum of how to approach an unusual renovation and move forward with their project to turn a former manse into their dream home.

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Real homes - Girl wth a Drill

If you’ve ever been amazed by what can be achieved through DIY, prepare to be mightily impressed by what self-taught Susie @girlandadrill has achiev ed in just eighteen short months in her Glasgow flat.

EDITOR Lindsay Doherty lindsay@decoranddesign.co.uk @homeofwhimsy STAFF WRITERS Ellis Cochrane ellis@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk www.ellistuesday.com EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Mairi Clark mairi@decoranddesign.co.uk @theculturemonkey

ART & DESIGN Lyn Sneddon lyn@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk PHOTOGRAPHER Vicki Allison info@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk @vickiallisonphotography

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WEB EDITOR Kate McNee kate@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk @kate.m.lifestyle

Baby it’s Cold Outside

Heat your home in style with our edit of all the latest in stoves, radiators, renewables and more, plus expert advice on how to choose the right type of heating for every room.

PUBLISHER & MANAGING DIRECTOR Julia Smith julia@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Lana Wilkinson Whyte lana@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk 0141 343 8310 07511 810568 info@decoranddesignscotland.co.uk

Copyright ©2021 Decor and Design Scotland - All Rights Reserved.

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RH WH AT HAV E W E DU NO O N

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ks and Stones BY LINDSAY DOHERTY

Who hasn’t been shopping and accidentally come back with something completely different than the item they went out for? A tub of ice cream instead of washing-up liquid? A bottle of wine instead of a loaf of bread? A derelict house in Dunoon instead of a flat in Glasgow?


RH WH AT HAV E W E DU NO O N Okay, perhaps not! If you haven’t read about Cal and Claire’s ‘accidental’ purchase of a derelict period villa in Dunoon then where have you been? We featured the @whathavewedunoon couple on our website and Instagram some time ago and were blown away by their energy and enthusiasm, not to mention considerable renovation skills. For those who haven’t heard this (somewhat cautionary?) tale, let’s rewind a couple of years to the beginning. Our young couple, Canadian Claire Segeren and Englishman Cal Hunter, who met on a ski season in the French Alps, decided, having only been here once and fallen in love with the country, to move to Scotland. To Glasgow to be specific. After a lot of research, the couple set their hearts on buying a two-bedroom flat in Pollokshields, which was up for sale by auction. While Claire was visiting family in Canada, Cal went to the auction to try and buy it for them. The unfamiliar environment and fast pace of the auction led to Cal prematurely putting his hand up, thus buying an altogether different property, ‘Jameswood Villa’ in Dunoon. They weren’t even sure where Dunoon was. Described as ‘needing upgrades throughout’, Claire remembers her dad saying “what’s the worst that could happen” on hearing the news. Visiting their new ‘home’ however, the couple soon realised that the out-of-date photos of the property had been taken at flattering angles, hiding the extent of the damage to the building. Having been uninhabited and derelict for over 20 years, it had serious structural issues including gaping

holes in the roof, rotten timber throughout and cracks in the external stonework including the main bay window. Structural engineers and council officials alike recommended they tear the building down, deeming it unsalvageable, but the couple decided to embrace the challenge that fate had presented them with, and bring it back to life. Themselves.

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“The couple decided to embrace the challenge that fate had presented them with, and bring it back to life. Themselves”


RH WH AT HAV E W E DU NO O N “We decided to do the work ourselves out of necessity!” Claire explains. “After buying the house, we only had twenty thousand pounds left for renovating Jameswood. We weren’t naïve to the fact that it wasn’t enough to restore it. Although doing it ourselves slows down the project, it has helped us trickle fund the build by earning money working while we renovate”. This seems less impossible than it sounds because Cal is a carpenter by trade, having learned everything from his dad. Having said that, Claire admits, “He had a lot of helpful experience, but nothing could have prepared us for this project’s depth and scale”. Claire admits, “Cal knew from the very start that we would be able to fix Jameswood. When structural engineers and professionals from the council told us to knock the building down, he shrugged it off saying they were being “problem people” instead

of focusing on solutions. It probably would have been unprofessional of them to advise us to carry out the project, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be done. At the beginning of the project, his favourite saying was “it’s just sticks and stones”. With a ‘rag tag’ rota of friends, family and other volunteers to help along the way, in the space of a couple of years, the couple are well underway transforming the crumbling house, working as sustainably as they can. They’ve replaced the roof, playing a giant game of

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“Although doing it ourselves slows down the project, it has helped us trickle fund the build by earning money working while we renovate”


RH WH AT HAV E W E DU NO O N ‘Jenga’ with the exterior stonework, re-wired and re-framed the interior, and are, as Decor and Design Scotland go to print, in the process of plasterboarding. Throughout this whole process, the couple have been living in a tiny touring caravan on-site, with an outdoor kitchen-shelter/social hub bedecked in fairy lights. An outdoor wood-fired bathtub and pizza oven give the temporary living area festival vibes, but Claire admits that the cold winters mean that although it might look bohemian, it’s far from ideal. “Winters here add more complications not just to the project, but to everday

life. I have to will myself out of my warm bed in the morning, which tends to add an hour to my morning routine,” she explains. Their diet is impacted by the cold in winter too she confesses, “We also go from eating very healthy, balanced meals, to eating a lot of oven pizza, because it means we don’t have to cook in the outdoor kitchen, and the oven warms up our caravan at the same time.” The ultimate plan of their renovation project is to restore Jameswood into the form it was originally built, three separate apartments. Cal and Claire plan to live in the upstairs apartment, and the two downstairs apartments will be holiday lets. These will hopefully bring in much-needed income to put towards the build costs. With the rooms starting to look more like rooms now the plasterboard is up, Claire is excited to at last be thinking about interiors. She’s been compiling mood boards for the apartments, deciding on more traditional -looking schemes in the holiday lets with a nod to the villa’s Victorian heritage. For the couple’s own apartment, she is planning a slightly more contemporary style, “lots of natural materials and colours” she says. The couple had hoped to move in by Christmas 2021, but Claire explains, “with Cal away from site working on a carpentry contract right now, it might mean that we can’t get our upstairs apartment finished to move into as we’d hoped”. Unsurprisingly knowing this pair, it won’t mean that Christmas is cancelled, “even last year when the house wasn’t wind-proof and had no internal walls, we still put a tree up. It was freezing but festive,” she laughs, “so no matter what happens, we’ll definitely celebrate in Jameswood. We have windows this year and running water, so it will be positively luxurious in comparison!”

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Follow the couple on Instagram @whathavewedunoon, support them at www.gofundme.com/f/ whathavewedunoon


When it came to planning a Christmas shoot, we had the (admittedly slightly off-thewall) idea, to ask the @whathavewedunoon couple if they’d let us hold it onsite. In typical Cal and Claire style, they were up for the challenge, though Claire admits she wondered if the house would actually look too ‘normal’ for a mid-renovation shoot, “After living with a derelict building and a building site for so long, flooring and plasterboard makes the place look like a regular home to us!” she laughs The couple didn’t bat an eye when the team descended on Jameswood laden with Christmas trees and baubles, but it certainly turned a head or two in Dunoon with more than one puzzled neighbour stopping to ask why a fully decorated Christmas tree stood in the bay window in September! Cal and Claire were brilliant hosts and, it seems, were quite taken with the different trees. “We absolutely loved the looks the team came up with!” she says. “The warmth and festivity really made Jameswood feel like a place we could celebrate with friends and family, no matter how far away from “finished”

our restoration is. It was very inspiring, and we can’t wait to spend Christmas in our new home, fingers crossed for some heating though!” A big thank you to them for being fabulous hosts and letting us bring a touch of festive sparkle to Jameswood Villa for the day. We love the contrast of the grand yet gritty work site complete with power tools and the odd pile of plasterboard, versus the glam baubles and twinkly lighting, and hope you do too.

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Large Silver Mirror Ball £34.99 Gisela Graham www.shop.giselagraham.co.uk

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We’re dreaming of a bright Christmas. More is more for this look and when it comes to the colour scheme, anything goes, as long as it’s bold! Neon, a double dose of fairy lights (white and multi-coloured) and a plethora of kitsch baubles, this tree is all about fun. A pile of disco balls around the base, a bottle of bubbly on ice and it’s time to party!

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Pre-Lit Christmas Tree, £325.00 www.coxandcox.co.uk On the tree: Christmas Champagne Bottle, £8.50 Gold Fizz Christmas Bauble Decoration, £8.00 Glass Sardine Tin Christmas Decoration, £16.00 www.ellajames.co.uk

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Confetti Lights, £36.95 Neon Letter Lights, £15.95 www.sparkle.lighting Three Multi Tasselled Hoop, £15.50 www.coxandcox.co.uk

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Larger Silver Mirror Balls at base of tree: Silver Mirror Ball, Med, £7.49 Silver Mirror Ball, Sml £6.49 Silver Mirror Ball, Lge, £34.99 Glitter Ball £4.49

27 John Lennon Inspired Christmas Tree Decoration £18.00 28 RuPaul Inspired Christmas Tree Decoration £18.00 29 Slash Inspired Christmas Tree Decoration £18.00 www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Ella James 1 10cm Glass Rainbow Christmas Decoration £6.99 24 Glass Ketchup Bottle Christmas Decoration £16.00 www.ellajames.co.uk Audenza 2 Wow Balloon Ornament £39.95 3 Lips Neon Acrylic Box Light £144.95 13 Yellow Flocked Candleabra £54.00 14 Gold “Rock On” Hand £16.95 www.audenza.com Homebase 10 Balloon Dog Bauble £2.00 www.homebase.co.uk Rockett St George 6 George Michael Inspired Christmas Tree Decoration £19.00 18 Freddie Mercury Inspired Christmas Tree Decoration £18.00 23 Meowie Bowie Christmas Tree Decoration £12.00

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Red Candy 4 Mix Tape Bauble £13.00 5 Red Wine & Glass Baubles – Set of 2 £15.00 7 Cher Bauble £16.50 8 Frida Kahlo Bauble £12.00 9 Weiner Pup Hot Dog Bauble £12.00 11 Pink Gin Bauble £8.50 12 Aperol Spritz Bauble £10.00 15 Queen Elizabeth Bauble £15.50 16 Carole Baskin Bauble £14.00 17 Corn Flakes Bauble £13.00 19 Season’s Tweetings Laptop Bauble £11.00 20 Tiger King Bauble £16.00 21 Tape Measure Bauble £7.50 22 Prince Bauble £15.00 25 Greta Thunberg Bauble £16.50 26 Nutella Bauble £15.00 30 Broccoli Bauble £15.00 31 Tequila Shot Baubles – Set of 4 £10.00 www.redcandy.co.uk

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2 A little bit Scandi, a little bit rustic, this tree is all about natural materials and textures, and soothing neutral tones. Decorated with wooden cut-out stars, feather detail baubles and pinecone ornaments. The tree is finished off with simple brown paper wrapped gifts piled around the wicker tree skirt.

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W H AT H AVE W E D UNOON RH NEW Young Pine Pre-Lit Christmas Tree, £325.00 www.coxandcox.co.uk

Homebase 1 White Berries Eucalyptus Christmas Wreath – 50cm £25.00 5 Gold and White Decoupage Boxed Bauble (14 in Box) £12.00 www.homebase.co.uk Jane Keenan Design 2 Festive Spice Hand Poured Soy & Beeswax Candle £18.00 www.janekeenandesign.co.uk

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Cox & Cox 3 Six Jingle Bell Snowflakes £18.50 www.coxandcox.co.uk

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Ella James 4 Gold Glitter Christmas Tree Topper £20.00 6 Set of Two Honeycomb Paper Baubles £8.00 www.ellajames.co.uk

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Gisela Graham 7 Silver Polar Bear Bristle Animal £7.99 8 Silver Reindeer Bristle Animal £7.99 9 Set of 3 Pastel Glass Acorn with Beaded Top Decoration £10.50 10 Set of 2 Hedgehog with Floral Wreath Decorations £9.99 11 Set of 3 Gold Metal Leaf & Berry Decorations £29.99 12 Painted Glass Goose with Wreath £4.99 13 Set of 2 White & Brown Hare Decorations £9.99 14 White, Natural & Silver Clip on Bird £2.49 15 Silver Owl Bristle Animal £7.49 16 Set of 3 Natural Feather Decoration £15.00 17 Set of 4 Matt White Glass Woodland Animals with Wreaths £23.99 18 Set of 2 Mouse with Scarf £9.99 19 Set of 2 Feathered Cream & Gold Owl £12.50 20 Set of 2 Stag with Floral Wreath £9.99 www.shop.giselagraham.co.uk

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Pretty in Pink

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This tree is the definition of ‘pretty in pink’ featuring harmonious tones of blush, copper and gold. The whole look is warm and soft, the baubles are adorned with glitter, metallic accents and etching to add interest. A ladder on-site is adorned with twinkles and oversized baubles and becomes part of the festive decor.

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RH WH AT HAV E W E DU NO O N Tree ft Pembroke Spruce Pre-Lit Premium Christmas Tree -Home Base £250 Homebase 1 Large Gold Shatterproof Baubles 3 pack £4.00 3 Rose Pink Glass Bauble with Butterfly cap £6.00 19 Rose Pink Ceramic Flower Bauble £4.00 23 Rose Gold Butterfly in Heart £4.00 www.homebase.co.uk Sparkle Lights 2 Copper Hanging Starburst £32.50 & Copper Fairy Lights 80 £18.50 4 Standing Star Light £14.95 www.sparkle.lighting Jane Keenan Design 5 Festive Spice Hand Poured Soy & Beeswax Candle £18.00 www.janekeenandesign.co.uk Gisela Graham 6 Large Golden Stag Standing £7.49 www.shop.giselagraham.co.uk

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Dobbies 7 Transparent Pink With Flowers Bauble £11.99 9 Glass Tree with Flower Print Bauble £11.99 15 Glass Hummingbird £12.99 17 Glass Opal Daisy £11.99 18 Glass Bauble with Flower Blush £9.99 26 Glass Sequin Bauble £2.99 www.dobbies.com

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Homesense 8 Ruby Floral Bauble £9.99 www.homesense.com

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Sass & Belle 10 Copper Crackle Glass Bauble Set of 4 £13.00 www.sassandbelle.co.uk Heavenly Homes & Gardens 11 Giant Clear & Antique Copper Glass Bauble £19.50 www.heavenlyhomesandgardens.co.uk Wilko 12 Cocktail Kisses Star Pink £1.00 27 Luxe 10cm Gold Marble Star Top Bauble £4.00 www.wilko.com

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B & M Stores 14 Blush Swirl Finnial Bauble £2.50 24 Swirl Droplet Blush Bauble £2.50 25 Flower Embroidery Bauble £2.50 www.bmstores.co.uk Next 16 Pink Pom Pom Baubles £5 www.next.co.uk

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Memory Lane

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A traditional looking tree in the classic Christmas colours of red and white, this look comes with a big dollop of nostalgia. Baubles are red glass with snowflake motifs, striped candy cane hearts, gingerbread houses and felt mugs of hot chocolate. The tree itself is frosted and full, think a sprinkling of snow on a Winter’s day. Cute elves and a little wooden family in Christmas jumpers around the base complete the trip down memory lane.

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W H AT H AVE W E D UNOON RH 7ft Pembroke Spruce Pre-Lit Premium Christmas Tree, £250 www.homebase.co.uk

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Gisela Graham 1 Gingerbread Man Wreath £6.99 8 Clear Christmas Pudding and Holly Bauble £4.49 13 Set of Two Knitted Scandi Girls £3.00 15 Red & White Christmas Scene Glass Bauble £3.49 19 Set of 2 3D Iced Gingerbread Houses £9.99 22 Laquered Red Glass Bauble with Raised Stars Bauble £3.99 24 Candy Cane Lovehearts £3.49 www.shop.giselagraham.co.uk

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Jane Keenan Design 2 Gonk Hanging Decoration £7.50 3 Wooden Christmas Jumper Figures Man £17.00 & Lady £16.00 4 Hand Turned Wooden Trees Small £14, Medium £17.00 and Large £19.00 6 Driftwood and Wire Robin £12.50 7 Wooden Toadstool £7.50 www.janekeenandesign.co.uk

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Sparkle Lights 5 Pom Pom Lights £33.50 www.sparkle.lighting Cox & Cox 9 Set of Two Felt Mugs £15.50 www.coxandcox.co.uk Dobbies 10 Classic Tea Cup £12.99 18 Merry Christmas Truck £11.99 20 Glass Car with Tree £11.99 www.dobbies.com

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George at Asda 11 Red & White Mug £3.00 12 Wreath on Door Bauble £3.00 17 Candy Cane Bauble £0.50 www.george.com

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Ella James 14 Pinstripe Nutracker Bauble £7.50 16 Frosted Berry & Fir Christmas Wreath £59 www.ellajames.co.uk The Range 21 Red Jewel Droplet or Onion £1.49 23 Matt White & Red Bauble £1.49 www.therange.co.uk

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Okay, we know that not everyone has a hard hat lying around to use as a tree-topper, but this is a nod to the fact that when it comes to your tree, think outside the box! We thought a dose of humour would suit this classic blue and gold scheme down to the ground, particularly because we were shooting Christmas on a work site surrounded by gas canisters and power tools. Sometimes contrasts are the best way to add impact, so a luxe tree pops even more set against a gritty backdrop. It just shows, your house doesn’t need to be ‘finished’ to look fabulous!

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17 NEW Young Pine Pre-Lit Christmas Tree £325.00 www.coxandcox.co.uk

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Homebase 1 Set of 9 Midnight Magic Shatterproof Baubles £9.99 www.homebase.co.uk Dobbies 3 Glass Ball with Glitter Snowflake £2.99 4 Blue and gold layered snowflake £3.99 10 Blue glitter 5 point star with diamante £3.99 13 Blue and gold ribbed glass teardrop £4.99 14 Cream Glass Ball with Gold Glitter Band £3.99 16 Glitter Ball Bauble £2.99 17 Textured Blue and Silver Spiral Glass Ball £4.99 18 Blue Paper Icicle Ornament £4.99 19 Glass Ocean Blue Scarab Beetle £11.99 20 Snowflake Glass Bauble Gold £2.99 21 Glass Gold and Diamond Bee £15.99 www.dobbies.com

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The Range 5 Shiny Gold Glitter Bauble by Majestic Metallics £1.49 11 Shiny Gold Floral Bauble by Majestic Metallics £1.49 12 Gold Geometric Bauble by Majestic Metallics £1.79 22 Shiny Gold Jewelled Bauble £2.29 23 Dark Blue Swirl by Aurora £1.49 www.therange.co.uk Very 2, 7 & 8 All from 62 Piece Candlelight Bauble Set £19.99 6 Pre-Lit Candlelight Christmas Wreath £39.99 9 Set of 6 Velvet Look Ribbed Baubles £17.99 www.very.co.uk TK Maxx 15 Peacock Dark Blue Green Feather Bauble £4.99 www.tkmaxx.com

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Broad Vision Careful Thought Hand Crafted Design

Westbuildingcontracts@hotmail.com

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New Traditions

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MRS MAC’S RH

She’s one of our favourite Instagrammers, having upsized her family’s home four times in eighteen years. We grabbed Ruth - in the middle of her rushing around with her eldest son going to university and herding their menagerie of three dogs and four cats (!) to discuss all things new build, seasonal decorating and embracing a blank slate. BY ELLIS COCHRANE

Looking at Mrs Mac’s beautiful home, it’s easy to think she hired a team of decorators or bought ‘looks’ from designer stores. However, the stunning décor that she has created are a creative mix of high street buys and online finds. With over 80,000 followers of her Instagram account, she’s managed to become a bit of a ‘go to’ for advice on how to achieve designer looks easily. Before she started her Instagram account, 47-year-old Ruth’s home had a real mix of styles. Looking back, she feels like they just didn’t flow very well together, so now, she very much sticks to one style throughout her home, which she definitely prefers. When asked to define her style Ruth replies “It is more traditional with a touch of sophistication but also comfortable,” she says. “I want everyone to feel like they can put their feet up and relax in our home.” Much like all our interior fans, she gets inspiration from Instagram and confesses to a bit of an obsession with Pinterest. As her family has moved four times, each time upsizing, planning has been essential. Ruth likes to make a plan before even thinking about picking up a paintbrush or screwdriver. On Pinterest in particular, she always creates a mood board before she designs any space.

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RH MRS M AC ’S

Many people would be daunted by having to start from scratch with a house, but Ruth loves it. “Having a blank canvas to work with is very exciting when you move into a new build,” she says enthusiastically. “Every time we’ve moved, our first priority has been the children. We have four children so it was important to us as a family to have their bedrooms all decorated before we started on the rest of the house.” Kids choosing their décor? “My children are very vocal about what they like and don’t like!” she laughs. “It’s always very much a joint project when we do their rooms. Pinterest is fab for looking through with them to get ideas and we make room boards to save all the ones we like. From that, I make a very simple design board putting things together from their choices. Thankfully, they’ve always been very happy with them!”

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“Last year we gave our kitchen a DIY makeover”

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One regret with their most recent home was picking their kitchen off-plan. “I originally picked a dark brown gloss kitchen,” she says. “White worktops and wall cabinets. After a few years, I really started to dislike it! The gloss cupboards were a nightmare to keep clean too! Last summer we gave our kitchen a DIY makeover as a temporary fix until we can afford to fully replace it in the future. I love the Shaker style, so we added MDF strips to the existing doors, painted and added new handles. It has totally transformed the kitchen for such little costs.” When it comes to cleaning, how on earth with a husband, four kids, three dogs and four cats can the concept of having white sofas in your family room, and a white patterned rug in the kitchen work in practice? It looks amazing but in reality? Ruth laughs. “Washable covers!” she says. “We have the IKEA FARLOV 2 seater sofa, chair and footstool in the family room. The covers are easily removed and you just chuck them in the washing machine. Our rugs in the kitchen and family room are from an American company, www.ruggable.com, and they’re also washable.” Ruth’s down-to-earth attitude is carried over to where she gets all her interior design accessories from. “I love high streetshopping,” she says. “H&M Home, Dunelm, NEXT, M&S, TK Maxx, The Range, Matalan etc. In fact, any high street store that sells homeware and I’m there!” With four children – Holly (21), Blair (17), Ava (14) and Finn (9) – comes lots of clutter and Ruth admits that new builds don’t exactly lend themselves to storage. “We’re lucky to have 5 double bedrooms so have plenty of space for wardrobes/ drawers/general storage for us and the children,” she says. ”We loved the plan of the house , I’d always really liked townhouses as they feel more spacious. As well as our master en-suite , our 2 eldest both have their own bathrooms , so no queues for showers in the morning thankfully! “We turned our cupboard under the stairs into a compact boot room, which stores all our coats and shoes. In the kitchen, we added a worktop pantry using 2 IKEA IVAR cabinets mounted on top of one another. We used another 2 in the utility room, wall mounting them. They’ve given us so much more storage.”

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Ruth’s favourite room or space changes quite often, but right now, her current favourite is their recent garage conversion. The couple transformed an underutilised space into a games room and bar. “Our double garage is an L shape, so it’s super long at the back,” she says. “Before we moved in, we had the housebuilder, Avant Homes, put a wall up at the top to give us a separate room. We then turned that into a six-seater home cinema.” However, this still left them with a double garage that they were just using for storage. “A few months ago, I thought it would make a great space for our children to use, now that they’re getting older,” says Ruth. “We cleared out the garage, apart from an old Gumtree kitchen that we had bought years ago to store stuff. We had a few leftover pieces from the kitchen that we used to make the frame of the bar before boxing it in, painting and adding a worktop. I gave them a makeover by painting them, adding new handles and worktops. It’s turned into a great space and feels like we have an extra room. As well as the bar, we have a TV with a gaming area, a chill-out area with a sofa, pool table and football table. As well as using it as a family, our children love having their friends around to use it too.”

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RH MRS M AC ’S Ruth’s love of interiors goes back to her childhood. “I painted and decorated my own bedroom multiple times when I was still at school,” she says. “My love of budget DIY definitely comes from my mum. She was a single, working mum. I remember about forty years ago, painting her kitchen cupboards to give them a makeover and getting creative with things we already had to save money.” It’s easy to tell that Ruth is comfortable with experimenting with colour. “I’ve always loved dark and bold colours, although I love light and bright spaces too,” she says. “Throughout our home is a mix of both, which I think helps balance it out. In some rooms, we have just one dark feature wall and have kept the rest of the walls neutral. In our master bedroom, I painted the whole room in Farrow & Ball Studio Green and I love it. It makes the room feel very cosy.” One thing that stands out about the bedrooms is her unique “hanging pillow” headboards. “That was so easy to do,” she says. “I bought a roll of faux leather tape from eBay and a rivet kit from Amazon. You make a loop with the tape, getting the right height/length you want for the headboard and use the rivet kit to attach them. On the four poster bed, we simply looped the tape around the top bar before attaching the loops together with the rivet kit. In Blair’s room we had to attach it to the wall, so we had to use a stronger faux leather tape (similar to a belt) and screw it into the wall. You then simply add pillows, I used a long body pillow in our son’s room.”

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MRS MAC’S RH The family’s living room looks an oasis of calm and relaxation. Warm tones and bold accent colours are complimented by a centrepiece fireplace feature. “We added that ourselves,” says Ruth. “It’s an electric stove. Lewis my Husband designed and built the built-ins almost 4 years ago, and at the end of last year, we decided to add the fireplace. We actually were just going to have some logs in the alcove but then I spotted this electric stove online. I really liked the style of it and the fact all the controls are hidden unlike on most electric fires. It also came with a faux flue pipe which really makes it look more like a real stove.” The main wall feature in the living room is a gorgeous antique gold frame that shows different pieces of art – which can be adjusted to the season – making it perfect for Christmas decorating. However, there’s a secret. “It’s a TV!” laughs Ruth. “It’s a 55” Samsung Frame TV. I’ve always loved the look of them and the fact you can add art to make them look like an actual picture. Our living room TV is a big focal point as it’s in the centre of the wall so having The Frame has made such a difference, especially after adding the Deco TV frame in antique gold. People are amazed when they see it and can’t believe it’s actually a TV!”

When it comes to the festive season, Ruth is the consummate planner, starting mood boards with colour themes a few months in advance, which as you can see from her beautiful arrangements and photographs really does pay off. For Christmas 2020, she used navy, dark green and metallic accents and as she loved it, she’s NOVEMBER 2021 |

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MRS MAC’S RH going to use the theme again this year, but as she likes to try something new every year as well it won’t be exactly the same. Talking about themes, Ruth doesn’t become a slave to any particular theme. “I think allowing it to take shape more organically can really deliver the best results,” she says. A Christmas garland to go around their front door has been something Ruth has wanted for a while but was put off by the fact that she would need to start making holes in the brick surround. Last year, Ruth used her ingenuity and bought and installed a pressure mounted pole to fit inside the front door surround instead. She then attached faux garlands and decorations to it and it turned out great. She’ll definitely be trying something similar again this year too. As much as she loves the look and the smell of a real Christmas tree, Ruth and her family always opt for fake. With the family’s three pet cavapoos - Ruby, Teddy and Mabel - happy to pose as Christmas accessories, and four cats - Skye, Tabitha, Dobby and Bo - not so keen, you can see why a fake tree takes all the hassle out the cats maybe wanting a shot at attention and climbing a real one! In the past, the family have actually had a couple from Balsam Hill and The White Company that would make you seriously question whether they were in fact real, instead of faux! When it comes to the trend of having multiple Christmas trees versus just the one, Ruth has experience of both ends of the scale. “One year I think we had around ten trees throughout the house. However, last year we had just the one main tree and I actually preferred it that way,” she says. So the big question? Do you tinsel? “No” she laughs. “I have so many lovely memories of decorating with tinsel when I was a child, but it’s not for us!” All of the projects that she and her husband have taken on since moving in have been done by themselves. “I’m very lucky to have a handy husband who is happy to have a go at DIY. Whereas I love painting, so I do all of that around the house,” she says. Her advice for anyone else moving into a new build or undertaking a renovation? “I’d recommend taking your time and living in your new build for a while before making any big decor decisions,” she says firmly. “I speak from experience that it’s really exciting looking at the floor plans of your new home and making decisions on your furniture, layout, etc., but it’s not until you’re actually living in your new home that you really get a feel for what will actually work (and what won’t).” Finally, she’s an advocate of taking risks. “Don’t be afraid to tackle jobs on your own around the house,” she says. “Yes, you might make mistakes but that’s okay and ultimately, you will learn from it!” As for upcoming projects? “I’d love to tackle our main bathroom next,” she says. “We’ve lived here for 8 years and haven’t even painted the walls in there yet!”

NOVEMBER 2021 |

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2

1

5

4

SHOP

6

LOOK the

1. 3 LIGHT PENDANT CEILING LIGHT

7. FARROW & BALL STUDIO GREEN

£275, Laura Ashley Lighting and Mirrors

2. LANTERN £75, www.nisiliving.co.uk 3. SUREFLAME KESTON STOVE £128, www.fireplaceworld.co.uk

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£28, www.farrow-ball.com

8. DANTE REAL LEATHER POUFFE

£74.99, www.beanbagbazaar.co.uk

9. COWHIDE BROWN & CREAM RUG

£97.99, Wayfair, www.wayfair.co.uk

4. ROUND RATTAN BASKETS £95, www.idyllhome.co.uk 5. 3 RATTAN TRUNKS

10. TISA FRENCH GREY RUG

£179, www.mainefurniture.co.uk

£229, Ruggable, www.ruggable.co.uk

11. HESTER KING FOUR POSTER BED £2995,OKA UK, www.oka.com

6. THE FRAME, SAMSUNG 55”

8

£1199, Samsung, www.samsung.com

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| NOVEMBER 2021



RH MR CHRI ST M AS

Mr Christmas BY LINDSAY DOHERTY

Image: David Lawson Design/The Bauble Collection


Image: David Lawson Design/The Bauble Collection

If you’re one of those people who enjoy decorating a perfectly styled Christmas tree every year, you might have thought “I could do this for a living”. You might have laughed then, thinking nobody actually does this for a job (except maybe an elf). Well, meet David Lawson, who, almost accidentally, does just that. We spoke to David about how he came to start his Christmassy business, what he misses about his homeland, Scotland, and the North London home he shares with partner Peter and Laurel, the Fox Terrier. Born in Scotland, David grew up in East Kilbride before moving to Stirling to study Marketing and Business Law at university. After graduating, he moved to London to work in Marketing, but always had a passion for interior design. To scratch this ‘itch’, he enjoyed decorating and styling his home, particularly at Christmas, and posting the photos on his Instagram account. He couldn’t afford expensive, designer baubles, and couldn’t find what he was looking for in the shops at a lower price-point, so he bought basic versions and painted them to tie in with whatever scheme he was creating. Creating his own inexpensive baubles meant that he could be lavish in his designs and bring a sense of abundance to them, not being constrained by how many he could use. His stylish Christmas decorating proved so popular that soon he was inundated with DMs from corporate clients and celebs alike, asking him to design their Christmas décor professionally.

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RH MR CHRI ST M AS Fast forward a few fabulous festive schemes later, he decided to take a risk, set up his business David Lawson Design, and follow his passion for decorating and see where it would take him. He now works full-time on his business, which incorporates year-round event and display design, as well as Christmas décor. His beautifully decorated trees have graced the homes of celebs (he’s understandably tight-lipped on names but check his Instagram feed for a few famous faces), as well as top hotels and corporate spaces. Favourite installations include a tree at the Universal Music Group head office in London, his trees for them have always included a music element, such as speakers wrapped up in bows under the tree or drum kits, “it adds a sense of fun” he says. Asked what his kick-off point is for designing a Christmas scheme, he explains “I love to go and see the space. I don’t gravitate towards trends in Christmas décor, I like to compliment the architectural features of the space”. He gives an example of another of his favourite projects, the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow, “they’ve got the most phenomenal black and white striped marble floor in the foyer, so I wanted to use that element of the black and white stripes with the tree and we used striped baubles I painted myself to tie in. They’ve got amazing gold cornicing too, so we also picked that up in the tree as a complementary colour.”

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“Davids eye for design and styling is evident throughout the home….”

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MR CH R I STMAS RH

David’s eye for design and styling is evident throughout the home he shares with Peter. A Victorian ºterraced house located in London’s Crouch End, it was in fairly good condition when they bought it 12 years ago. The couple decorated throughout to put their own stamp on it, and created a larger bathroom in one of the former bedrooms, changing it from a three to a two-bed in the process. In terms of the overall décor style of the house, he describes it as “light and bright”. This is definitely apparent in the new kitchen the couple installed in the existing rear extension, which, with its fully glazed roof and white-painted floorboards, is flooded with natural light. David explains that he designed the kitchen with help

from the planning studio at IKEA, who supplied the cabinet carcasses, and he finished it off with mid-grey cabinet doors from Naked Doors, which are designed to fit IKEA kitchens. Brass handles from Dowsing & Reynolds and a slim open shelf above the sleek white quartz worktop completes a fresh and timeless look, which David styles with seasonal foliage and natural wooden elements to add warmth. Another area that David’s worked his styling magic on is the garden. “It’s a very small garden, as most gardens are down here” he laughs. He’s stuck to a tight colour scheme of green and white planting and added some clever touches like a criss-cross ivy trellis to disguise a plain fencing panel. The overall effect is simple but impactful, “it’s been a labour of love but we’re getting there”. When asked if the home is now finished, David laughs, “it never really ends, if you enjoy it and you’ve got an eye for interiors then it’s always fun to think about what else you could do next”. Despite having lived in London for over a decade now, David comes up to Scotland often, “I miss everything about it, to be honest, the longer I’m away from there, the more I miss it”. Pandemic aside, he travels up often, and luckily a lot of his friends live in Denniston, in the East End of Glasgow, “A really cool neighbourhood”

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he says, so he has a place to stay on his many visits. His mum has also recently bought a period cottage in Hamilton which needs a lot of work doing to it, “so I’ll be up, even more, to help with that” he laughs. When asked what projects are in the pipeline, David says he has lots of exciting installations coming up, including designing the Christmas decorations at the Kimpton Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow again this year (which anyone can go in and see) and he’s been working on a collaboration with luxury Christmas decoration company The Bauble Collection. Whatever the f u t u re h o l d s , h e s ays h e ’s j u s t g ra t e f u l to be able to spend time doing what he enjoys, “it truly is an amazing job, I feel so lucky with the clients that I have, and it’s wonderful to spend time in these amazing spaces doing what I love to do.”

Follow David on Instagram at @davidlawsondesign and @d_law_son and his website www.davidlawsondesign.co.uk 50

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DAVID LAWSON’S TOP 10

Christmas Tree Decorating Tips: 1 If you are using an artificial Christmas tree, take the time to fluff out every single branch, it’s not the most exciting of activities, but honestly it makes the world of difference to the final look. This goes for garlands and wreaths as well.

2

Don’t throw away any artificial trees or garlands you might have but no longer use. These can be dismantled and used to fill out any gaps in your current tree design. This is especially helpful if a tree is positioned in front of a window - you don’t want to see the light from your window coming through your tree. You can also use these branches to add volume and height to your overmantel and staircase creations.

3 I like the simplicity of using only a few different styles of decoration on my trees, but I tend to use these in large quantities to add the ‘wow’ factor.


4

5

The higher you go up in your tree the smaller your decorations should become, so big ones towards the bottom and small ones towards the top.

Images Left//Bottom : David Lawson Design/The Bauble Collection

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Get creative, if you want to try a different colour theme this year, paint your old baubles to match your new look.

6

Don’t be afraid to play with scale, I love using giant baubles and giant bows on my trees to create visual interest and to add a sense of drama.

Get imaginative with your tree topper, I’ve used antique armillary spheres, weathervanes and neon flamingos as tree toppers, find something unique that finishes off your tree and delights your guests. The same goes for items around the base of your tree, alongside your beautifully wrapped gifts don’t be scared to include things that add a sense of fun and playfulness to your design.

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Texture is important, I often add curly willow branches and eucalyptus foliage to my trees, while they don’t grab too much attention at first glance, they add to the feeling of a full, luxurious and well-executed tree.

Image: David Lawson Design/The Bauble Collection

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If you’ve got lots of special and sentimental decorations you should keep them on display. Most of my clients do, and I love to work with these cherished pieces. We’ll sometimes add to these decorations, or if they do fancy a bit of a change-up, we’ll look at where else in their home we can display them.

Ultimately my biggest piece of advice would be if you like it then absolutely go for it, and that can be anything from mega over-the-top trees to something more pared-back and minimalistic. If it’s your style and you love it, then it’s the perfectly decorated tree.

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From the

White House

to the

West End BY LINDSAY DOHERTY


Decor & Design Scotland is used to people citing Instagram or Pinterest as inspiration, but viewing the beautiful Kirklee Mansion in Glasgow’s West End, we couldn’t believe when its owners told us they got their Christmas inspiration from none other than the [now former] residents of The White House.

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RH KIR KL EE M A N SI O N

Walk around the West End of Glasgow in December after the light’s faded, and you can play a fun game. Peer into the windows of tenement flats and townhouses alike and see thousands of sparkling fairy lights and huge Christmas trees decorated to within an inch of their lives. The game is to rate each tree out of 10, based on size, effort, number of ornaments and overall style. The owners clearly mean to show off their festive fabulousness, with curtains and shutters left open for all to see, and standards are high. There’s one home though, that just goes one step further, you surely can’t fail to have given it a perfect ten if you’ve played the game. That’s if you’ve been able to squeeze your way past the gleeful children having their photos taken outside it, or influencers trying to get the perfect shot of it for the ‘gram. It’s Jason and John’s home in Kirklee Mansion, Kelvinside, and they put as much thought and effort into decorating for Christmas, as they’ve done with restoring the rest of their period townhouse. American Jason Mokrovich and Glaswegian John Dawson clearly remember where they were when they first heard about what was to become their new home. Jason laughs, “We were in the Grosvenor Cinema in Ashton Lane, watching Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016), and our friends mentioned developers were about to start work on Kirklee Mansion, just minutes away.” The couple

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K IRK LE E MANSI ON RH visited the site the very next day, and were smitten, “We spent the rest of the day searching the internet for building plans,” says Jason. “John started drafting our ideas in AutoCad and we were at the developer’s door before they opened the next day”. The rest, as they say, is history. John and Jason live in one of the three homes created from the original townhouse - No.9 Lowther Terrace, which is now part of Kirklee Mansion. Built in 1904, the house’s first owner was Sir George Arthur Mitchell, a coal-master, mining engineer and a director of colliers and banks, who lived there for 40 years. In the 1940s, the three houses were connected to create a care home for the elderly, then it became a children’s home. Sadly it lay empty for decades and fell into disrepair. The couple could immediately see the home’s potential however. “When we walked into the main salon, over 10-metres long, and saw

the breath-taking double-height barrelled ceiling with detailed plaster reliefs of grapes, vines and over twenty birds across its entirety, we knew this was it,” says Jason. Even before moving in, Jason and John knew they wanted to retain all the original features, but also wanted to benefit from all that the modern world could bring to it (climate control, double glazing, new electrics, plumbing, gas, insulation, LED illumination etc). Jason explains that this influenced a lot of decisions on architecture, design and materials. While they have both put their heart and soul into the restoration, they have been wise enough to know when to call in the experts. “All of the plans, be it electrical, building, plumbing etc. are done by John,” says Jason. “My focus is more on colours, textures and furniture. John covers the project management, but all the work is done by specialists in their field (or via the developer’s vendors)”. Favourites amongst the many suppliers involved in their project have been: Crittall for recreating new NOVEMBER 2021 |

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RH KIR KL EE M A N SI O N

metal double glazed windows; Farrow & Ball for paint; McArthur Decorators Ltd. for all paintwork including detailed plaster reliefs and gilding; Kitchens International; ASD Electrical; Porcelanosa; Bang & Olufsen (Glasgow); Keith Robertson Landscaping; AGS Fireplaces & Chimneys and WERE (www.were.co.uk) for conservation and contemporary tiling, including complex mosaics. Despite not being in the industry themselves, their planning and research are meticulous. “We always do a lot of research,” John explains. “We create mood boards, research files, fabric samples, folders of reference materials and we also use Pinterest boards, but still use our research. For this property, we viewed thousands of images from ‘times gone by’ about colour themes, gilding, fabrics and styles to ensure we found a way to reflect the period yet adopt the modern uplift we planned.” A favourite transformation so far has been the renovation of the octagonal feature bedroom. “It’s not just special because of the original full-length mirrors in each corner, or the restored budding roses plaster reliefs or the wooden panel walls we recovered,” Jason explains. “But it’s also due to its serene décor and period furniture.” The couple feel this room particularly comes into its own at this time of year. “It’s such a romantic period room,” Jason says. “And at Christmas, it features the family tree with Wendell August Forge ornaments and the Fortnum & Mason musical advent calendar over the fireplace with wildlife statues and a winter berry garland. It feels so festive.” The couple’s Dalmatian is the happy recipient of the dog treats inside the calendar, “Mitzi Belle sprints across the house when she hears an advent door chime, it can even stop her from barking at the front door”, he laughs.

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K IRK LE E MANSI ON RH

An example of their total dedication to restoring the beauty of the original features was when one of the house’s most notable features was damaged by a contractor. The living room’s French triple-etched mirror from 1904, with grapevines and hares, sits above the fireplace with floor-toceiling columns and carved ribbons and florals. The rare Victorian glass was handcrafted by trades and knowledge long gone. Unperturbed, the couple contacted a global glass expert, Professor Bender, in Wales, who spent two years researching and experimenting with different techniques, before finally delighting the couple with a replacement section that blends in seamlessly. Future plans for the house include upgrading the bathrooms (Jason has his eye on Drummonds for the project) and adding more artwork to the walls, but that, as John says, is a waiting game, as they tend to only buy art when the right piece comes along.

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RH KIR KL EE M A N SI O N For now, the pair are enjoying the traditions of the festive season in their home and all it brings, and for Jason and John, this means ‘Operation Christmas’, which started in September. It begins with the ordering of several Christmas trees, plus Blooms and Buds Pine garlands and then some new additions to their growing Fortnum & Mason festive ornament collection. With Jason being American, he is enamoured with traditional aspects of British culture, John explains, and this, in part, explains the nods to Christmases past and gusto for festive decorating. “Outside the townhouses, we have five Christmas trees, all hand-picked by Eden Mill Farm,” he says. “We have our showpiece ‘Village Church’ tree, around 16ft in the front garden, viewable from Great Western Road, with 4000 lights. Then the two front terraces have a tree each. The front door has another two trees, complete with another 4000 lights. Indoors, we have two in our home, the main tree in our house is liberally decorated in gilded, gold and hand-crafted

decorations from Fortnum & Mason, and yes, that’s another 4000 lights!” For Jason and John, the reward for all of this effort is the joy they get from seeing the young and young-at-heart enjoying their festive displays, they welcome the ‘peering in’ to the windows, their displays are made to be enjoyed by all.

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One other key inspiration behind the couples ‘more is more’ style of Christmas décor, may lie in a visit Jason made in 2016 to a festive dinner in another grand period property, this one in Jason’s homeland. Jason recounts the evening he spent with his brother at The White House, as a guest of then -President Barack Obama and his family. “The whole evening was magical,” he says. “Even before you entered The White House, you had to pass under a suspended gift box bow, and then pass the most magical winter wonderland of Christmas trees (which anyone can tour by the day), but then we moved into the private quarters and got to roam the house. My brother and I chose to pose (with cognac in hand) with every former Presidents’ portrait - that took some time (and cognac)! “The décor was classic, exuberantly luxurious – think fresh pine, spiced dried fruits, frankincense, crackling open fires, cinnamon and cascades of decorations heavy on green, white, gold and red, all spaced across well-trodden patinated marble floors. The evening was intimate, personal, and we loved meeting the family, the dog and great people who supported the Obamas most closely.”

Looking back at their own move to this house, and what it’s meant to their lives, it becomes a love story to the West End. John explains “We wanted a social home, suitable for entertaining, but it had to be in the West End, so we could enjoy a true 15-minute community – meaning everything is no more than a short walk - be it hipster coffee, Michelin star restaurants, night classes at universities, parks for our dog, dining (literally from every continent), trendy street food, modern quality convenience but also a large selection of bespoke and artisan vendors. Literally, we wanted to be able to walk to the butcher, baker and candlestick maker”. John’s a true West End convert. “You know, it’s often said three things count; location, location, location,” he says. “And I think the West End still proves this in every way. As the overall sense of ‘lifestyle change’ we’ve enjoyed here, is evident every day. Me, Jason and Mitzi live happier lives here, and that’s a powerful thing to attribute to ‘a place’, but it’s the truth.”

Follow Jason and John on Instagram @kirklee_mansion NOVEMBER 2021 |

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RH KIR KL EE M A N SI O N

Shop the Look

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1. CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS Christmas Carousel Ornament - £19.95 Embroidered Sequin Swan - £18.00 Embroidered Sequin Hare - £18.00 Embroidered Piccadilly Building - £44.95 Embroidered Sequin Butterfly - £20.00 Cake Stand Christmas Decoration - £24.95 Christmas Champagne Candle - £10.00 Clock Christmas Ornament - £19.95 Schnauzer, Sausage Dog & Fox Terrier Set - £40.00 (ALL Fortnum & Mason)

6

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2. LARGE WREATH WITH RED BOW

8

£54.99

50 WARM WHITE LED BATTERY OUTDOOR MICRO LIGHTS £12.99, Lights4fun

7. HARRIS 6.5FT POTTED ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREE

3. OVAL ROOM BLUE ESTATE EMULSION, from £49.50 for 2.5l, Farrow & Ball

£189.00, Dobbies

4. WEST ELM PENELOPE BEDSIDE TABLE

8. FILLED WOODEN HOUSE ADVENT CALENDAR £135.00, Fortnum & Mason

£399 at John Lewis

5. LIMITED EDITION SET OF CAROUSEL AND 70G AMBER (AMBRE) AND WOOD FIRE (FEU DE BOIS) CANDLES £94 Diptyque

6. VERSAILLES GOLD GILT DRESSING TABLE - CUT OUT £955.00, The French Bedroom Company

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9

9. WERNSIDE 6’ HIGH END SUPER KING SIZE SLEIGH BED £1943.99, Made to Last



This spectacular glass enclosed home on the Isle of Lewis looks like an architectural dream, but it actually came from a kit and was the culmination of a long-held ambition to make a home on the island, where Sarah and her husband, Ian, both originate from. BY MAIRI CLARK

Through The L 64


Looking Glass 65


RH WEST COAST SE L F B U I L D The first thing that strikes you about Sarah’s beautiful home overlooking a loch in Lewis is the floor to ceiling windows. With three children under the age of five, the idea of those sticky little fingerprints would make the average person baulk, but Sarah just laughs it off. “Everyone said “you’ll be constantly washing the windows,” she smiles. “I suppose some people might but I’ve found them very easy to keep clean.” The dream house started to be planned in 2017, when the couple – who then had just two children Joshua and Reuben – took ownership of 1/2 acre of a family plot of land with a view to the build. “There’s quite a culture of self-build in the islands,” Sarah says. “The kit came in three stages, and once we had planning permission it actually went quite quickly.” While the initial stages were being put in place, the family lived in another house on the other side of the island, and at the final stages moved in with family nearby. “We originally moved out of the

other house with a view to selling it,” she says. “But we’re now renting it out.” Looking at the house, you’d think that the striking contemporary look was something Sarah aimed for at the very beginning, however she feels the house is quite traditional. “I think, apart from the window at the front, the house is very traditional,” she says. “Other houses are very angular and futuristic, but ours had to be practical too.” One of those practicalities is the laundry chute, which is an essential for a busy family of five! An unnerving thing about the house is that there are no curtains on the massive feature window, although the only voyeurs would be livestock!

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W E ST COAST S E LF BUI LD RH

“The curtains are going to cost an absolute fortune!” Sarah laughs. “We’ll get around to them eventually. It’s something that is just in your head! We do have neighbours. I don’t mind when it’s light outside, but when it’s dark!” When the couple started to look at getting utilities etc in, they discovered that the cost implications started to become crazy. “Water wasn’t too bad,” Sarah says. “Electricity was a big shock! It was expected to be around £3k but then we got a bill for £10k! That wasn’t to dig anything, that was just the connection. We had to pay the digger on top of that to put the cable in! It was basically because they had put a transformer in two or three years ago for another house and that had cost £25k or something so that was them clawing back some of the money. I fought it as much we could and it got escalated to someone senior in SSE and we were directed to the SSE Trust, so we got half of it back.” The four bedroom, two bathroom house will eventually allow the young family’s trio of boys – Joshua and Reuben have been joined by Nathan – to have their own rooms. Nathan – who is only one - doesn’t have his yet, as it’s downstairs and currently serves as the obligatory junk room. There is also a bathroom downstairs, which has yet to be finished.

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Under new planning laws, all new selfbuild houses have to have disabled access, including a disabled toilet. “The kitchen also had to be fitted to allow wheelchair access,” Sarah says. “So there’s quite a lot of room around the island and in front of the cooker etc. It was all quite complicated.” The family moved into the house in February regardless of not having the completion certificate as the housing inspector was satisfied that all the planning conditions were in place and the house was safe to live in. The house is also sustainable, with the couple obtaining a n i n t e re s t - f re e l o a n f ro m H o m e Energy Scotland to install air-sourced heating. A wood-burning stove was in the initial plan, but got cut from the budget! “We have underfloor heating downstairs and radiators upstairs,” says Sarah. “We have a hearth under the floor so if we decide to put in a wood-burning stove later, it will be quite easy.”

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That the striking contemporary look was something Sarah aimed for at the very beginning, however she feels the house is quite traditional.

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As the weather in Lewis can get blustery to say the least, Sarah recommends not getting windows with the kit if you live somewhere windy. “We used a local company called Nessglaze,” she says. “You have to actually request the kit without the windows, but we used Nessglaze as they know what the weather is like and the supplied windows would never sustain our weather.” All the work in the house was completed by Sarah and her husband, with him laying the laminating flooring with help from friends. “We were helped by family to paint the whole house,” Sarah says. “We painted it all white, just for ease and to save time!” At the beginning of the project, there was a project manager but once the foundation etc was set, Sarah took on the role, which coincided with Nathan being born. “It was a constant round of trying to juggle Nathan with meeting tradesmen etc and also looking after Reuben and Joshua!” she laughs.

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W E ST COAST S E LF BUI LD RH The essentials for the house such as the kitchen units etc all came from the mainland, and the majority of the other furniture came from their old house, but all the accessories and soft furnishings were sourced in Lewis. All the tradesmen that worked on the house were Lewis-based. On her Instagram page there is a slightly misleading picture of a Christmas tree filling the huge window, however this will be the family’s first Christmas in the house. “We did have an idea that we’d have been moved into the house before Christmas,” she says. “My aunt sent the Christmas tree up thinking we’d be in, but I can’t remember what happened and we decided not to, which was the best decision. I just put the tree up for fun!”

This Christmas, plans for the family are still up in the air. “I think after the last couple of years no one wants to make plans,” she says. “My mum and family will probably come round and it will just be nice to finally be in our home for Christmas!”

Follow Sarah and her amazing house on @westcoastbuild on Instagram

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As part of the National Islands Plan The Scottish Government has announced grants of £50,000 to people wanting to either move to the islands or remain there and build property, unfortunately Sarah and her family didn’t benefit from any such financial help but maybe you could? https://www.gov.scot/ info@islandsteam.scot

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SHOP

LOOK

1

the

1. LIFETIME BEACH HOUSE CABIN BED

4

3

£2365, www.cuckooland.com

2. LIBERTY INDUSTRIAL STYLE DOOR/S Single Door – from £319.60 www.directdoors.com

3. INVICTUS POLISHED PORCELAIN TILES £23.99 per sqm www.tilemountain.co.uk

5

4. KINGSBRIDGE GREY PATTERNED FLOOR TILE

(£25.00/m), Victorian Plumbing

5. VICTORIA METRO WALL TILE

2

Gloss Dark Grey (£28.35/m), Victorian Plumbing

6. CUBIX MID SLEEPER SYSTEM

6

With Chest Of Drawers And Storage Bookcase in Pure White £750 Little Folks Furniture

7. ICON STAR KIDS WEIGHTED BLANKET

8. LOAF THROW RANGE Easy Knit throw in Pink £135, Floppy Knit throw in Grey £65, Chunky Knit throw in Natural Cream £155, Lazy Quilt throw in Ochre £195 www.loaf.com

9. NATURAL RATTAN BAR STOOL

£195, www.roseandgrey.co.uk

10. KIDS TEEPEE CABIN BED in White Solid Pine, £429 www.cuckooland.com

11. KARIM BERBER RUG

From £119, www.housecosy.com

12. LIBERTY INDUSTRIAL STYLE DOOR/S Sliding Door – from £494.96 www.directdoors.com

13. BALTIMORE BLACK LEATHER CORNER SOFA Urban Classics, £1199.99 www.furniturechoice.co.uk

£59.95, www.cuckooland.com

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10 8

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hoME sweet hoME BY ELLIS COCHRANE


H O ME SW E ET HOME RH

Already living in a beautiful Victorian property just round the corner Husband and Wife, Robert and Lynn weren’t actively looking to take on a full renovation, having just completed one. But they always kept an eye on the property market just in case something special became available. And as soon as they saw Elmhurst advertised their curiosity was piqued and they decided to view it solely out of interest. With an amazing grand entrance, unbelievable ceiling heights and some of the most ornate period features that they’d ever seen, it was hard to top. So it’s fair to say that it was love at first sight for both of them, although they didn’t appreciate the full scale of the property compared to the one they were living in at the time. The grandeur of the house comes from both its history and Greenock’s. The house was originally owned by Robert Reid Paterson, who had made his fortune from the booming sugar industry in Greenock in the mid 19th century. At the time, Greenock earned the name ‘Sugaropolis’ as the sugar industry was so huge. Paterson owned Cartburn Sugar Refinery as well as his own ship for importing and exporting his sugar. This would explain the sheer grandeur and level of ornate finishes and decor employed throughout Elmhurst House.

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RH H OM E SW EE T HO ME Despite knowing that the house would be an epic home to live in, and that it was worthy of every single thing that they had planned for it, at times it was a daunting prospect for the couple. But they truly believe that it is such a privilege to live in a home filled with such character. They were also both fully aware that they are just the current custodians of the house and respectful ones at that. When they bought the house, it was in need of a refresh. After feeling like the previous owners hadn’t decorated it to show off its amazing period features, they’ve tried to bring it back to how they imagined it would have looked in its prime. In doing this, they’ve brought certain rooms back to life. “What we’ve tried to do in some of the more plain rooms is try and make them as grand as the rest of the house,” Robert says. “I think we’ve succeeded. For instance, the bathroom was previously the butler’s pantry and had no period features really. So I added wall panelling pediments above the door and window

and a huge grand mirror (over seven feet tall!) to give a bit of wow factor to what was a very boring room.” Robert also installed a bar that he found in Glasgow City Antiques to transform what was the dining room into their ‘fun room’. The room he has enjoyed renovating the most, however, was their bedroom, which has an amazing view of the Clyde. “It was once the ballroom of the house but it had a 1950s tiled fireplace and had lost all of its beautiful cornicing,” he says. “I found a period fire surround in Ayr to start with, then a huge mirror in a salvage yard in Paisley and, finally, a pediment from a boutique in Belfast, which was closing down due to the pandemic. I started to put it all together. I picture-framed the mirror and fireplace to make them appear as one piece, and painted it using four Farrow &

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They have been able to find some real gems when it comes to the period pieces in their home.


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Ball colours and gold gilt on the details. It’s over 13 feet tall and the pictures really don’t show the scale of it. Guests tell us this when they see it and are gobsmacked at first glance. I’m really proud of it, but I have to credit my wife as it was her Bridgerton theme that inspired me to give it a go.” Robert truly is willing to travel the length of the country for the right piece for their home and he often does just that. By constantly browsing antique shops, dealers, salvage yards and the likes of eBay, they have been able to find some real gems when it comes to the period pieces in their home. Drawing inspiration from various historical eras, Lynn in particular loves Period Drama TV shows. The couple have layered classical styles to replicate these looks and reflect the grandeur of the house. Robert tried to recreate the French vintage style in one of their bedrooms, and both agree that it turned out very well. Using a grand fireplace as a starting point, and with Lynn citing Bridgerton as an inspiration, it was great fun recreating the look in their own home. When it comes to a favourite room, that is a difficult choice for them as they have so many fantastic rooms to choose from and different reasons to love them all. But they both confirm that it would have to be their stunning front lounge that takes top spot for them.

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With huge windows, it’s a beautifully bright room. It also has one of the biggest original ceiling roses that Robert has ever seen, along with lovely layered cornicing. The only thing that was missing was the original fireplace, which had unfortunately been removed from the room at some point in the house’s history. After looking for the correct one for a while, the perfect one became available in Liverpool but its relocation involved logistics. That wasn’t to deter Robert, however. He hired a huge van to collect the enormous fireplace, and as it has added the finishing touch to the room, it was well worth the long drive there and back. Staying true to the original period of the house is important to the couple. “I certainly would never interfere with any original feature,” Robert says adamantly. “However, there are some rooms in the house that have been altered at some stage before we moved in, and that’s allowed us to mix it up a little using ‘on trend’ colours and interesting pieces of artwork. In general, though we both love the

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Georgian and Victorian eras and try to stay true to those where possible. We have a lot of beautiful pieces of furniture, etc. that we’ve collected from antique shops, with the aim of creating a Classical yet Modern look.” Robert believes the recent trend of painting all original cornicing and ceiling roses white is a ‘safe’ option and prefers to bring out the detail. “There is so much detail in the original roses,” he says. “I feel if they are painted sympathetically and tastefully, it can only enhance them even more. There is nothing wrong with white, but I feel like I’d be missing a trick if I didn’t try to pull out some of that beautiful detail by using colour and gilding.” Nearly all the work has been done by Robert, excluding plumbing. As a joiner by trade, Robert can turn his hand to most of the other trades as well. After coming up with a plan with Lynn, he can carry out all the painting, joinery and renovations. The pandemic allowed him time to hone his painting skills, and a friend also taught him how to gild, which is something that he has used widely throughout the house. He laughs, “Everyday is a school day and I’m learning something new everyday.” During the renovations, Robert has learnt a few things. “Old houses always throw up surprises and you need to be prepared and have patience,” he laughs. “With this house in particular, the size of the rooms was the challenge and I had to buy a scaffold as the ceilings are so tall. But having just finished a renovation on a similar property, I now have a better feel for what is required going forward.” At times he did feel like he had bitten off more than he could chew, perhaps when it came to the ceiling in their front bedroom. The laborious job took months to complete but the end result was a breathtaking painted and gilded cornice and ceiling rose. When his friend, the ‘master gilder’, saw it he was blown away, so the hard work was worth it just for his praise alone. Does Robert have any tips or advice for anyone taking on a renovation? “Don’t be scared!” he laughs. “Be prepared for the unexpected and have a go yourself. There is so much information online nowadays, with step by step tutorials

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to look at. I certainly do that frequently myself and that would be my best advice.” Robert’s next project is the fireplace in their front lounge,then it will be onto another bedroom and finally, the kitchen. Elmhurst truly is a huge project but as they’re working through it room by room it allows their beautiful home to evolve every day and, in turn, new ideas are born and then brought to fruition.

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Despite Robert being the muscle behind the DIY, he admits wife Lynn is a clear partner in the team. “We definitely agree that we make a great team,” he laughs. “But Lynn is definitely the boss though and I know my place.”

Follow every stage of the renovation of their home on Instagram as @versa_tileguy.


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STYLE

BOHEME 2 LIGHT WALL BRACKET GOLD LEAF £84, www.darlighting.co.uk

3-LIGHT CANDLE STYLE CHANDELIER £186.99, www.wayfair.co.uk

Steal

DULUX MATT EMULSION SYLVIA SERENITY SILVER FRENCH BED

Natural Slate, £30.04 for 2.5L from www.dulux.co.uk

£1695, www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk

FARROW & BALL PAINTS ESTATE EMULSION BONE NO 15 2.5L for £49.50

PREFERENCE RED NO 297 www.farrow-ball.com

FOUR POSTER BED £3479.99, www.wayfair.co.uk

MIDNIGHT ROCOCO GOLD LAMP £295 www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk

PAINTED CHEST OF DRAWERS WITH CARVED DETAILS McKay Designs, 525.00, www.conscious-cubby.com

COUNTY KERRY FOUR POSTER BED From £1852 www.revivalbeds.co.uk

FRANÇOIS CUVILLIÉS DECORATIVE CHEST OF DRAWERS Design Shanghai - POA www.domusaurea.com.cn

EICHHOLTZ BLUE CHINESE TABLE LAMP £640, www.sweetpeaandwillow.com

CARVED CREAM CONSOLE £495, kayuhome.co.uk

CLASSICAL WHITE MIRRORED ARMOIRE £1,625, www.sweetpeaandwillow.com

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Let there be light!

When you’re flicking through supplements or scrolling through property websites, what do you think when you see an unusual property renovation project? Some people think ‘no way could I do that’ and scroll right on by, while others get excited by the possibilities. When this couple saw a functional and unassuming 1980s built former manse for sale in the East End of Glasgow, all they saw was its potential.

BY LINDSAY DOHERTY

BY LINDSAY DOHERTY

Alas, the couple were outbid on it at the closing date, but it subsequently came back on the market. This time the house was theirs! Shannon explains what drew her to the building at the first viewing. “I loved the space and I loved the garden,” she says. “I liked the fact that it was so unassuming from the front, but it felt like you’d discovered a real hidden gem when you stepped inside. It’s quirky too, with the corridor in the middle and it has some very unique features including internal windows, a chapel, a shower in the downstairs bedroom. It just felt very ‘us’. We also love the fact that every room has an ensuite. We are keen to make the house a hub for guests, friends and family coming to stay so this was a huge positive for us.”

Having been outbid several times over the course of a year in the hunt for their first home, Shannon and her partner Chris felt that, as first-time buyers, a change in their strategy was required. They thought a more unusual project like this, while it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, might change their luck.

The couple’s plans to renovate the building and make it into a home for them and Chris’s two children who stay at weekends are focused on bringing more natural light in as well as updating it throughout. “We want to open up the living area to try to let some more light into some of the back rooms,” Shannon says. “The living/dining area we’d like to have open-plan. We might consider adding more bi-fold doors or windows to the

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N UNNERY TO FUNNERY living room to help with the light, and we’re considering combining this with Velux windows in the roof.” The upstairs is also going to see some changes. “We are going to be knocking through some internal walls upstairs to create a large master bedroom,” she says. “There is a lot of dead space, which had been previously used for storage. We think it would make an incredible space if it all was opened up. We may also add an additional window in there for extra light.” Being first-time buyers, the couple haven’t done a renovation project like this before. Shannon explains, “DIY is not either of our strengths,” she laughs. “But we are having fun figuring it all out. We are lucky to have lots of very skilled friends, so they are going to be a huge help in the coming months.” When we discovered the couple’s @nunnerytofunnery account on Instagram, we became intrigued to hear about the unusual project. When we spoke to the couple, they mentioned that they were hoping to find an architect to help give them some ideas about how to make their dreams for the house a reality, so we stepped in and contacted one we knew, to see if their ideas could provide some inspiration for the couple. Jon Frullani Architects is based in Tayside but works with homeowners and businesses throughout Scotland. Founded in 2011, the 18-strong team has offices in Dundee and Anstruther. The team met with Shannon and Chris to talk about their plans and an ultimate wish-list for their home based on what was working for them, and what wasn’t. Using this brief, JFA came up with some initial sketches and revised floor plans at this stage based on a hypothetical budget at this stage - to give the couple an idea of how their ideas could be achieved. “From our discussions with Shannon, we picked up on the key elements that were required to be addressed as part of the house renovation,” says Jon Frullani from JFA. “In response to their brief, we designed a layout that retains the aspects of the existing house that they love while introducing solutions to improve the natural light into the main living areas and create a flexible living space ideal for entertaining. We’ve incorporated the quirky aspects and features such as the glazing over the corridor down to the living space and the curved wall in what was the chapel.” Addressing the key issue of natural light, he explains JFA’s ideas. “The addition of roof windows above the living area would hugely improve the quality of the space allowing a flow of light from the living room into the dining room, which also benefits from a new source of natural light through the new opening from the kitchen,” Jon says. “Shannon mentioned they still wanted to be able to close off the kitchen area, so the addition of the glazed screen between the living and dining means the kitchen dining area can be contained into one space when required.” Another idea suggested by JFA that was new to the couple was to remove a wall in the downstairs layout. “We would propose to remove the wall between the kitchen and the corridor to incorporate the space into the kitchen,” Jon says. “Taking away the wall opens up views of the garden, and again brings a flood of natural light into the living space. The areas of windows and roof glazing along the corridor would be renewed and glazed doors would then lead outside from the kitchen.”

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1. Roof windows added above living area 2. Glazed screen installed 3. Wall removed 4. Glazed doors installed 5. Courtyard, Terrace and Hot Tub

Existing Ground Floor Plan

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2

3 5

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Proposed Ground Floor Plan

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Light was also the main focus for the changes to the upstairs floors. Additional roof windows are to be installed and a master bedroom suite, created using the currently unused storage rooms. Regarding the all-important outside area of the house, Jon explains their proposal. “A terrace within the garden that can be enjoyed from all aspects of the house,” he says. “A private courtyard that will be southwest facing to get plenty of evening sun. The terrace and courtyard would have space for dining and lounging with a firepit and a hot tub. The addition of a pergola with string lights and some climbing plants would help give the feeling of an outdoor room in the evenings. The exterior of the house would also get an upgrade, as we feel it might be good to treat a portion of the external walls around the living room with a render finish. The brick would still be visible above the line of the render, but this would give a visual break from the brick and give a different feel to the terrace area.” In response to seeing the plans and sketches presented by Jon and his team, the couple have admitted that some of the ideas hadn’t come to mind and they had an ‘all or nothing’ approach. “It’s been great to see some different ideas from

Existing First Floor Plan

6

6. Roof windows added 7. Door moved and wall removed 8. Corridor walls taken down to enlarge master suite

7 Proposed First Floor Plan

8 maybe the ones we were thinking,” says Shannon. “Opening up part of the corridor is an interesting concept and one we hadn’t thought about. We’d viewed it as an all or nothing, so it was good to see the option to maybe keep some of it but open some out as well. They have definitely followed the brief well in terms of trying to get some of the natural light into the darkest points of the house and the addition of some rear windows as suggested would enhance this further.” One of the benefits of hiring an architect, other than their expertise and experience, is that their plans and sketches can help clients visualise what otherwise may be difficult to picture in their heads. “I am a very visual person,”

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says Shannon. “But I struggle sometimes with imagining how things would look, so the sketches and the floorplan were a great tool to help me visualise what is possible and how everything would flow together.” Shannon believes speaking to an architect has been really helpful in giving them clarity in their ideas. “It’s given us lots of food for thought,” she says. “The visual element has been great and has made the ideas come alive for us. It has also helped to rule out some things that we definitely don’t want, which has been useful too. Now we just have to figure out what the budget allows and get moving with the ideas.”

Follow the couple’s renovation journey on Instagram at @nunnerytofunnery For more information on Jon Frullani Architects and to see their portfolio of finished projects visit www.jfarchitect.co.uk or to speak to them call 01382 224 828

Existing Lounge and Dining Area

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G IRL W ITH A DR I LL

Girl Power DIY is not for everyone and many people are nervous to pick up a power tool, which is why when we saw what Susie (also known as @girlandadrill online) had achieved in just eighteen short months, we decided to have a chat with her to talk about some of her (and our) favourite projects, changing the sexist narrative surrounding women and DIY and what she has planned for her home in the future. BY ELLIS COCHRANE

It was the frustration of having awkward spaces in her ground-floor Glasgow flat that she wanted to do something with that kicked off her foray into DIY. Her earliest project in the home she shares with her partner Derek, was her beautiful bedroom panelling, and she didn’t even have to pick up a power tool for it! One of the earliest projects that she attempted was her beautiful bedroom panelling. Living in a period property has meant dealing with uneven and not exactly perfect walls, so covering these up with panelling seemed like both a practical and visually pleasing solution. And on that first project, Susie didn’t even need to worry about drilling into the walls as she cleverly used glue to adhere the panelling to the walls. So if you personally don’t have power tools or feel entirely confident using them, this is a great project to take on that only requires manual tools and a bit of forward planning. Susie has since gone on to add panelling detail to her bathroom and living room, with plans to extend this into every room in her home, when she gets a chance. As a design

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GIRL WIT H A D RI L L feature that Susie doesn’t see going out of style anytime soon (and we have to agree), it instantly adds texture and interest to any space. If you’re dealing with small or underutilised spaces, this is where DIY’ing really comes into its own. With a kitchen that had wasted wall space, Susie added bespoke shelves to allow her to better utilise the room and add some of her own personality to what was essentially a standard kitchen layout. Because of the way in which the door opened, she had to be savvy with the way in which she cut the shelves, making sure that the angle allowed the door to actually open without clashing with the shelves themselves. As this was one of her earlier DIY projects she wasn’t exactly sure which type of wood or timber/size/thickness would work best in this case. So she bought a set of basic pine shelves from B&Q with the vision of putting her own spin on them. By cutting them to shape and adding wall brackets, you would never know that they were originally very different looking shelves. It also proves that DIY can be a mixture of utilising

what you already have or something that has been designed with a specific function in mind already, instead of building everything from scratch. Susie’s DIY skills aren’t just designated to her home. This summer she undertook the project of renovating an engineers van into a campervan that could be used by her and her partner Derek to travel around the country. They originally had plans to just buy an already fitted out campervan. But after Susie’s love of DIY and her skills developed, they decided that they could probably buy a better spec van and then fit it themselves. And that’s exactly what they did. Susie adds, “honestly, this was a dream project as I just had the space to completely go wild in, even though it’s a tiny space. That’s part of the challenge that I enjoy; trying to figure out the best solution for awkward, small spaces. I became incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities so we really didn’t do a whole lot to it for a couple of months.”

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Planning a trip to Ireland prompted them to completely strip out the van, which was a challenge in itself. Once this was complete it was time to start insulating the space, making a floor out of plywood with wipe clean vinyl flooring applied on top. Their top priority; being able to sit in the space, as well as having as much sleeping space as possible, to allow them to relax and rewind after a long day of adventuring and exploring. And this resulted in a super cosy bed that was even bigger (and wider than a double bed) than they had anticipated once they fitted it. It was like “doing a very small version of a house,” Susie confirms.

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Did you ever think that you would be admiring or considering a painted sofa? “How are they even words that go together?” Susie laughs. It’s also the one project on her Instagram account that she gets the most questions about. The idea for it came from YouTube, somewhere where Susie gets a lot of her ideas and inspiration from. “There are a lot of other like-minded DIY’ers out there who try these crazy things and I feel like I have to try it as well,” Susie chuckles. An originally grey sofa bed that had been obtained from Gumtree a couple of years ago, it didn’t quite go with Susie’s aesthetic anymore. However, since she loved the style of it but not the colour, instead of going out and buying something new, she decided to upcycle. After seeing someone on YouTube mix wall paint and fabric conditioner to paint their sofa, Susie laughs, “it was that mad sounding that I had to try it myself.” The intention was for her newly painted sofa to look like faux leather, so this meant going out and buying a variety of brown tones to experiment with shading and technique.

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G IRL W ITH A DR I LL “It kind of felt like a painting, in a way. You can see that it is wearing, as the fabric is starting to soften that bit more but I think that that is adding to the vintage faux feel. It’s lasting spectacularly, four months on. And I’m actually as surprised as everyone else at how good it is.” Speaking of sofas, when Susie had started having an interest in DIY, she saw a sofa called the Dreamer Couch by Australian designer Pop & Scott. But them being based in Australia and it costing the equivalent of about £6000 quickly dashed her dreams of owning one. That was until she drew out her version of the Dreamer Couch. For every project, Susie draws out her plans in her trusty DIY ideas sketchbook and that’s what she did as she planned out her take on The Dreamer Couch. And we have to say, the end result is exactly that; dreamy. After a year of having the drawings and costings in her sketchbook, she finally started the project about six months ago. “Honestly, every time that I see it, it makes me so happy. Obviously I love the look of it but it is hand built by me and that is such a satisfying feeling,” she says. And six months down the line it is still completely solid and doing the job intended. It was also her very first attempt at sewing anything. By DIY’ing and building her own pieces instead of buying, Susie has been able to achieve an aesthetic in her home that she could never have dreamed of. Previously referred to by Susie as the ‘yarden’ because it was simply a concrete dead space, one morning as she drank her coffee an idea popped into her mind, “I wonder what’s underneath those slabs?” she remarked. In the four years that she had lived in her flat, she hadn’t given the garden much thought. The long narrow shape of the garden lended itself to a decked area but after doing a bit of research and seeing that one single decking board could be as much as £30, she had to rethink that route. She wasn’t even necessarily looking to do it for free and was happy to spend a few hundred pounds to give the space in the garden more purpose. But a bit of ingenuity and luck at her local timber yard meant that Susie was able to complete her decking without spending a single penny. Having seen people build decking out of old palettes on Pinterest, she took a trip to the timber yard, where they had seven perfect, brand new palettes ready for her to take away with her that day. “Unexpectedly they fit the space absolutely perfectly,” Susie confirms. She filled in the spaces in the palettes with offcuts and some free timber that her stepdad, a joiner, thankfully had left over from a previous project of his. It was then finished with some leftover weatherproof paint that she had left over from painting the garage.

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GIRL WIT H A D RI L L Talking of her garage, doing DIY can often be very messy and after a year of having to saw and sand things in her living room when the weather wasn’t great, which was quite often here in Scotland, Susie now has a dedicated DIY space; her workshop. Splitting their wooden garage in two to still have room to store items, the back of the garage is now all Susie’s. And she feels very lucky to have it. It means that on her lunch break she can go to her workshop and pick up projects when she has the free time. And she doesn’t need to worry about having to pack everything away each day. Using a paint sprayer to paint it white, Susie’s plan in doing so, “I can see the spiders quicker,” she laughs. In terms of future projects, Susie would love to take on the IKEA Billy Bookcase hack that you will no doubt have seen on Pinterest. “You can make them look like bespoke, built-in units. I’m dying to try that. And the fact that you can make them as high as you want would no doubt look great with the height of the ceilings in my living room.”

Billy Bookcase from £25 www.ikea.com

However, that would be a “nice to have once I get all my snags and current projects done,” Susie says. She also has plans to give her kitchen a bit of a facelift but without spending too much money, knowing that one day they will want to move, as much as they love the space they’ve put together, it isn’t their forever home. And Susie is keen to let everyone know that her home, like most, is a work in progress. My living room “is currently half painted beige, half painted grey. Genuinely every room is half finished,” she remarks. When it comes to what inspires her, the online community on Instagram and YouTube definitely does that. “Seeing others take the plunge and share their amazing ideas and skills, if it wasn’t for women on YouTube picking up power tools I would have never even imagined that I could do it either.” Her love for a challenge also really inspires her. After reading that it was the one tool that could see you through a whole lot of different projects, the first power tool that Susie bought was a circular

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saw. And it has done exactly that, seeing her through almost every single project that she has done for the flat. She still loves it to this day and feels very comfortable with it, which is a great feeling compared to when she first got it, Susie confirms. To begin with, “I was absolutely terrified of the thing. And I think there should be an element of fear at all times with power tools, as you need to be safe with them but I really understand it now. It’s almost like another limb to me at this point.” No wonder it’s her favourite power to own and use. Being a girl with a power drill in what is still a male dominated industry is something that she has to contend with on every project that she does.


“I still get comments to this day when I go to pick up materials that can make me feel out of place but I’ve really been working hard to take this as a positive. I kind of like the feeling of shocking these people. It’s a positive thing to be doing to break the false illusion that women don’t use power tools or shouldn’t be doing DIY. I love being part of the community that’s changing that. To me, I see loads of women absolutely smashing it online. However, outside of that online community it’s not the normality.”

To see more of Susie’s DIY projects and what she takes on next, be sure to follow her on Instagram at @girlandadrill.

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1. BLACK+DECKER 2 SPEED 18V CORDLESS COMBI DRILL WITH KIT BOX

6. MAC ALLISTER 3.6V LI-ION CORDLESS SCREWDRIVER MSSD36T-LI

£50, www.homebase.co.uk

£20, B&Q, www.diy.com

2. STANLEY 240V 15MM CORDED NAILER £40, B&Q, www.diy.com

7. MAGNUSSON 15M LASER DISTANCE MEASURER

3. DEWALT 18V 165MM CORDLESS CIRCULAR SAW DCS391 - BARE £115 B&Q, www.diy.com

8. BOSCH PROFESSIONAL 50M LASER DISTANCE MEASURER

4. STANLEY FATMAX V20 18V CORDLESS NAILER WITH 2 BATTERIES AND KIT BOX

9. 18V ONE+™ CORDLESS 184MM BRUSHLESS CIRCULAR SAW

£216, www.homebase.co.uk

5. 18V ONE+™ CORDLESS COMBI DRILL, JIGSAW & ACCESSORIES STARTER KIT

£30, B&Q, www.diy.com

£125, B&Q, www.diy.com

£156.99, www.ryobitools.co.uk

10. BLACK+DECKER WORKMATE - 825 DELUXE WORKBENCH

£110, www.homebase.co.uk

£159.99, www.ryobitools.co.uk

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Baby it’s Cold Outside

From radiators to wood burners to the ultimate - a real fire - there is no denying that this time of year we all crave warmth! Especially in Scotland! The choice is yours. Go all modern with spiral radiators; traditional with column; opt for a wood burner or a mix of everything! We have trawled the high street and the specialists to find the perfect olution for whatever heat issues you have for your space. So snuggle down with a cup of cocoa (or a dram!) and imagine you’re sitting next to one of these beauties…. 101


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It’s getting hot in here….

There’s no question about it, the humble radiator is having a moment. No longer the functional afterthought with the aim of merely heating a space, it’s now become a design feature in its own right. A quick scroll of social media brings myriad of projects upgrading sad old radiators with on-trend designs. But with so many amazing options now available, how to go about choosing the right one?

Get With The System You’ll have to first decide if you need a plumbed in or electric version. The plumbed-in version connects to your current heating system which uses warm water created by your boiler, to gently heat your room. Replacing an old radiator for a new one may require lifting floorboards and moving some pipework but will generally be quite straightforward. Adding an entirely new radiator may require more technical assistance, as you’ll need to make sure your boiler can cope with the increase to the system, so consult a plumber before you buy one.

Types: Column Column radiators are classic-looking radiators made from hollow tubes of metal (the ‘columns’). The greater the number of columns, the greater the depth of the radiator, and the higher the heat output. Examples are two, three or four-column, right up to a very deep nine column version. Heavy cast iron is the traditional material these are made from. ‘Cast-iron style’ radiators look similar but are crafted from lightweight steel. Column radiators constructed from cast iron often stand on in-built ‘feet’ rather than being wall-mounted.

A dual-fuel radiator is like a cross between the two, it is plumbed into your central heating system, but also contains a heating element. Again, these might be a good solution for heating a space in summer when you don’t wish to turn the full central heating on, perhaps in a bathroom for example.

How Big Should You Go? To work out the size of radiator you need to heat your room efficiently, you’ll need to work out the BTU (British Thermal Unit) requirement. One BTU is the amount of energy it takes to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level; so the higher the BTU, the higher the output of the radiator. There are many BTU calculators online to help you choose the right heat output for your room, or a professional heating engineer will be able to advise. 102

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Malmesbury column rad, Rutland London

An electric radiator works independently to your central heating system and is powered by your mains electricity. A heating element inside the radiator becomes warm, and it’s this that provides the heat. These can be good for heating a single room when you might not want to have your full central heating turned on. Similar to an electric radiator is a storage heater. These use electricity to heat ceramic bricks inside the heater during the night (when electricity is cheaper), and release this during the day.

Panel Usually wall-mounted, basic panel radiators are constructed with one or two slim panels of metal (single, double or triple radiators), sometimes with ‘convector fins’ between them. Each panel is filled with fluid that has been warmed by your boiler and therefore provides heat to the room. The larger the surface area of the panel, the greater the heat output.


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1. Traditional Victorian 4 Column 460mm Cast Iron Radiator, £11 per section, Cast Iron Radiator Centre 2. Chedworth Column Radiator (Yellow), from £904, Rutland Radiators 3. Two-column Trieste Burnished radiator, from £52.56, The Radiator Company 4. Four-column Ancona Galvanised Antique Copper Horizontal From £2,592.00, The Radiator Company 5. Two-column Milano Windsor Horizontal Radiator, from £114.95 Big Bathroom Shop & Best Heating 6. Malmesbury Four column Radiator, From £1,209 Rutland Radiators

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7. Burford Column Radiator, from £671, Rutland Radiators 8. Kenilworth Antique Brass Thermostatic Valve Set, £89.99 Cast Iron Radiator Centre 9. Bentley Lever Handle Satin Nickel Manual Radiator Valve Set, £45.00, Cast Iron Radiator Centre 10. Belfry Unlaquered Brass Angled Radiator Valves, £188.00 Rutland Radiators

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BATHROOM To dry and warm your bathroom towels, a heated towel-rail is a popular addition to a modern bathroom. Be aware though that a larger bathroom may need an additional source of heat to effectively warm the room as well as the towels. This is where a towel rail radiator can come into its own, having been designed to perform both functions.

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1. Savoy Old English Brass Traditional Heated Towel Rail Radiator, £319.95, Victorian Plumbing 2. Seville Matt Black Designer Flat Panel Heated Towel Rail, £264.99, Bathroom Mountain 3. Gibraltar Large White Traditional Heated Towel Radiator with Overhanging Rail, £189.99, Bathroom Mountain 4. Eaton Heated Towel Rail, £1,836.00 Rutland Radiators 5. Arezzo Brushed Brass 800 x 500 Heated Towel Rail, £299.95, Victorian Plumbing 6. Sitar Lato Towel Rail, £300, The Radiator Company 104

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1. Sitar Double Horizontal, From £285.60, The Radiator Company 2. Piastra Radiator with Cover in Vero Legno Woodstyle, Viadurini, POA 3. Vox Vertical In White, From £33.04, The Radiator Company 4. Panel Radiator with Mirror cover, Viadurini, POA 4

5. Mix, From £32.36, The Radiator Company 6. Ottimo, From £37, The Radiator Company 7. VIP In Black, From £33.04, The Radiator Company 8. Relax Single Horizontal In White, From £804, The Radiator Company 5

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CONTEMPORARY You definitely won’t want to cover these heaters up these stylish radiators are seriously cool.

1. Radiatore Moderno Idraulico POA, Viaduriniit 2. Nexus Gloss Silver Vertical Designer Radiator, £219.95, Victorian Plumbing 3. Termoarredo Graffe Idraulico Design Moderno, POA, Viaduriniit 4. Faro Chrome Single Flat Panel Vertical Radiator , £164.99, Bathroom Mountain 5. Oni OP Radiator in Pigeon Blue, POA, Vasco 6. Radiatore Termoarredo Moderno Verticale, POA, Viaduriniit

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Hot stuff

The popularity of log burning stoves (and other stove types) to heat your home shows no sign of abating, and with winter right upon us, more people might be turning their thoughts towards a cosy fire to warm their home. With new clean air legislation coming into force soon, it’s important to understand how this might affect your decision as well as the many other variables.

Annabelle from Stovax suggests, “Firstly, you’ll need to decide on the fuel type you desire – solid fuel, gas or electric? After this, you might want to think about the general style, for example, whether you want a traditional log burner or a more contemporary aesthetic”. She continues, “Next, speak to a local expert retailer who will help to ascertain whether you need a freestanding or built-in stove or fire, the possibilities of having your chosen fuel type in your property, and the requirements for installation. Factors such as whether you have an existing chimney will change the work involved to install your fire and may have a part to play in whether you choose a different direction for your fireplace. They will need to perform a site survey which will assess all your bespoke needs, including the heat output you need for your home”

Wood & Multi-fuel stoves If you love the crackle of burning logs and the cosy glow they bring, not to mention the warmth on a chilly day, a wood burning, or multi-fuel stove might be top of your wish list. They can be a practical option for those working from home as many of us are, in that a single room can be heated, without the need to heat the whole house. No Chimney? No problem. A woodburning stove just needs a flue which can be fitted through either a wall or a roof. An approved dealership can advise you further on this. But before you rush out and buy one, there’s a few things to bear in mind.

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Rules and regulations Contact your local council to find out what the rules are in your local area, some councils are designated smoke control areas where the type of fuel you are allowed to burn is tightly controlled, and it is an offence to emit smoke from your chimney. If you do live in a smoke control area, it’s possible you may be able to install a wood-burning stove, if the stove in question is DEFRA-approved, check with your installer who should be able to advise. New clean air legislation is also coming into force in 2022 means that stoves will need to be even ‘cleaner’, so check, when you buy if the stove in question will meet these new rules.

Size matters Buying the biggest size of stove you can afford isn’t necessarily the best plan. If the heat output of your stove is too high, your room will be uncomfortably hot, no matter how adjustable your stove might be. Similarly, a stove with too low an output, will not heat your room effectively. An

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1. Blithfield 5 Stove, £1,295.00 Clock Woodburners 2. Home-Boiler-Charnwood 3. Stockton 4 ECO Multi-fuel burning logs, £795.00 Stovax 4. Malvern II Classic Multifuel Stove, £ 1160, ACR Stoves

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accredited installer will be able to advise the best heat output of stove to go for, based on the size of room in question and other important factors such as the construction of the building, the insulation, number of windows etc.

Which wood The major difference between burning wood and fossil fuels, is that wood is a renewable source of heat. The carbon dioxide produced when you burn wood, is no greater than the carbon dioxide that would be produced by the wood itself if it decayed naturally. That being said, the type of wood you burn is important too. A rule of thumb is that wood should have been dried to a moisture content of no more than 20%. This ensures not only an efficient burn, but that your stove and flue have as little soot as possible. So finding a local, ethical supplier of sustainable wood for your stove is key, particularly as this is one of the areas that the new legislation aims to tighten up, so only properly seasoned dry wood is burned.


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1. Hoxton 7 Stove, £2,494.00 Arada Stoves

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2. Slimfocus suspended stove, POA, Focus Fireplaces at Kinross Stove Centre 3. 7kw Fireview Eco, £1598.40, Woodwarm 4. 9kW Fireview ECO Traditional, £1726.80, Woodwarm 5. Futura 5 Woodburning stove £1,195, Stovax

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Gas Stoves If you love the idea of a warm, cosy stove, but perhaps aren’t keen on the cleaning and maintenance that comes with a real fire, then a gas version could be a good alternative. Not only are they free from smoke and other particles, they work at the click of a button and are extremely easy to control in terms of their heat output. They are very straightforward to install by a professional gas engineer, as long as your home is fitted to a gas line.

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1. Chesterfield 5 Gas stove, £1,849.00 Stovax Gazco 2. Wychwood Gas Stove, £2115, ACR Stoves 3. Loft Gas Stove, £2,209.00 Stovax Gazco 4. NEO 3P Gas Stove, £3055, ACR Stoves

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Electric Stoves If you rent your house or limitations in your property mean that you can’t install a real fire stove, an electric stove can be a great alternative. As well as being lower in price, they have almost no installation cost and can be set up wherever you like, no need for a hearth or a chimney. They’re extremely efficient and produce no fumes or smoke unlike their real counterparts, and need no cleaning, re-fuelling and maintenance. And unlike a gas stove, there is no need to be connected to a gas line. Advances in technology means that they now can look highly realistic, virtually indistinguishable from a real flame, and there are a huge range of models to choose from.

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1. Chesterfield 5 Electric Stove £1,195.00, Stovax Gazco 2. 1850W Small Black Electric Stove Heater, £59.99 VonHaus 3. Everhot Black Stove with Oven, £1,295, Quince & Cook 4. Everhot Cream Stove with Oven, £1,295, Quince & Cook 5. ENEO3F Electric Stove , £955, ACR Stoves NOVEMBER 2021 |

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Home is where the hearth is Fireplace Accessories

Image: Garden Trading

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1. Open Log Carrier Basket, £38 Marquis & Dawe 2. Wall Fireside Set, £44.95 Dibor 3. Hathaway Fire Screen, £1670, Arteriors 4. Berber Log Basket with Palm Brush, £31, BasketBasket 5. Curved Fire Screen Silver, £95, Cox Cox 6. House Log Holder from £125, Cox & Cox 7. Filkins Fireside Tool Set In Black, £40, Garden Trading 8. Round Rattan Log Basket Curved, £45, Cox & Cox 9. Toba Log Basket, Sweetpea & Willow £270 9

10. Virginia Fire Screen, Sweetpea & Willow £180 11. Log Holder Small, Garden Trading, £75 12. Country Fire Log Bucket with Poker and Tongs, £28, Dibor

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In the red Modern Infrared heating provides an energy-efficient, electric heating solution for all types of property. Whether it be heating a full house, an extension or a single room, infrared heaters provide a highly controllable, space-saving solution. Sam at Herschel Infrared Heaters explains, “Infrared heaters use radiant technology which helps to reduce damp and condensation in homes, and can be powered by a renewable energy tariff, providing a zero-carbon heating solution”. She goes on,“Infrared is the direct transfer of heat from the heater to the object (you and the room around you) without heating the air in between. It’s the same heat we feel from an environment warmed by the sun, and the wavelength most efficiently absorbed by the body. It is a fresh, non-stuffy, more natural feeling of heat.” There’s a great range of different styles of Infrared heaters to choose from, a popular choice for homes being slimline infrared panels. Various designs of these are available, including mirrors and picture panels which can be customised with your own design or favourite photo, as well as blackboards and contemporary glass.

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1. Select XLS Mirror from £378, Herschel Infrared Heaters 2. Select XLS Mirror from £378, Herschel Infrared Heaters 3. Infrared Heater Picture with built in Thermostat 450W (Metal), £239.00 The Infrared Heater Company 4. Inspire Picture Heater from £499, Herschel Infrared Heaters

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Image Credit: Vaillent

Renewable heating for the home With ambitious targets set by the government on reducing our impact on the environment in the forthcoming years, the move to renewable forms of energy is coming into focus for all of us. But with so many options available, it’s good to have an understanding of how the most commonly used systems work, to decide which might be the most suitable. Under the government’s Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI) you may be financially incentivised for heating your property using a renewable heating technology. Applications to this current scheme end on 31st March 2022, you can find out more on the Ofgem website.

Ground source heat pumps absorb heat from the ground (which stays at a relatively stable temperature year-round) to heat your home and hot water. The pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe, called a ground loop, which is buried in your garden. Heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The length of the loop of pipe depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need. If your garden space is limited, boreholes can be drilled instead to mean the loop goes vertically instead of horizontally. For every 1kw of energy consumed, this system can produce 4kW or more of renewable heat.

Image Credit - MCA Renewables

Ground source heat pump

Air source heat pump

Image Credit: Klover

A unit mounted on an external wall draws in air and converts the heat within the air to usable heat which can then be used for your radiators or underfloor heating as well as heating your domestic hot water. Although they are powered by electricity, they are classed as renewable energy because for every 1kW of energy consumed by the heat pump, this can provide 3 or more kW of heat into the property, therefore the difference between consumption and heat produced is classed as renewable heat.

Biomass boiler

Image Credit: Klover

Domestic Biomass Boilers are just like any other boiler, the only difference being the fuel used to create the heat. Biomass fuels are wood products which crucially come from a sustainable source, unlike fossil fuels. Their form is usually pellets, logs or woodchip. Wood products are usually less expensive than their fossil fuel equivalents like oil, LPG or electricity so people can also see fuel savings by switching to biomass. Similar to wood burning stoves, suitability for a biomass boiler will need to be assessed depending on council rules. Biomass boilers take different forms; there are internal and external boilers, biomass stoves which look like a woodburning stove, as well as biomass cooker stoves which not only provide heating and hot water, they function as cooking facilities.

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