Posts tagged alison
Tour This Fun Eclectic Family Home in Scotland

Would you like to see a lovely Scottish home to brighten your day today? You'll see why I say, "brighten" in a moment! This is decor8 columnist, Alison Gibb, reporting in from Scotland today and I am here to share the beautiful space of designer, Donna Caira. She lives in Fife with her husband, Anthony and their two daughters, Julia (20) and Olivia (17). Donna runs a fine art print and interiors business called We Are Amused with a friend, Susan, who lives nearby.

The chimney wall is painted in ‘Downpipe’ by Farrow & Ball

The chimney wall is painted in ‘Downpipe’ by Farrow & Ball

Donna trained as a lawyer originally, but when she started her family she found she enjoyed staying at home and looked for a career with more flexibility. Interior design was an obvious choice, Donna being both practical and creative in huge doses.

The framed print on the mantelpiece is a classic image of a Burmese Girl, by sir Gerald Kelly. 

The framed print on the mantelpiece is a classic image of a Burmese Girl, by sir Gerald Kelly. 

In her home, Donna likes to mix things up. Her eclecticism has resulted in a bohemian vibe. Not afraid to experiment, Donna has created unpredictable choices to every room, from the shocking pink paneled wall in the traditional Victorian kitchen to the faded floral sofa and raspberry toned armchairs in the more severely decorated drawing room. The occasional ‘pink moment’ comes as a refreshing surprise in this edgy home. "I think I have a bit of Rock Chic in me", she admits.

The shocking pink MDF paneling is painted in ‘Flamingo’ by Dulux. The pendant light above the island unit was an investment buy from Best Lite.

The shocking pink MDF paneling is painted in ‘Flamingo’ by Dulux. The pendant light above the island unit was an investment buy from Best Lite.

They bought the house in 1999 and their daughters grew up here. The large Victorian house is located on a beautiful leafy street. The décor, when they bought the house was tasteful, but over coordinated and too chintzy for Donna’s taste. They undertook the transformation slowly, knowing that it takes time to get things right. "A house needs to evolve", Donna believes, "especially if you want the resulting scheme to be really individual".

Cabinet painted in Purbeck Stone by Farrow & Ball.

Cabinet painted in Purbeck Stone by Farrow & Ball.

The large kitchen is Donna’s favorite room, the wall dividing it from the dining room had been removed by the previous owners, but the results were uneven and needed resolving. "We got a quote from a plasterer to smooth the wall but we were shocked at the amount, so we came up with the idea of MDF paneling, surprised at how much cheaper this option was." Once complete, Donna knew that she wanted to paint it bright pink. "It was the perfect contrast to the black Ikea units.

A selection of prints from We Are Amused are artfully arranged, unframed, held up by white tack, bulldog clips add a functional, decorative note.

A selection of prints from We Are Amused are artfully arranged, unframed, held up by white tack, bulldog clips add a functional, decorative note.

The fun, retro Smeg dishwasher was a much-wanted replacement when the original, integrated model broke down, "unfortunately, it did not fit under the worktop, but we were able to insert it into the original Victorian press, which we then paneled over, giving it a semi-fitted home after all", Donna recalls.

Tour a Bright Eclectic Family Home in Scotland

In the bedrooms, just like the public rooms, occasional luxury purchases are cleverly combined with funky, junk shop finds, bargain buys and homemade solutions. The antlers above the master bed are from Cox & Cox. Anthony’s sister, another creative wing of this talented family, made the bedside lampshades. Donna made the upholstered headboard herself. The luxurious, grey velvet throw is from H&M Home.
 

I never normally buy from interior chains, but I do love a rummage around TK Maxx. Great style does not have to cost a fortune!
— Donna Caira
Tour a Bright Eclectic Family Home in Scotland
Tour a Bright Eclectic Family Home in Scotland
Two prints sit atop the mantelpiece, one is from We Are Amused, the other is an enlargement of a gorgeous photograph of Donna’s father as a child.

Two prints sit atop the mantelpiece, one is from We Are Amused, the other is an enlargement of a gorgeous photograph of Donna’s father as a child.

Tour a Bright Eclectic Family Home in Scotland
Tour a Bright Eclectic Family Home in Scotland
Tour a Bright Eclectic Family Home in Scotland
Trust your instincts when you are decorating, you will grow in confidence.

— Donna Caira
Tour a Bright Eclectic Family Home in Scotland
The orange wall is painted in Mustard by Dulux.

The orange wall is painted in Mustard by Dulux.

The whole house is bold, dramatic, moody and fun. Random salvaged pieces of furniture, vintage treasures and bargain buys have formed a happy collective in this characterful home. Not a fan of symmetry, Donna prefers unpredictability and always looks for solutions that are quirky rather safe. Her natural wit and spontaneity ensure the results are always successful. There is an air of Alice In Wonderland in this dwelling - expect the unexpected when you enter!

MDF painted in ‘Clunch’ by Farrow & Ball.

MDF painted in ‘Clunch’ by Farrow & Ball.

3 Ideas To Steal:

1. Wall paneling in MDF can be done very cheaply – it covers a multitude of sins and can be painted any color you like.

2. Hang artwork simply with bulldog clips or white tack – it does not have to be framed.

3. Breathe new life into old furniture by giving it a lick of paint.

What do you think of this home, any touches that you love? - Allison

(Photography: Douglas Gibb / Text: Alison Gibb for decor8)

Tour This Colorful Georgian Home In Edinburgh

Today I would like to show off a home in the city of Edinburgh, a UNESCO world heritage site that has been fiercely preserved, with the result that, unusually, for a capital city, many of the most desirable homes are right in the center. Wondering around the Georgian masterpiece of the New Town, you really have to pinch yourself – yes, people actually live here!

Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8

And by the way, hello everyone, it's Alison again with another home tour from Scotland for decor8 readers! Let's visit the home of Architect and Designer, Roddy Murray and his partner, Andrew Keith, President of Lane Crawford & Joyce, a fashion retail and brand management group in Asia.

Together, Roddy and Andrew took the shell of a magnificent Georgian townhouse and restored it to a gorgeous contemporary home. The property was a lawyers office for sixty years and in a tired state. Resisting the temptation of either a radical update or a faithful preservation project, instead, subtle layers of the best of both Scottish and international design have been applied, resulting in a colorful reinvention of this classical building.

The work of Scottish designers, makers, and artists is in evidence throughout the house, from the lanterns in the entrance hall, which were made by a local blacksmith, and fabrics manufactured at the mills in the Scottish Borders, to the couple’s art collection, much of which is by alumni of the Glasgow School of Art, where Roddy studied.

The work of Scottish designers, makers, and artists is in evidence throughout the house, from the lanterns in the entrance hall, which were made by a local blacksmith, and fabrics manufactured at the mills in the Scottish Borders, to the couple’s art collection, much of which is by alumni of the Glasgow School of Art, where Roddy studied.

The work of Scottish designers, makers, and artists is in evidence throughout the house, from the lanterns in the entrance hall, which were made by a local blacksmith, and fabrics manufactured at the mills in the Scottish Borders, to the couple’s art collection, much of which is by alumni of the Glasgow School of Art, where Roddy studied.

The pair lives much of the year in Hong Kong, where Andrew is president of the fashion retailers Lane Crawford and Joyce, the world-famous department stores recently overhauled and redesigned by Italian Designer Paola Navone. Roddy has a design practice RJMD that spans architecture and interiors with clients all over the world.

Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8

Both Roddy and Andrew are from Central Scotland originally and were looking for a Scottish base where they could spend more time with family. The wanted something more character-filled than their 1960s Hong Kong apartment, and the Georgian architecture available in the center of Edinburgh proved irresistible.

Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb

The property is listed, which meant that they were not allowed to knock down walls, ‘we had to respect the bones of the house,’ Roddy explains, ‘but we didn’t want to live in a museum. During the renovations we found a 200-year-old marble fireplace behind some boarding and the original wooden flooring under the knackered office lino which was in brilliant condition, so we knew we had the perfect base to fulfill our vision.’

Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb
Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb
Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography by Douglas Gibb

The combination of old and new extends to the decoration, which deftly combines pieces spanning several centuries of style. In the first-floor sitting room, for example, gold Kartell lamps have been placed on top of an antique Chinese console table.

Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb
Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb
Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb

They laid out the interior to suit their lifestyle. The dining room and kitchen are on the first floor, double doors connect the kitchen to a light-filled drawing room creating a large, open living and entertaining space at the heart of the house.

dining room mixes a Georgian chandelier with mid-century Knoll furniture and edgy Damask wallpaper by the Glasgow-based design duo Timorous Beasties.

The dining room mixes a Georgian chandelier with mid-century Knoll furniture and edgy Damask wallpaper by the Glasgow-based design duo Timorous Beasties.

Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb
Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb

The cozier, downstairs sitting room, houses an astonishing sculpture between the windows, a hollowed out marble bust by Edinburgh-based artist, Jonathan Owen.

When we finished the house, we had 60 people round for a party, which was the first time it had been used as a residential house for probably over 60 years. It felt like the house was coming back to life.
— Andrew Keith
Tour This Colorfulful Georgian Home In Edinburgh on decor8, Photography Douglas Gibb

The gorgeous master bedroom is also on the ground floor and there are three further guest bedrooms at the top of the house.

The house is utterly rooted in its Scottish setting and enjoys a strong sense of place, while contemporary furniture and lighting by iconic designers such as Tom Dixon, Arne Jacobsen, and Paola Navone, add international verve. Rugs throughout the house have been designed by Roddy himself, a new venture for him, his beautiful designs can be found at Boxer Rugs.

dining room mixes a Georgian chandelier with mid-century Knoll furniture and edgy Damask wallpaper by the Glasgow-based design duo Timorous Beasties.

A recent trip to India clearly had an influence, particularly when it came to choosing the rich turquoise and salmon-pink paint colors for the ground-floor sitting room and master bedroom. In the sitting room, a classic Berber rug is dazzlingly layered over a one-off design by Roddy, inspired by a trip to Jaipur. ‘In terms of interiors, there’s been a lot of grey over the past 10 years,’ says Murray, ‘but we wanted to use bold colors. Because of the size of the rooms, we knew it would work.’

dining room mixes a Georgian chandelier with mid-century Knoll furniture and edgy Damask wallpaper by the Glasgow-based design duo Timorous Beasties.
dining room mixes a Georgian chandelier with mid-century Knoll furniture and edgy Damask wallpaper by the Glasgow-based design duo Timorous Beasties.

These joyful splashes of bright shades, combined with the mix of patterns, textures, and displays of art throughout the house, both celebrate and update the Georgian structure, resulting in a lively home that was made for entertaining. ‘As we don’t live in Scotland all the time, it’s great to have a place where we can get everyone together,’ says Keith. ‘When we finished the house, we had 60 people round for a party, which was the first time it had been used as a residential house for probably over 60 years. It felt like the house was coming back to life.’

(Text: Alison Gibb, Photography: Douglas Gibb)

See This Cozy Scottish Kitchen In a Georgian Farmhouse

Hello dear readers, my name is Alison Gibb and I'm a new monthly columnist from Scotland here on decor8 as part of Holly's growing team of writers, stylists and photographers. I've been creating features for interiors magazines with my photographer husband, Douglas Gibb, for 20 years now, in his native Scotland. For my first column, which isn't a full home tour but a gorgeous kitchen instead, I will share the space of Arlene and David Munro-Wise who live in a 200-year-old Georgian farmhouse, located in a magical spot on Scotland's East Coast, called Lunan bay.

Arlene and David's Lovely Home

Arlene and David's Lovely Home

On arrival, my husband and I were immediately bowled over by Arlene's warmth and incredible sense of style. As a couple they share an artistic vision completely and have a proven track record for rescuing ancient houses. 

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They previously restored their own 400-hundred-year-old home in France and then spent nine years thereafter undertaking restoration projects for clients all over Provence, the Tarn and the Languedoc. They then decided to move to Scotland, where Arlene was born and brought up, to be nearer to family and old friends.

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Together they run a business creating events: staging some of the biggest and most extravagant shows in the world, from concept through to production, including the Armani event at the Dubai World Cup. 

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You can see her stunning landscape paintings dotted around her home: she studied theater design at Nottingham and then went on to do an MA at the Slade School in London,. She painted the sets for Scottish Opera for five years while her son was a child, she then met David and remarried and moved to France. Find out more about Arlene's work here at Arlmunro

Derelict for five years, Arlene describes the interior as 'dark, gloomy and hideous' when they bought it; they wanted to open up the roof spaces, expose the trusses and create new windows and roof lights to enhance the light. Working in a freelance capacity and ready to travel at a moment’s notice, they have mastered the art of what Arlene calls ‘living lightly’. 

They have skillfully injected this philosophy into their home: both spatially sensitive and light sensitive, they have stripped it back and reinstated its unique qualities and architectural features, while also adding contemporary touches. 

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The most dramatic transformation is undoubtedly the kitchen. Arlene and David have deliberately exposed the tactile pinkish stone walls and ceiling rafters, installed four Velux roof lights, replaced an existing window and installed glazed double doors to access the garden. Never has the phrase ‘let there be light’ been more appropriate.

“I love the juxtaposition between old and new,” Arlene adds. Finding the original, time-worn flagstone floors in the kitchen was a joyous moment,” she reveals. “The kitchen floor had been covered in shiny black tiles and paired with red gloss-painted Artex walls and a dark pine kitchen. Some of the flagstones were damaged but we were able to repair them.”

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 “We chose made-up units that came ready for painting, which I did myself – paint, sand, paint became a mantra - in a soft shade of grey contrasted with white that features throughout the house. The units and central island are topped with white Italian composite quartz work surfaces and all the appliances were bought online,” she says. Arlene is an able cook, entertaining for friends is effortless when you have coordinated events on the scale of the Dubai World Cup.

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A key feature, if not the star feature, is an old door suspended on a sliding wheeled mechanism against the kitchen’s exposed stone wall. Battered and studded with monster-sized nails, the door is 400 years old and was carefully transported from the couple’s former home in France. “My brother rigged up a suitably ancient looking sliding system to hang it from,” adds Arlene.

When it comes to buying things for the house Arlene confesses to loving a bargain. “I’m a truffler!” she laughs. “I truffle for things wherever I go, although I like to buy nice materials. Her truffling to date has resulted in furniture from India, Dubai, France and the UK, where sources range from auction houses to TK Maxx and online.

While the house is still an on-going project, Arlene and David can now afford to take time out to enjoy nearby Lunan beach and explore the Angus countryside and coastline. 

“For us this project was a mission to restore the historic detail while also providing contemporary comforts to make a home livable in again,” Arlene muses.  There is a much longed for studio where Arlene can paint in the garden. For this well-traveled couple it has been a remarkable journey – one that has secured this beautiful period property’s future for another few hundred years.

See you again soon with another tour from a Scottish home, next time an entire home that you will love! - Alison.

(Photography: Douglas Gibb // Text: Alison Gibb for decor8)