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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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!
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