Tell us about your house…

It was built in 1900 as a holiday home for an Edinburgh GP and his wife, in the seaside town of Nairn – only a few steps from the beach. It’s been lived in by very few families over the years and has kept a lot of its features but has needed a lot of work, too.


How did you come to buy it?

I had my eye on the house for a year before I finally persuaded my husband to view it, back in February 2020. Its big double storm doors, Minton tiles in the vestibule and high ceilings with original cornicing made me fall in love with it. I knew even from walking up to the door that we’d buy it, while my husband, Innes, only knew once he saw the back gate that led directly onto the golf course!

Was there an obvious starting point?

Our first job was to get the wooden floorboards downstairs sanded and varnished, and the windows were rotting so we had to replace them with double-glazed wooden sash ones. Highland Joinery & Glazing did a great job of replicating the windows sympathetically. The roof also needed replacing, which we couldn’t afford to do straightaway and it’s finally starting this summer. We’ve had many leaks over the last two years so it will be a huge relief to get the job done!

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Have you managed to keep any original features?

I’ve tried to keep all of them – and even replaced some that previous owners had taken out. For example, we reinstated the drawing room door as it had been knocked into an arch. I also found an authentic fire surround from a nearby property for the drawing room, where a modern-looking glass stove had been installed. I’ve kept the original kitchen tiles and worked the kitchen design around them. The kitchen also has the original servants’ bell display, which still works. The kids drive me mad ringing it from various rooms!

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Which jobs have proved the trickiest so far?

Every job seems to take longer and be more expensive than planned! The trickiest has definitely been stripping the stairs, as I took this on myself. I do, however, think it will be worth it!

Where have you sourced fittings to suit your home’s history?

We found gorgeous brass light switches and sockets at Corston Architectural Detail and used Jim Lawrence for some of our lighting and brass doorware. At Douglas Watson Studio we found spare tiles that were almost identical to original ones in the house, and eBay has been great for picking up door plates and other bits and bobs.

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Which is your favourite room?

The kitchen, which we’ve transformed into a family space where we spend a lot of time. Having the Aga means that on winter mornings it’s the warmest room in the house. It has south-facing glass doors so it’s a lovely, bright room and flows out into the garden. We put in a new stone floor, a local carpenter made the oak island with fluted glass-fronted cabinets, and the bold paint is Brinjal by Farrow & Ball.

What tips would you give anyone thinking of taking on a similar project?

  • Don’t hurry to decorate each room or find a certain piece of furniture – you’ll often regret a rushed purchase.
  • Embrace the original character of your home, and try and work with what you have. Before moving in, I’d planned to take down a wall and make the kitchen and dining room into one huge space, but after living here for several months it became clear this wasn’t the best solution for the house.
  • Don’t buy all your furniture and furnishings new. Look around for antique bits from your home’s specific era. It adds individuality and will stand the test of any trend.

The Dining Room Renovation

Pale Oak Paint

Neutral paint colour

Buy Pale Oak Paint from Craig & Rose (from £18)

Juno Extendable Dining Table

Dining table

Buy Juno Extendable Dining Table from Perch & Parrow (£970)

Traditional Handmade Persian Oriental Wool Rug

Buy Traditional Handmade Persian Oriental Wool Rug from eBay (£POA)

Wishbone Chair

Wishbone chair

Buy Wishbone Chair from byKALLEVIG (£129)

The Drawing Room Renovation

Basalt Paint

Buy Basalt Paint from Little Greene (from £22.50)

Giant Round Gold Mirror

Buy Giant Round Gold Mirror from Graham & Green (£320)

April Snow, Torridon Art Work

Buy April Snow, Torridon Art Work from Dot Walker Art

The Kitchen Renovation

Brinjal Paint

Brinjal paint by Farrow & Ball

Buy Brinjal Paint from Farrow & Ball (from £56)

Smeg Fridge in Emerald Green

Smeg Fridge

Buy Smeg Fridge in Emerald Green from Smeg (£2,239)

The Morning Room Renovation

Vine Wallpaper in Rouge

Vine Wallpaper from Little Greene

Buy Vine Wallpaper in Rouge from Little Greene (£102)

The Master Bedroom Renovation

Edwardian home renovation in Edinburgh

Nocturnal Faunacation Wallpaper

Nocturnal Faunacation wallpaper

Buy Nocturnal Faunacation Wallpaper from Divine Savages (£150)

Large 19th Century French Gold Mirror

!9th century mirror

Buy Large 19th Century French Gold Mirror from The Hoarde (£995)