The Househunter: Room by Room

14th September 2018

Morning morning, and two very different properties this week. We’re going to head up to Scotland first to fulfill my delusions of grandeur with this pretty castle in Callender, Perthshire.

It’s on with Savills, for £1,750,000 and technically it’s a baronial house not a castle apparently but either way it’s got turrets and it’s pretty impressive. I’d live in it. Would you?

It dates back to 1835 – there was originally a smaller house on the same site but it was rebuilt and substantially enlarged after a fire in 1901.

It currently belongs to the artist Stuart MacAlpine Miller and his designer wife Nikki, who transformed the 13 bedroom pile set in 12 acres into a light and airy space with polished concrete floors and white walls to display his work and their  own private collection.

What’s most fabulous about it is that it isn’t at all what you would expect when you see the building from the outside and, believe me, I look at a lot of property every week and I can’t tell you how many Scottish homeowners in large houses choose to decorate in tartan. Although perhaps if it’s your family plaid it’s a different matter. Although most of it seems to be the classic green and red.

I particularly love these dining chairs although it’s possible you need to live in a baronial mansion to pull this look off. It wouldn’t be the same in a semi in Neasdon, or even in a room with carpet. Unless it was ankle-deep shag pile.

And before we leave (there are more pictures via the Savills link above) I thought we should have a look at this wood-burning stove seeing as we have been talking about them this week (10 Things You Need To Know Before You Install A Wood-burning Stove). This is another example of how the owners have contrasted old and new.

In a house of this period you would expect a traditional inglenook fireplace (and perhaps there is one elsewhere) but I rather love this modern box which extends sideways out of the chimney breast and brings an unexpected touch of modernity to the room. As does the gold bull head, making a change from the traditional taxidermy.

From castles in Scotland to modernism in Surrey, this is a week of extremes so let’s see which one you like best. Eashing House, in Godalming, is on the market with The Modern House for £2,700,000 and while it might not have the 13 bedrooms of the property above, it does have seven and is spread over nearly 5,000 sq ft.

Originally designed in the 1960s, it was remodelled by Jake Edgely of Edgley Design, who wrapped it in stainless steel in 2013. His design went on to win an award.

Mostly arranged over a single floor, the seven bedrooms, of which four are en-suite, are arranged in a long bedroom wing and the master bedroom has a dressing room, free-standing bath and floor to ceiling glazing looking out over the garden.

I’m often torn with modern houses – on the one hand I love how they function so efficiently with no draughts and working heating, but I also love the awkward corners and sloping floors that you find in older properties.

But this house appeals to me as the vendors have picked a warmer palette than you so often find in very modern houses. This burgundy kitchen is a bold choice but as its currently one of the hottest colours around it will be interesting to see if it translates into kitchens over the coming months. The wooden beams also add warmth and character.

And here’s a shot of the bathroom looking out into the garden. I’m not entirely sure I would find this relaxing with the door open like that. I’d be too worried the postman would wander in looking for someone to sign for a parcel but maybe that’s just me?

Anyway that’s your lot this week. But before I go can I say a massive thank you to all of you who read and comment and subscribe. The blog was ranked No 1 Interiors blog for the fourth year running the other day and, unlike the many awards which rely on campaigning to get to the shortlist, the Vuelio rankings are based on readers, stats and reach so it’s, yer know, scientific. And for that I thank you – because without you,  the readers the stats and reach would be much lower.


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  • Ursula in Cádiz 21st September 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Congratulations Kate!
    I actually love those chair backs, but-oops!-that just had to be the room where the inevitable tartan sofa crept in… sigh.

  • Limelight 17th September 2018 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for sharing beautiful information and images with us


  • Hélène 14th September 2018 at 8:26 pm

    I think the main problem with that scottish manor are the floors, they are just too shiny for me! Just keep or put some beautifully worn flagstones and floorboards and that modern furniture would look fine.
    The kitchen’s curved cabinets would have to go, I really don’t like them but it is ok, as I have nearly 2 millions at my disposal I can put in a Devol kitchen in.
    Well done on your well deserved award, Kate. I have been following your blog for years!

  • Jo 14th September 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Sorry, but I do agree with Sonia above… it’s been Rockett St George’d to the hilt, and looks ghastly!

  • Glenda 14th September 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Yes, the next buyer will have a hard row to hoe, ripping out all that alien stuff — why buy a Scottish baronial house in the first place if you don’t like the style?

  • Nicola 14th September 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Congratulations on the award Kate – which is well deserved. The Househunter is my favourite day of the week and this week I have to agree with Sonia that the Scottish house is a travesty. I wouldn’t mind eclectic wall colours and furnishings because they are easily rectifiable but concrete floors and modern fireplaces are more permanent and just not sympathetic. I agree there is a middle road between this and tartan. Although I’m in favour of the fake animal head which is much nicer than slaughtering a real animal and hanging it’s head on the wall so all credit to them for that at least.

    • Sonia 14th September 2018 at 3:11 pm

      I’m interested that you agree. I came back wondering if my early morning pre-caffeine loathing was justified, ready to hang my head. Still hate it. Apart from the vulgarity of everything being silver/gold/glittery/shiny, I think what offends me most is the built-in obsolescence. These interiors scream 2017/18 and in ten years they’ll look incredibly dated and be discarded for the next fad. Robert Kime’s home is on the cover of House and Garden this month, and his interiors have such a timeless quality. They could probably have afforded his prices for the amount they spent on this, and you’d only need to buy the furniture once.

      • Bobby 14th September 2018 at 4:25 pm

        Love your comment about “built in obsolescence”, it hits the nail square on the head. Clearly I don’t shop for Scottish castles very often so don’t know the going rate but I wonder if the price reflects the fact that any sane buyer is going to need to spend a fortune ripping half the fittings out?

        • Sonia 14th September 2018 at 4:48 pm

          I was told by a London agent that in this price bracket, buyers will not expect a reduction provided the decor is new – on the assumption that they will get rid of it anyway so who cares whether it’s to their taste. But they want a £2m house to look like a £2m house.

          If it actually is a fixer-upper with 70s kitchen etc they do want a reduction – even though the net result is exactly the same, i.e. they rip it all out! Go figure….

  • Sharon 14th September 2018 at 11:02 am

    My husband has just peered over my shoulder whilst I was looking at the photo of the bathroom of Eashing House. His comment – ‘Window cleaner’s delight!’ !!
    He used to leave near Godalmimg and thinks he remembers the house being built. (And no, he’s never been a window cleaner!)

  • Wendy 14th September 2018 at 10:26 am

    I agree with Sonia – that horrid shiny floor – can’t think of anything worse in a big old house (even with underfloor heating, it still looks cold). I quite like modern furniture and fittings in period properties – but the bones of the house need to remain truer to their origins. Too many shiny surfaces for me, no thanks. The modern Surrey one is much nicer, even though I don’t like the kitchen colour (school tie colour for me!), but the large portrait in the hall needs to be hung lower surely?

  • Sonia 14th September 2018 at 8:31 am

    There has to be a middle ground between “all tartan” and hideously unsympathetic. I clicked through to Savills’ website and I thought every room was awful. A tasteless mishmash of Instagram interior design cliche. Rip it all out and get a Scottish interior designer like Jessica Buckley to make it beautiful.

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