This gorgeous Arts and crafts house in Perthshire was bought as a weekend retreat, but now that its interior has had a facelift, the owners are finding it increasingly hard to leave it behind
Holiday home. The phrase conjures up the but-and-ben in the west Highlands, the wooden chalet in Aviemore, possibly the tumbledown barn in an inaccessible part of rural Normandy. Lovely idea, but in reality a long drive ending with fusty bedding, an empty fridge and a fortnight spent painting the shutters and visiting the French equivalent of B&Q.
Not for this Glasgow family. Their bolthole, Keithleyhead, is an hour’s easy drive from the city, to Auchterarder in Perthshire. The charming Arts and Crafts property, in one of the most desirable locations in Scotland, has now been redesigned by local firm Pat Renson Interiors.
Gleneagles, with its world-class golf courses, hotel and spa is practically next door. Should Karen, the owner, tire of cooking, Andrew Fairlie, Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, is in walking distance.
Pat Renson recalls her initial session with Karen as one of the briefest in her professional career. “She had already given the refurbishment a good deal of thought, and she asked if we could help with it. We met one afternoon and came up with a plan right away. I doubt any scheme put to a client by an interior designer has ever been agreed to faster!”
Karen requested “a quirky Scottish, lived-in, eclectic interior with a hint of masculine charm”. Pat translated that into a scheme that mixed traditional materials with classic English and American preppy design: “Ralph Lauren, Mulberry, Osborne & Little and lots of hints of plaid.” Karen, who would oversee the management of the project and be deeply involved in many of the decorating decisions, with was delighted.
Built in the 1930s, Keithleyhead has four bedrooms (one in the attic) and a substantial, well-loved garden. There are original features galore: parquet floor, wood panelling in the TV room, lots of cornicing and a rolltop bath set into one of the fireplace recesses. Pat’s scheme kept and enhanced all of these goodies. Some, like the parquet, simply needed sanding, varnishing and plenty of TLC. For the trickier areas, the designer called on her battery of cunning techniques to work around structural problems and building materials that were past their best.
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