For those of you who love looking inside other people’s homes, you’re in for a treat – Wednesday night’s episode of the popular BBC Scotland show Scotland’s Home of the Year features three stunning homes in Shetland and Orkney.
First up, interior designer Anna Campbell-Jones, architect and lecturer Michael Angus and lifestyle blogger Kate Spiers visit a self-build in Burra Isle, Shetland.
Home to Wendy Inkster, 50, her husband Maurice, 55, an electrician by trade, and their dog Maggie, Da Hen Run is a one-and-a-half-storey wooden-framed home with a striking Scandinavian-style exterior, contemporary interior and spectacular sea views.
Wendy, a teddy bear maker who runs Burra Bears with her daughter Robyn, said their home was a real labour of love as they designed and built it from scratch, even using Lego for inspiration.
“I had trouble visualising what it was going to look like on paper, so Maurice built a Lego house,” said Wendy.
“I would advise anyone who is designing a house to do that as it means you can take down walls, move things and you get a 3D image of your house.
“The main thing we wanted was lots of light and lots of windows to make the best of the sea views because we’re right on the water’s edge. We have a small pier which is perfect as my husband is a keen triathlete, so he basically goes out the garden gate and jumps into the sea.”
With its bright “Granny Smith green” coloured exterior, people are often taken aback when they step inside the home.
“It’s more contemporary inside than it looks outside,” said Wendy.
“When we built it we wanted it to be very open, airy and light, with stone and wooden floors throughout, and there’s lots of glass.”
Although the heart of her home is the dining table where the sea views go on for miles, Wendy will be watching the show from a very different viewpoint.
“I can’t wait to see the programme but I think I’ll be hiding behind the sofa watching it,” said Wendy.
“It was a great experience and I’d advise anybody to apply.”
Next up, viewers will be taken around Evrabister, a beautifully renovated croft house in Kergord, Shetland.
Owner Julie Talbot, 52, who bought the property back in 2018, was shocked when she found out her property was shortlisted.
“It was a huge surprise,” said Julie.
“It is something really lovely to have been involved in during the strange year for everyone that was 2020.”
With its rich history and tranquil location, it’s no surprise that Evrabister caught the eye of TV producers.
“Evrabister is an old croft house that was renovated and then extended in the 1960s,” said Julie.
“It feels special to me as it’s very tranquil and has a unique feel to it. The location is wonderful; it sits in front of the large plantation of trees at Kergord called Lindsay Lee. I believe the plantation is the oldest and largest in Shetland and draws many visitors all year round.
“I’ve been told that my home was once home to the housekeeper of the large house nearby called Kergord House. Kergord House has a very interesting history as it was the headquarters for the Shetland Bus Operation, which supported the Norwegian resistance in the Second World War.”
Tuning in to watch tomorrow night’s episode will be Julie’s daughter, who lives in London, and her family from Birmingham, who haven’t been able to visit due to the pandemic.
“I’m a bit nervous, I have to say,” said Julie.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the other Shetland home featured, and the Orkney home.”
Double House, Orkney
The final contender in Wednesday night’s programme is Double House, an idyllic B-listed terraced house in Stromness in Orkney.
Built around 1812, it has been home to Jo Ramsey for the past 30 years.
Jo, 68, who works as a copy editor and writer, fell in love with the home’s sense of history and its breathtaking sea views.
“The house on its own is a lovely historic house but in this particular setting, at the edge of town and beside the sea, I do think that’s a large part of what makes it special,” said Jo.
“The Double Houses are built on a sort of stone pier which juts out into the sea, so in the winter it can be quite lively but it has lovely views across the harbour.”
Jo, whose cat Leaf may make a star appearance in the show, loves nothing more than taking in the view from her upstairs sitting room.
“The sitting room has beautiful views of Brinkies Brae which is a hill to the north of Stromness which shelters the town,” said Jo.
“In the summer you get this amazing light from the north; sometimes the sky is almost pale green and I love that.”
Scoring the three properties on design, style and architectural flair, the judges will give each a mark out of 10 with the winner going on to represent the east in the finale of Scotland’s Home of the Year.
Scotland’s Home of the Year continues on BBC Scotland on Wednesday May 12 at 10pm. To apply for series four send an email including contact details, a brief description of the home and a few pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org