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Rosie gives historic Aboyne apartment a magnificent makeover

Rosie Jones has enjoyed putting her own stamp on her stunning apartment which was formerly the Balnacoil House Hotel.

1 Balnacoil Apartments in Aboyne is full of charm and character.
First impressions are excellent of 1 Balnacoil Apartments. Image: Laurie & Co

“Wow” was the first thing that Rosie Jones thought when she set eyes on Balnacoil Apartments.

Enjoying a spectacular location on the banks of the River Dee, the attractive apartment is located within a stunning pink granite C-listed building which was once the Balnacoil House Hotel.

Over the past eight years Rosie has put her heart and soul into making the property her own, adding quirky touches and fresh décor.

Here she invites us into her wonderful home to see all the little touches she’s put on the historic home which dates back to 1875.

Rosie Jones sitting in her home
Rosie Jones has enjoyed putting her own touches on her stunning apartment. Image: Rosie Jones

1 Balnacoil Apartments, Aboyne

Who: Rosie Jones and her dog Bella.

What: A three-bedroom executive apartment.

Where: 1 Balnacoil Apartments, Rhu- Na-Haven Road, Aboyne.

As told to Rosemary Lowne 

“I purchased and moved into Balnacoil in September 2015. It’s a Grade C-listed building, originally constructed circa 1875. It was used as a country house hotel prior to being converted into eight apartments in the mid 1990’s.

My apartment is within the original part of the property and is arranged over two floors with many retained original features, including the impressively sized front door.

On the first floor there are three double bedrooms, all with ensuites. The ground floor provides a grand entrance hallway, cloakroom, kitchen, and large sitting and dining room, which has a fantastic view down to the River Dee, located at the bottom of the garden, and to the mountains beyond.

Rosie has created a home that is cosy but has character too. Image: Laurie & Co
Escape the stresses of every day life in this beautiful corner. Laurie & Co

Although I hadn’t envisaged purchasing an apartment, Balnacoil is much more of a house in terms of looks, feel and space.

My first impression was “wow!” as the property has great presence on approach, but feels very homely inside, plus the views from inside and outside the property, across Royal Deeside are sensational.

The previous owners had added double glazing, and while no works were immediately required when I moved in, I knew that I would be changing the decor throughout and making various upgrades to the property.

There is a lot of internal space and I wanted to introduce a more intimate feel, while retaining original features.

Fresh and vibrant, the dining area is the perfect place to enjoy family meals. Laurie & Co
Little details can give a property a homely feel. Laurie & Co

This was achieved by carpeting additional areas, decorating in warmer tones, changing lighting and replacing the wall mounted wood-burning stove for a more traditional, but elegant stove with mantlepiece and fireplace surround.

Within the first six months of moving in, I redecorated which included putting in a new carpet in the reception room and I’ve also enhanced the lighting.

In 2019 the master and second bedroom ensuites were redesigned and installed with underfloor heating.

The view from this room is spectacular. Laurie & Co
The bright kitchen is sure to inspire all kinds of cooks. Laurie & Co

Throughout 2022/23 I obtained planning permission and listed building consent to alter the rear curved bay window to create a central doorway which leads directly into the private garden area which has been professionally landscaped with a range of plants to give interest all year round.

The garden also has a curved sandstone patio which reflects the turreted section of the building as well as a timber fence which enables privacy without detracting from the views beyond.

A gate in the fencing gives direct access to the communal gardens which extend down to the River Dee.

In terms of interiors, I’m not sure what I envisaged. I suppose I wanted it to feel homely with nothing too placed or tidy.

The hallway in the property
The hallway is very welcoming. Laurie & Co
The bathroom of the historic aboyne apartment, with dark blue forest print wallpaper
The bathroom is also full of character. Laurie & Co

I used the Farrow and Ball paint Dimity as the main background colour as it’s a red based neutral and I read somewhere that it was like encasing your home in a hug so I was sold.

I’ve added colour with my soft furnishings, art and quirky bits and pieces that I have collected along the way.

Some of the other Farrow and Ball paint colours I’ve used include Joa’s White, London Stone, Down Pipe and Wimborne White.

I’ve also used the Wood & Pears wallpaper by Cole & Son and sourced my furnishings from places like Loaf, OKA and The Black Faced Sheep in Aboyne.

The view of the area
The views are out of this world. Laurie & Co
This bird’s eye view showcases the scale of this home. Laurie & Co

I’ve also got accessories from Graham & Green, Anthropologie, Nkuku and Cox & Cox. Not forgetting John Lewis, until they closed in Aberdeen.

My favourite items include my wonderful rustic dining table from the Black Faced Sheep in Aboyne which is large enough for the space and now covered in all sorts of characterful marks, created during memorable nights in with family and friends – I’m not a fan of the tablecloth.

Overall I’m very happy with the results versus the cost ratio.

It’s home to me and that feels pretty special.

My advice to anyone else who is renovating is do your thing. Everyone has a different style and flair and that’s good.”

1 Balnacoil Apartments, Rhu -Na – Haven Road, Aboyne, is on the market for offers over £345,000.

To arrange a viewing contact Laurie & Co on 01339 755535 or check out the website