What do Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the RAF and the Colonel of the Cameron Barracks all have in common?
They’re all tied into the latest episode of Scotland’s Home of the Year which showcases some of the finest homes that the Highlands has to offer.
Saltire House, Aviemore
First to open their door are Ian and Myra Forrester, in Aviemore. The couple met in Edinburgh in the mid-80s and spent their careers building and renovating holiday homes and lodges across the Highlands.
Now retired, they’re enjoying the fruits of their labours in their Rennie Mackintosh inspired new-build home, Saltire House.
“Myra was a jewellery designer at college and that’s where the love for Mackintosh came from,” says Ian.
“But I’m very aware of the difference between copying and tipping your hat to Mackintosh.
“When you first come into the home, it’s very Mackintosh. We wanted the hallway to be really of the style like the white wood, hidden doors, spiral staircase, but that’s it.”
Dashes of colour and personality etch their way throughout the rest of Saltire House, which gives the home a character that’s unique to the couple.
“We wanted to make a statement from the outside – since hopefully it’ll still be here after we’ve gone!
“But inside, we wanted it fit for purpose. It’s what we wanted.”
“The experience [of the show] has been absolutely great. I never expected to do anything like this.”
Mansion Apartment, Lentran
Next, inviting viewers into their basement apartment are John and Tanya Young who met at a Press & Journal ball seven years ago.
Their basement is no ordinary one though. It is one of seven converted apartments within the B listed Baronial mansion Lentran House, which is also where the couple married in 2017.
During the Second World War, the mansion was used as an RAF maintenance unit and parts for Spitfires were once housed in the same basement that John and Tanya now call home.
“We keep hoping we’ll dig something up,” says Tanya.
The pair have incorporated styles from a mix of different eras throughout their home’s interior.
“We’ve got an eclectic mix of genres,” says John. “Art deco, industrial, mid-century… it’s been quite tricky to make them all work together but that was our interest.”
“We didn’t actually look to be on this programme,” John adds. “SHOTY [Scotland’s Home of the Year] found us and said ‘would you like to be on the show?’ And we both went, ‘aaahhh!’
“We really loved the experience. It was great.”
Colonel’s House, Inverness
Finally, last of the Highland contenders are Gaelle and Simon Patton who live in the Colonel’s House in Inverness.
Hailing from the Loire Valley and Lancashire respectively, the couple both currently work as pupil support assistants (PSAs) at a local secondary school and first moved to Scotland in 2002.
When the couple acquired the Colonel’s House 10 years ago, after moving from Blairgowrie, it was in need of repair.
Simon mentions: “The house was built in 1897 to house the colonel of the Cameron Barracks. It was sold to us a B&B, so it had eight bedrooms when we bought it.
“All the original Victorian doors had been smoothed, so all the ornate settings had been prized off.
“We did lots of research to try and bring back original elements of the property… it was in a terrible state.”
Lovers of the Victorian era, the couple incorporated period décor alongside several original pieces of Scottish art in their Highland home.
“We’re English and French, but we’re living here in Scotland and we wanted to represent that,” says Simon.
“I love going to other properties and getting that really exciting feeling when you open the front door,” Gaelle adds.
“There’s a mix of contemporary and quirky things… I like that every room is different.”
The couple felt it was “critical” for them to stamp their own personality on the home. But 10 years in the making, they say that it is still “a work in progress”.
“It’s an evolving project,” says Simon, with Gaelle going on to add that: “It’s a project that will never be finished.
“Like the family pictures on our staircase, we’ll keep adding more and making more memories.”
The show’s judges will score each Highland home out of 10 on design, style and architectural flair with the winner representing the region in the series finale.
Scotland’s Home of the Year continues on BBC Scotland on Wednesday at 8pm. 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