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Home with the Marks: Newlywed Aberdeenshire influencers with 24,000 Instagram followers show us their home

Strong foundations: The couple, earlier this year, outside their stunning granite cottage. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson
Strong foundations: The couple, earlier this year, outside their stunning granite cottage. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Home is where the heart is for property power couple Mark Cunningham and his husband Mark Strachan who are marking a special milestone in their fascinating home renovation project.

Sleek, impeccably stylish and radiating happiness, it’s easy to see why the sweet soulmates from New Deer have captured the hearts and minds of over 24k people who follow their house renovation journey – Home with the Marks – online.

And this year has been particularly momentous for the Aberdeenshire social media influencers who – after five years – have nearly reached the pinnacle of their internet-famous house makeover.

But it’s not just through their beautifully refurbished granite cottage where the couple are building strong foundations though as they recently tied the knot at the illustrious Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh in front of their closest friends, family and their adorable Dachshund called Chip.

Love story: Mark Cunningham, left, and Mark Strachan, marked the best day of their lives with their adorable pooch Chip. Photo by Sophie Alexandria Photography.

All or nothing

Society caught up with the newlyweds to get the lowdown on their hugely popular house revamp and, of course, their wonderfully lavish wedding.

“The last year has been crazy for us with renovating the house and planning a wedding,” says Mark Cunningham.

“With the house we put our heart and soul into it and that was reflected in our wedding as we don’t so things by halves, it’s either all or nothing.

“It was the best day of our lives.”

Day to remember forever: The soulmates tied the knot at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. Photo by Sophie Alexandria Photography.


It was back in 2017 when the couple started their inspiring Instagram page Home with the Marks to document the renovation of their property which once belonged to Mark Strachan’s late grandparents Nellie and Wullie.

Over the years, their online diary has evolved into something so much more than just a home blog as the couple have given people a window into their world.

“It’s nice when people message us as it makes you think we must be doing something right,” says Mark Cunningham.

“There’s this lovely and supportive online community which is really nice.

“People will actually send through photos of what they’ve done and where they’ve taken inspiration from us which is really nice to see.”

Bold and beautiful: The couple have put their own stamp on their beautiful granite cottage. Image: Mark Cunningham

Home inspiration

Describing it as a shell, Mark Strachan, who is the creative director at Laings and Mark Cunningham, who works in the oil and gas industry, have spent the last five years breathing fresh life into the building.

“When we started we didn’t really know what to do with the space because it was such a vast project so we didn’t really know how to tackle it,” says Mark Cunningham.

“At the start of the renovation we kept things quite simple and safe but as it has progressed we got a bit bolder by using dark colours in the dining room, the bedroom and the snug that we’ve just finished.”

Vibrant interiors: The couple urge people to be brave like them when it comes to interiors. Image: Mark Cunningham

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Asked what advice they would give to anyone else who is undertaking a massive renovation project, the couple say it’s worth pushing through when times get tough.

“I definitely think that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger as there were many a time when we were thinking ‘what on earth are we doing’ but you just need to persevere,” says Mark Strachan.

“We reached a few points during the renovation where we thought we had bitten off more than we could chew but you just keep pushing on and chipping away at it.

“It’s also important to focus on the positives instead of the negatives and what still needs to be done.”

Delectable dining: Meal times are an elegant affair at the couple’s stunning home. Image: Mark Cunningham

Patience is a virtue

The couple also say that people should take their time with their renovations.

“Patience is a really big thing,” says Mark Cunningham.

“I think there’s a lot of people who jump into their renovation and think they’ve got to do everything at the one time.

“Obviously we’re in a lucky position where it’s just the two of us so we don’t really fuss over how many bedrooms are finished off.

“But learning to be patient and not to rush through it is important.”

Sleek and sumptuous: The couple have used darker tones for the master bedroom. Image: Mark Cunningham

Investment pieces

Speaking from experience, the couple also advise people to think carefully before investing in key pieces for their homes.

“Mark always uses the saying buy cheap, buy twice and it’s so true,” says Mark Cunningham.

“If you were to rush into something just to get it finished you’ll probably regret some decisions.

“For example, we wanted outside lights for the house but instead of waiting and getting the more expensive lights we wanted, we ended up buying cheaper lights which broke three times.

“So we ended up spending more in repairs to fix the lights and then buying the lights we initially wanted which work perfectly.”

Cook in style: The kitchen is a dream for keen bakers. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

The Mark and Mark effect

After what has been a hectic year for the couple, they can now see the light at the end of the renovation tunnel.

“Over the past year I feel as though we’re on top of the renovation now rather than it being on top of us,” says Mark Cunningham.

“There’s really only the one space left to finish, the stairs and the entrance hall.

“We’ve saved the biggest challenge until last as it’s the only part of the house that still has original features so we want to do it justice and respect what is there but also put the Mark and Mark spin on it.”

Exciting new chapter

Now the couple are looking forward to a new chapter in their lives together and building an even brighter future together.

“I guess from the outside looking in we do like nicer things and we invest heavily in the house and our wedding but it’s all about balance, compromise and what you choose to spend your money on,” says Mark Strachan.

“We compromised as we’ve not had a holiday in seven years through choice so we could invest in the house and the wedding.

“So we’re definitely ready for a sunshine holiday.”

Beginning of the rest of their lives: Mark and Mark were a vision of happiness on their wedding day. Image: Sophie Alexandria Photography