Three islanders opened their doors for BBC Scotland’s Scotland’s Home of the Year last night – with one bagging a spot in the final.
Three beautiful homes were showcased in Orkney and Shetland, but it was Evrabister, a beautifully renovated croft in Kergord, Shetland that won over the judges.
Scoring the three properties on design, style and architectural flair, the judges gave 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.
‘Strong sense of personal taste’
When Julie Talbot went to view Evrabister in 2018, she not only ended up buying it – by meeting her partner, Gary, who was actually selling it.
Since then, the couple have lovingly decorated it – with judges praising their work to create a place of “respite and comfort” without losing the traditional feel of the croft.
The house once belonged to a housekeeper of another property, Kergord House which was the headquarters for Shetland Bus Operation – a firm that supported the Norwegian resistance in the Second World War.
The open plan living room and kitchen lead to two bedrooms and a bathroom. Outside, Ms Talbot has converted a garage into a multi-use space called the “Evrabister Bothy She Shed”.
Judge Anna Campbell-Jones said Evrabister had “a strong sense of the homeowner’s own sensibility and their personal sense of taste”.
The home has a rich history in a tranquil location, and sits in front of the large plantation of trees called Lindsay Lee.
It is understood the plantation is the oldest and largest in Shetland, and draws many visitors all year round.
Judge Michael Angus said he was happy to see the “spirit” of the home kept alive “without demolishing it”.
He added: “You can now turn a place of croft from a place of work and labour to a place of respite and comfort.”
Won over by the space, scoring it a full 10 out of 10, judge Kate Spiers noted the “charming feel”, as if ” a lot of love had gone into it”.
The living room was her favourite, saying it was “very easy” to be in the space while also fun because of the colour and interesting furniture.
Speaking on the show, Ms Talbot said the sitting room was her favourite.
She said: “It’s just lovely sitting here, to look at the beautiful views outside after a hard day’s work.”
She said she and her partner had enjoyed decorating the house together adding: “I love mid-century modern, absolutely love retro stuff.”
The other two contenders during last night’s programme were Double House, an idyllic B-listed terraced house in Stromness on Orkney and Da Hen Run, a one-and-a-half-storey wooden-framed home with sea views on Burra Isle, Shetland
Double House was built around 1812 and has been home to Jo Ramsey for the past 30 years.
The 68-year-old, who works as a copy editor and writer, fell in love with the home’s sense of history and its breathtaking sea views.
She said: “One of the reasons I love living here is the sense of history, and I think with an old house it’s nice to add your own layer to it so you become part of its history.”
Da Hen Run is home to Wendy Inkster, 50, her husband Maurice, 55, an electrician by trade, and their dog Maggie.
Speaking on the show, Mrs Inkster chose the kitchen table which looks out into the vista as her favourite place in the house.
She added: “Because I sit here, have a tea or a cup of coffee and because I can see everything that we built the home for.”
BBC Scotland’s Home of the Year continues next Wednesday at 8pm.