My Hum­ble Abode.......................................................

Beau­ti­ful homes from around Scot­land

No. 1 Magazine - - Scotland's No.1 -

Who: Yvonne and Alan Cor­bet live with son Alex. Alan is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Bris­tow He­li­copters and Yvonne is the Man­ag­ing Di­rect of House of Turin. What: Stately Home. Where: For­far (house­of­turin.com)

We have lived all over the world with Alan’s work so when he sug­gested we move back to Scot­land, I cer­tainly wasn’t in favour. But when I saw this mag­nif­i­cent house three years ago, my head was turned. In the past, it had been a care home and also res­i­den­tially owned by ac­tor Paul Stock­man. It was a com­plete gam­ble and we didn’t ex­pect to get it at all. I flew in from Cape Town one week­end, put a note of in­ter­est in on the Mon­day then, be­fore we knew it, it was ours. Alan hadn’t even seen it! The house is ooz­ing with his­tory. It was built back in 1659 down at Resco­bie Loch then moved brick by brick to its cur­rent lo­ca­tion in the 1900s. The Lady of the house didn’t like the orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion and so when her hus­band passed the move be­gan, it took seven years to com­plete. The house is now marked as be­ing built in 1907 which means it is not a listed build­ing. It’s be­lieved to have been gifted to Robert the Bruce af­ter a win­ning bat­tle against Eng­land. When we bought the house it had been to­tally ne­glected, it was rot­ten and mouldy in var­i­ous ar­eas – the best way to de­scribe it was unloved. And the poor gar­dens were all over-grown. The very first thing we did was hire a skip, then my hus­band, our son, our daugh­ter and I rolled up our sleeves and got stuck right in, it was a real fam­ily ef­fort and chal­lenge for ev­ery­one. We’ve added four new en-suite bath­rooms and moved some walls around to make the rooms flow bet­ter. In to­tal we had 53 new win­dows put in – with 30 still on the to do list. Al­though the house was in a state of dis­re­pair, it had pre­vi­ously had a lot of money thrown at it, with a fab­u­lous heat­ing sys­tem, lots of mod cons and Clive Chris­tian through­out the house which I can’t pos­si­bly take out. It’s quite re­stric­tive, but it’s Clive Chris­tian! The house in all re­ally isn’t too bad to main­tain. Ini­tially the cel­lar al­ways flooded and we later learned that the house ac­tu­ally sweats! We now have a de­hu­mid­i­fier run­ning 24/7. We have man­aged to cre­ate two won­der­ful rooms from this area – a wine cel­lar and a whisky room both boast­ing our own pri­vate col­lec­tion.

As we of­fer ex­clu­sive use of the house, it’s re­ally im­por­tant to me that ev­ery­one feels at home, as op­posed to a ho­tel – noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble here! So it’s been dec­o­rated with this in mind. I would say it’s a nod to Scot­land with an Asian in­flu­ence. There’s a lot of ap­pre­ci­a­tion to­wards the house and we’ve dec­o­rated sym­pa­thet­i­cally around its her­itage. It wasn’t par­tic­u­larly a blank can­vas when we bought it with half a mile of red car­pets through­out – which isn’t ex­actly a bad point as red is my favourite colour! I love his­tory and don’t do con­tem­po­rary. I sup­pose we’ve adapted our in­te­rior style to suit where we have lived, colour­ful palms in Malaysia, cool oa­sis of whites in Dubai. So here why not hang tar­tan wall­pa­per! I ab­so­lutely love an­i­mal print! It’s a neu­tral, you could put it any­where, I’m known as the leop­ard queen. If I was al­lowed I would have a full room with leop­ard print. There’s lit­tle leop­ard ac­cents through­out the house.

You will also see a large va­ri­ety of Asian pieces through­out the house too. I have had many of these shipped from China. This was my job be­fore we moved – im­port­ing Chi­nese fur­ni­ture. I love its weath­ered wood look and I don’t think it looks out of place in this house. Our life jour­ney is in and around this house, with ev­ery piece hav­ing a story. I don’t have any dé­cor re­grets as such, but I’m not overly keen on the yel­low hall­way. I don’t re­ally like citrus colours, I’m more a lover of deep colours like red and I love gold. The an­tique mir­rors in the bath­room are one of my hap­pi­est dé­cor de­ci­sions. Along with Henry the Stag, he’s very ma­jes­tic. He came from an es­tate in In­ver­ness! I’m a bar­gain buyer so I re­ally haven’t splashed out on any­thing, per­haps the en-suites and Henry (the stag) are my splurge pieces. My best bud­get buys are the an­tique mir­ror which were auc­tion buys, the an­tique hall chairs, and I’ve a weak­ness for floor length mir­rors, which I had made in china for but­tons. I like a bar­gain! I couldn’t live with­out my can­dles and mir­rors, I have them ev­ery­where. I love heavy gilded an­tique mir­rors, they brighten up any room. A trick of mine is to have a can­dle in front of mir­rors to give a re­ally lovely ef­fect. An­other tip is to hang a mir­ror op­po­site the win­dow so you can take in the views from any­where in the room and use can­dles to cre­ate an at­mos­phere. My other love is for flow­ers, white lilies for the sum­mer months and red roses for the win­ter, these flow­ers just re­ally work for this house. And my Chofa – Thai Tem­ple, it holds so many mem­o­ries for me. The con­ser­va­tory is my favourite part of the house. The views over the gar­dens are breath­tak­ing and you can see ev­ery­thing. It’s so bright and in the morn­ing the deer walk past the win­dows. Per­haps this room has more mean­ing as sum­mer is with­out a doubt my favourite sea­son. I love the long light nights, so much day­light, there is nowhere bet­ter to be than Scot­land in the sum­mer. I never thought I’d end up liv­ing in such a house. I imag­ined I’d spend my life trav­el­ling, when I was younger I couldn’t wait to leave Scot­land. I was an orig­i­nal Cale­do­nia Air­ways cabin crew gal and I loved ev­ery minute of my trav­els, I would spend ev­ery minute of ev­ery hour out and about ex­plor­ing when we landed on over­seas soil. But I do love this house, I al­ways need a project. My ad­vice to any­one tak­ing on a project like this or dec­o­rat­ing a room is to ac­knowl­edge the space, it’s her­itage and its views.

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