Emily and Hal Salvesen Have given THE dramatic interior of a Highlands farmhouse and Steading a Careful update with Cosy Colours
Its medieval Flemish style makes this country escape perfect for a shooting lodge
Emily and Hal salvesen had been looking for a property near their family home that was suitable for hosting large shooting parties. They came across an idyllic farmhouse and buildings set in beautiful gardens on the edge of dinnet estate, nestled in a bucolic valley in the Cairngorms national Park, and fell in love with it.
The previous owners had taken inspiration from a Belgian interior designer and antiquarian, axel Vervoordt, well known for his serene interpretations of historic buildings and had restored the interior of the cottage in the style of a medieval Flemish lodge house.
When emily and Hal bought the property, they continued with the theme and extended the farm buildings in the same style, inspired by the amazing, historical exactness of the renovations. They used a Belgian company called rik storms from antwerp to source the wood and many other antique building materials.
‘The existing structure already had the dramatic double height space, as well as cosy snugs and galleried areas,’ says emily. Working with local architect, gerry robb in aboyne, an expert in period renovations, the project was a fantastic learning process for the salvesens, who became absorbed in every detail. ‘everyone took an interest and we made decisions together,’ says emily. ‘The opportunity to thoroughly insulate the house was very welcome and the house is so cosy now.’
The immediate scenery is surprisingly gentle. ‘We must be in a bit of a micro climate; this particular valley is definitely not as rugged as the rest of the Cairngorms, so the unusual style of the interior feels right,’ says emily. Taking inspiration from alpine ski lodges as well as their medieval Flemish starting point, the house has ended up as a delightful concoction of european history.
‘no-one felt bound by Highland tradition, and we have ended up with a classic result that feels homely and welcoming to guests, but still absolutely right for the dramatic surroundings,’ says emily. The house makes the perfect base for their popular shooting parties.
While redecorating throughout, the salvesens engaged a specialist painter and decorator who was able to recreate the traditional techniques used by axel Vervoordt. He mixed the colours himself to achieve the rough textured walls, typical of medieval Flemish properties. a mix of strong, traditional colours have been chosen for the interior, including terracottas, oranges and blues. The results are dramatic but very soothing, while lots of soft textures ensure a homely feel, and salvaged wood has been left raw to complete the authentic result they longed for.
‘i was brought up in dorset but my mum is australian, so my interior inspiration has journeyed from my childhood english country home to a Highland shooting lodge, through many international twists along on the way,’ says emily. ‘Hal and i lived in singapore for three years before we had children and we both love to travel, so warm mediterranean colours and hints of ski chalet styling felt like very natural additions to this otherwise very scottish home from home.’
Exterior The converted farm building and farmhouse is set in beautiful countryside.