The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Rink Hill, a striking glassfront­ed retreat built into a hillside near Galashiels


It was an exciting part of an overall diversific­ation plan. We knew that the site – secluded and south-facing with elevated views across the Tweed Valley – would be perfect for a romantic retreat. So we designed the building for two people, with one bedroom, an open-plan kitchen and living space, a luxurious bathroom and hot tub. Work started in 2018 and was completed within a year.

To make the most of the views, we envisaged a curved frontage and substantia­l use of glass. Keen to minimise the visual impact of a new-build on this ancient hillside, we planned a design that would utilise materials sourced close to the site, including Douglas Fir for the exterior and stone for the walls that flank the house. As a former features writer, Fiona’s work had allowed us to travel to memorable places at home and abroad, and we drew on these ideas. We aimed at creating a luxurious experience for ourselves and our guests.

Early in the process, we consulted with local architect Stuart Davidson, who translated our ideas into the design and later won an award for technical innovation incorporat­ed in the build. Preparatio­n of the site began early in 2018 and by the summer

our excellent builders, Pattersons of Selkirk, had started work. The Friendly Joiner from Kelso translated the felled and seasoned Douglas Fir into beautiful features externally and internally, while the craftsmans­hip of drystone dyke expert Neil Moffat helped to blend the build seamlessly with the landscape.

When it came to the interior design, we wanted above all to achieve a sense of reassuring solidity, while echoing the peaceful environmen­t outside the doors.

We opted for a calm colour palette, with a few brighter pieces for contrast, and natural finishes such as the exposed timber. We wanted to go big on quality and achieved this in our use of materials such as solid wood and stone composite work surfaces as well as bespoke art and locally sourced textiles. The interior design evolved with the views in mind, so the large, freestandi­ng stone bath sits beside the bathroom window, while the bed and L-shaped sofa are similarly positioned.

We used local suppliers wherever possible.

Gift and home interior shop Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall of Galashiels was a great resource. A stockist of Garden Trading furniture, the shop supplied the solid wood dining table, bar stools and a shoe bench, as well as a beautiful floor light created out of old whisky barrels by Darach. We were fortunate to snap up some of the last cushions produced by local textile company Orwell & Goode too. The mustard-coloured seat from Maison du Monde was chosen to punctuate the neutrality. Mike’s brother, printmaker Kenny Bayne, was tasked with artwork for the bathroom, using colours that complement the furnishing­s.

Waking to a beautiful sunrise or even dramatic clouds, taking a rain shower, curling up with a book on the comfy sofa, or returning from a walk on the hills to a hot tub and a glass of fizz under the setting sun...

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We built Rink Hill on the farm where Mike grew up.
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