Welcome to Killiehuntly, a rural estate that dates back to 1603 in the Scottish Highlands. After being purchased by Danish husband and wife, Anders Povlsen and Anne Storm Pedersen in 2011, it has been transformed into a luxurious retreat in the Cairngorms National Park. The lovingly restored Killiehuntly Farmhouse caught my eye with their beautiful, warm and calm interiors. Anne is the design lead, along with her friend, Swiss designer Ruth Kramer. They have coined their style, quite aptly in my view, Scandi-Scot because of the combination of contemporary Danish design and Scottish farmhouse vernacular. This stirred my combined Scottish and Swedish heritage. How could I therefore resist but be taken by this place.
In a conversation with Ruth, who herself has a background of owning a small, personalised retreat in the Swiss Alps called Brucke 49. She relayed to me that prior to the restoration the whole farm was in need of re-build. They kept the original layout and used an architect who specialised in restoring traditional houses - keeping the character, but modernising the features. The architect was Nicholas Groves-Raines, who has an award-winning architecture firm in Edinburgh and alongside Anne, restored the buildings at Killiehuntly by using local, natural materials and traditional skills.
Ruth explained that the house was an empty shell waiting for life. She and Anne have been working together as colleagues for many years and shared the same feeling and aesthetics. They wanted to create something more feminine and beautiful in the highlands - and they most certainly did. Said Ruth, "what we wanted to achieve we knew from the beginning but many roads leads to the final result".
On the issue of sourcing the collection of items and furniture that have been beautifully curated in each room, Ruth explained that "Anne and myself made a mood-board for each room and we wanted to have something which was made in Scotland (all the beds are) blended with something Scandinavian. Timeless with a lived in feeling. Beautiful but not complicated". Working in an isolated setting did not seem to deter the two resilient designers. "We have the most wonderful team on-site who know the people we can use", explained Ruth. "The only thing we experienced was that some things did not arrive because the destination is far away when sending things from Denmark".
They named the four bedrooms in the farmhouse after the trees that are found on the grounds of Killiehuntly. Ruth is particularly fond of the Birch Room. "I can work so creatively in there with the view over the meadows. I also love the Papa Bear Chair in the Sitting room, the Trine Søndergård pictures in the entrance and the look of the quirky mirror in the dark Lounge."
Anne and Ruth were aiming to appeal to nature and design loving people. According to Ruth, the idea is "to make a home for them where they can relax but also work and get inspired if this is what they need. Down to earth, with an invisible but truly felt luxury."
In my view, Anne and Ruth have met their goals and hit their mark beautifully. A truly stunning piece of design in a dramatic setting.