I am needing to find the time to write at the moment. Weeks ago, when we were resting Harris after his shoulder/back flare-up (which may or may not have been linked to the mass – I suspect there’s a connection but there’s no way of knowing), I’d got into the habit of writing blog posts in the car while Richard and I took turns to have solo walks with Bracken. As I said at the time, I discovered that I liked writing in the car. We’d park at Gullane or John Muir Country Park, and I’d enjoy the fresh air with the window down, a mug of tea, and Harris curled up on the seat beside me. Car park writing turned out to be much more enjoyable (and better, for me) than doing what I am now: sitting at my desk at home.
One of the things that’s brought me back to writing here – probably the key thing – has been unexpected: location. Where I’m writing. Harris has been resting following an unspecified injury (being a dachshund and worrying that it could be spinal, we’re being very cautious and he hasn’t been having walks for a few weeks) so, after the first week of rest, where we didn’t go on any of our usual walks – at which point we were all climbing the walls – we’ve taken a different approach this week: we drive down the coast, as usual, and then Richard and I take turns to have a walk, one of us with Bracken, while the other stays in the car with Harris.
I’ve been an admirer of Soo Burnell’s photographic prints since she launched her first collection three years ago, and of her typography prints before that, but also I’ve known Soo for years as we’ve worked together on interior features for magazines, before Copperline was born and before Soo launched SOOuK in 2013. Soo’s latest collection of photographic prints blew me away when I first saw them, and while you might expect me to say that about a friend’s work, really, they did.
I love the concept of poolside and Soo’s approach to the architecture of Edinburgh’s historic swimming pools, from the striking geometry to the dreamy colour palette, to the beautifully simplistic and minimal placement of figures within the spaces. Even after living in the city for years, I’ve never seen inside these public swimming pools, and am amazed by the detail of these ‘hidden’ spaces.
I’ve interviewed many people over the years who have taken on massive refurbishment projects, and always wondered, how do they live through it? As in, live in their homes while major work is being done. I’ve had so many conversations about this process that I think it’s scared me off for life, as I just can’t imagine living in a space that’s also a building site, with all the mess and stress that brings.
But then I see projects like this and the results make the effort – and dust! – seem very worthwhile. I came across this ground and garden level property on Eglinton Crescent in Edinburgh’s West End when it was on the market with the Edinburgh office of Knight Frank, with photography by SquareFoot. Owner Barry MacLennan had the vision to transform this property and tackled a substantial refurbishment and reconfiguration project to create the spaces you see today. I chatted to Barry about the process, the design decisions, and the challenges along the way.
Back in September I posted about Williamstone Farm Steadings – a steading conversion on the edge of North Berwick, where the interiors of the three steadings were designed by DecorAir – and this flat in Edinburgh is another project from the same design duo of Rachel Richmond and Xanthe Weir. Rachel and Xanthe launched DecorAir earlier this year with the aim of offering tailored design packages to the buy-to-let market, calling on their years of experience working on interior projects – Rachel is the Design Director of the Edinburgh-based interior design company Hen&Crask while Xanthe is the founder of the online store Lair specialising in midcentury furniture, lighting and curios.
I’ve seen a number of shop conversions over the years, from a compact split-level studio space in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge area to a fantastic industrial-style loft space by Holyrood Park, and each has demonstrated ingenious ways of dealing with the spatial challenges of working within a former commercial space. How do you create a functional and desirable living space when you have limited light at street and below-street level?
This two bedroom property on West Annandale Street in Edinburgh – which has been marketed by Smart Property with photography by Dave Morris – caught my eye as, when faced with these same challenges, the owners, architect Tim Bayman and Lizzie Elliott, have created a dynamic interior that works both as a home for their family and as a work space for Tim.