Today I would like to show off a home in the city of Edinburgh, a UNESCO world heritage site that has been fiercely preserved, with the result that, unusually, for a capital city, many of the most desirable homes are right in the center. Wondering around the Georgian masterpiece of the New Town, you really have to pinch yourself – yes, people actually live here!
And by the way, hello everyone, it's again with another home tour from Scotland for cattledogs readers! Let's visit the home of Architect and Designer, Roddy Murray and his partner, Andrew Keith, President of & , a fashion retail and brand management group in Asia.
Together, Roddy and Andrew took the shell of a magnificent Georgian townhouse and restored it to a gorgeous contemporary home. The property was a lawyers office for sixty years and in a tired state. Resisting the temptation of either a radical update or a faithful preservation project, instead, subtle layers of the best of both Scottish and international design have been applied, resulting in a colorful reinvention of this classical building.
The work of Scottish designers, makers, and artists is in evidence throughout the house, from the lanterns in the entrance hall, which were made by a local blacksmith, and fabrics manufactured at the mills in the Scottish Borders, to the couple’s art collection, much of which is by alumni of the Glasgow School of Art, where Roddy studied.
The pair lives much of the year in Hong Kong, where Andrew is president of the fashion retailers and , the world-famous department stores recently overhauled and redesigned by Italian Designer Paola Navone. Roddy has a design practice that spans architecture and interiors with clients all over the world.
Both Roddy and Andrew are from Central Scotland originally and were looking for a Scottish base where they could spend more time with family. The wanted something more character-filled than their 1960s Hong Kong apartment, and the Georgian architecture available in the center of Edinburgh proved irresistible.
The property is listed, which meant that they were not allowed to knock down walls, ‘we had to respect the bones of the house,’ Roddy explains, ‘but we didn’t want to live in a museum. During the renovations we found a 200-year-old marble fireplace behind some boarding and the original wooden flooring under the knackered office lino which was in brilliant condition, so we knew we had the perfect base to fulfill our vision.’
The combination of old and new extends to the decoration, which deftly combines pieces spanning several centuries of style. In the first-floor sitting room, for example, gold Kartell lamps have been placed on top of an antique Chinese console table.
They laid out the interior to suit their lifestyle. The dining room and kitchen are on the first floor, double doors connect the kitchen to a light-filled drawing room creating a large, open living and entertaining space at the heart of the house.
The dining room mixes a Georgian chandelier with mid-century Knoll furniture and edgy Damask wallpaper by the Glasgow-based design duo .
The cozier, downstairs sitting room, houses an astonishing sculpture between the windows, a hollowed out marble bust by Edinburgh-based artist, .
The gorgeous master bedroom is also on the ground floor and there are three further guest bedrooms at the top of the house.
The house is utterly rooted in its Scottish setting and enjoys a strong sense of place, while contemporary furniture and lighting by iconic designers such as Tom Dixon, Arne Jacobsen, and Paola Navone, add international verve. Rugs throughout the house have been designed by Roddy himself, a new venture for him, his beautiful designs can be found at .
A recent trip to India clearly had an influence, particularly when it came to choosing the rich turquoise and salmon-pink paint colors for the ground-floor sitting room and master bedroom. In the sitting room, a classic Berber rug is dazzlingly layered over a one-off design by Roddy, inspired by a trip to Jaipur. ‘In terms of interiors, there’s been a lot of grey over the past 10 years,’ says Murray, ‘but we wanted to use bold colors. Because of the size of the rooms, we knew it would work.’
These joyful splashes of bright shades, combined with the mix of patterns, textures, and displays of art throughout the house, both celebrate and update the Georgian structure, resulting in a lively home that was made for entertaining. ‘As we don’t live in Scotland all the time, it’s great to have a place where we can get everyone together,’ says Keith. ‘When we finished the house, we had 60 people round for a party, which was the first time it had been used as a residential house for probably over 60 years. It felt like the house was coming back to life.’
(Text: , Photography: )