Scottish style

It’s that time of year again, when many Scots and expats around the world celebrate Burns Night (Wednesday, 25th January). I just can’t help but revisit (please see my post from Scottish Style 2016) some traditional and also not quite so traditional Scottish Style interior design and fashion.

Tartan and dark interiors?

If you are a fan of the dark interiors trend (walls in dark inky blue walls/charcoal greys and velvety blacks) then rather than use pops of bright colours in your decorating scheme, you might consider some of the hundreds of incredible tartan fabrics, wallpapers and accessories, some with thistle motifs.  There are some beautiful colour ways that work so well with dark velvety walls.

SMW Design, San Francisco Project/The Adventures of Tartanscot blog/Pinterest
image – Baronial style loo!
Photo: from Castle Forter, Perthshire, Scotland/Pinterest
photo: The Rug Company/Pinterest

Tartan Carpet

Love a bit of tartan carpet.  I think it is particularly useful for creating character and drama on staircases, in hallways and spare rooms.

Vivienne Westwood rug: Jason Lees Design
Fling Plaid from Quirky Collection, Alternative Flooring

Cosy homes

The Scots like the Scandinavians are used to fierce winters and have adapted their architecture and interiors to both cope with, and to enjoy Northern weather conditions. It isn’t just the metre thick walls of Baronial castles, the thickly thatched roofs of Highland crofts that have always fascinated me but in particular the addition of a front ‘storm door’.

(Caption: 4 Bedroom detatched house below with storm doors is up for sale in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire through Rightmove with Clyde Property. Offers over £398,000)

Storm doors

‘Storm doors’ were installed in grand houses and cottages alike, from the Lowlands to the Highlands and Islands. They are also a prominent feature in the relatively sheltered Victorian mansion flats of Glasgow and Georgian Terraces of Edinburgh (check out a lovely instagram feed called @ExploringEdinburgh).

(Left: 4 Bedroom apartment for sale, Dowanhill, Glasgow, offers over £495,000 from Rettie &Co, through Rightmove; Right: Storm doors by Custom Built Windows and Doors

These front doors, consist of a pair of handsome thick panelled outer doors opening on to large internal porches and finally to more elegant glazed inner doors. Meaning that you can keep your ‘hoose’ nice and toasty even when there is a Force 9 gale outside. Just to complete the full drawbridge effect, the inner door is often covered with a thick interlined curtain. Yum.

Scottish antiques road trip

Just started a little planning … @antiquescotland

The Great Western Auctions

Edinburgh Antiques Centre

These images are from Pinterest but are a hint of the Scottish antique goodies you might find:

(Left: Similar to old Tartanware, embroidery scissors by Sajou; Right: Tartanware from

1950s Playsuit by C Goldstein.

Scottish inspired fashion

Fashion has had a long love affair with the designs and fabrics from Scotland.  The strong business links set up by generations of Isle of Harris dwellers is impressive. Harris Tweed for instance has been used by many fashion companies from Nike to Prada (for their Spring 2017 Menswear collection). Oh and not to be forgotten too is the U.S Designer, Tommy Hillfiger who is a direct descendent of Robert Burns. Finally, Ralph Lauren and Vivienne Westwood have long been huge fans of Scottish Style.

Rosette with vintage Scottish brooches, photo and styling by Charis White
Harris Tweed Authority image/Pinterest

Hoorah for M&S

M&S often get slammed for not keeping up to date and bringing in younger customers, but one of the things I love them for is their buying power and commitment to quality. M&S use Harris Tweed for their men’s collections but also 100% wool and cashmere for women’s clothes at really affordable prices. Sadly, 100% wool is kind of hard to find and even to justify buying these days  – and especially for those younger buyers …

Dressing up: Kilts v trews*

Scottish weddings, Burns Night suppers and Hogmanay (New Year) celebrations are generally an excuse for people to get all togged up with a bit of tartan. We were honoured to be the guests at a Burns Night supper last year where there were representations of various clan tartans. Some were in ‘tartan trews’ others in kilts and we all sat down to a large table in Berkshire. (The haggis was sent down from the best supplier in Edinburgh and was piped to the table by a bag pipe player).

*Trews = Scottish for trousers.

(Left: image from Tartanblogspot/Pinterest; Right: fabrics: Lochcarron of Scotland)

Another memorable experience was at a New Year’s eve party in the desert which my brother Hamish invited us to. The setting was an encampment of colourful Bedouin tents amongst sand dunes of the U.A.E. The night sky was midnight clear, and there were several bemused looking wild camels. And rightly so, as I would suggest outside of Bearsden that night, there were more kilts in the desert than in the ‘hameland’ – all flying round a wooden dance floor. Quite an arresting sight as you can imagine.

Oh and of course, the Scottish weddings – the one where the kilted groom and bride in her voluminous white dress and veil squeezed in all their finery into their student car after the reception (I swear the dress with layers of frothy tulle filled the windscreen). Their student car was a bit rusty but they were on their way to their Honeymoon in the Highlands …


Burns Hootenanny in London

KERB and Monkey Shoulder have joined forces to celebrate Burns Night in London. Bermondsey’s Biscuit Factory will be transformed into a ‘Clubhoos’ for two nights on the 27th and 28th January 2017.  They will be serving Scottish delicacies from five vaunted street-food traders, there will be three bars and a whisky den serving Lacy Old Fashioneds. Live music from the ell-electric, bass-heavy Monster Ceilidh with Djs before and after. Further highlights promised include Highland-themed games, like corn hole, sheep shearing and – wait for it – President Trump’s crazy golf course (gulp) … There will also be a poetry slam corner and the traditional ‘addressing of the haggis’.

For more Scottish Style inspiration please see my Pinterest board below:

Thank you so much for reading and if you want some advice on how to create your own Contemporary Baronial Style interior, then please don’t hesitate to contact me. In the meantime, you can sign up for email alerts of future posts by pressing the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post. Charis x

1890s Huntley & Palmers biscuits french advertising courtesy of Sunny Brook/Pinterest

8 thoughts on “Scottish style

  1. Well this has given me some ideas for my empty nest ‘time to makeover the house’ plans! Particularly the playrooms at the top of the house! I loved the mid 19th century dresses on Pinterest. So beautiful. If somewhat lethal!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely Charis! you are so clever – we have our haggis ready for Wednesday Venison Haggis this year! I just know that bride and her Highland laddie would have a lifetime of love together! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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