Scotland’s Home of the Year


BBC One Scotland

Got the bi-fold doors. The parquet flooring. The expensive all in one hot and cold tap that no one knows how to work. But do you have a mathematically perfect staircase, madam?

To say the standards are climbing ever higher on Scotland’s Home of the Year would be an understatement on a par with noting it has been a busy few days at Holyrood.

Never mind all that business. As William Wallace nearly put it, our politicians may take the biscuit, but they’ll never take our freedom to nose around other people’s houses.

Series six of SHOTY started with a visit to the North East and the Northern Isles. First stop for the judges was Casa Barra near Inverurie, a contemporary self-build barn-style dwelling on the site of a family farm.

The Herald: Casa Barra near InverurieCasa Barra near Inverurie (Image: free)

New judge Danny Campbell jumped in feet first. “This is a self-build if ever I’ve seen one,” he said. Danny is an architect. Did he mention it? He will.

“I think they’ve thrown every material at this, every type of window and every type of roof shape.”

OMG, what was this? Was criticism huffing and puffing at the door of SHOTY and threatening to blow the house down?

“Too much for you?” asked fellow judge Anna Campbell Jones.

Time stood still. The birds stopped singing. At such moments are the fates of nations and interior design shows decided. Was Danny about to take SHOTY over to the dark side? Would he be the show’s first meanie judge, a Craig Revel Horwood of statement cushions?

“You know what,” he said, folding like a deck chair, “I actually think it kinda works.” That’s the spirit, son.

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Upstairs was a chair suspended from the ceiling. Normally Anna would have been in there like a shot. But as the show’s longest-serving judge she has come to learn that with great power comes great responsibility. She stood aside and let the kids have the fun.

Danny rushed to the balcony. “I feel like I’m on the bow of the Titanic. Shall we do it, Rose?” he said to judge number three Banjo Beale. Banjo was too shy to assume the Kate Winslet position, so Campbell Jones jumped in instead. She’s back, people, and daft as ever. Hooray.

Banjo was slow to come out of his shell but the next home, a darling cottage that could have been home to Snow White, had him waxing lyrical. “This is just the cutest little home I’ve ever stepped foot in,” he said.

Danny was just as thrilled to discover the cottage’s “mathematically perfect” staircase. “This is Einstein meets Warhol with haggis bonbons!” he declared. No, I have no clue either.

It was on to this week’s final contender, a listed former farm dwelling done to a high spec.

“I like how this archway motif matches up with the portico, creating this threshold,” said Danny.

“So many architect words in one sentence,” said Banjo, a slight edge to his voice. Campbell Jones is going to have her work cut out with these two until they settle down. It’s like watching Madonna get her dancers in order before a world tour.

All three homes were wonderful but there was only one space in the final and the cottage romped home. It had been an eventful first outing for the new crew after a successful trial run at Christmas, but by the power of SHOTY we got there in the end. Next week: the West.