Scotland’s Home of the Year: finale


Scotland’s Home of the Year aficionados do not suffer your average common or garden nightmares. Not for them teeth falling out, a suddenly remembered exam in the morning, or being chased by an angry badger.

No, the sight that chills their blood to Chablis temperature is Anna Campbell Jones in a floaty dress.

If you see the interior designer wafting up the driveway of Glasgow’s House for an Art Lover in some gorgeous gelato-coloured number it means you are in the final of SHOTY. This is “it”: the moment your abode goes fireplace to fireplace, kitchen island to kitchen island, with other people’s pride and joy to win the coveted red and black plaque.

The 2023 finalists were nervous but chuffed to be there. “When you are quite a house groupie it’s nice to be among your own kind,” said the lady from Skye. We’ll come back to that “kind” later; for now there were decisions to be made.

READ MORE: 2023 winner hailed for bringing building back to life

Like the other episodes, the final is just half an hour long. For all that the judges go out of their way to balance praise with criticism, the final sift can be swift and brutal. “It was about 50% too big,” was the verdict on one home. “Rip that Band Aid off,” said another judge as the six became the final three: the Old Train House in Edinburgh, Kirklee Mansion, Glasgow, and Lochbay on Skye.

“Quite a quirky selection, isn’t it?” said Anna. While fellow judges Banjo Beale and Michael Angus fought Lochbay’s corner to the end, it was eventually ruled “not quite up to the same level of uniqueness as the other two”.

So here we were. Edinburgh v Glasgow, a rivalry as old as time. West coast gallusness meets east coast chic; Trainspotting inviting River City to a fight after school; the “you’ll have had your tea” brigade up against “relax, you’re at your auntie’s” squad. And the winner was … that other place.

READ MORE: Finalists revealed

In classic switcheroo style, the judging seemed to be going Glasgow’s way, only for the Old Train House to emerge the last minute winner. For my two cents, Edinburgh edged it because the building was reclaimed from near rubble (but so was Glasgow) and so seemed greener. Plus Glasgow, being a grand mansion flat decorated in classical style, was too much like a previous winner (also Glasgow).

It could be a controversial decision, but the judges have ruled. Ultimately, the Old Train House was new and different, and in the interiors game that beats old and familiar. More importantly, it was a lovely place. As one of its owners said of the win, “It just goes to show it’s home of the year, not house of the year.”

Exactly. The show hails originally from Denmark, and the format has proved so popular other parts of the UK are joining the party (lechyd da Wales Home of the Year). However, I like to think Scotland has brought a certain Caledonian warmth to proceedings. The winning properties may be as pristine as show houses on the day the judges visit, but they still have to look like homes people (and children, and dogs, and granny Susan) can enjoy living in or visiting.

READ MORE: New Glasgow judge to join show 

My neighbour on these pages, Doug Marr, said on Monday that he rather liked SHOTY “even though the presenters don’t half talk a load of cobblers”. (I do apologise, judges; as punishment we’ve sent him to John Lewis’s soft furnishings department for re-education.) The point, as Doug says, is that SHOTY is escapism, and we could all do with some of that at the moment.

So congratulations Edinburgh.

And never mind, Glasgow. We’ll always have Banksy.

On iPlayer and repeated Thursday, June 29, 7.30pm