THEY are among the most stunning and beautiful homes on Scotland, but out of the nine finalists there could only be one winner.

After 10 weeks the winner of BBC Scotland’s Home of the Year was finally revealed.

Viewers had been eagerly awaiting to find out who would be crowned the 2022 winner.

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It was New Tolsta, a traditional, early 20th century croft house in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, which took the top spot.

It was crowned the winner of 2022’s Scotland’s Home of the Year in the finale of the popular BBC Scotland series, filmed at Glasgow’s House For An Art Lover.

HeraldScotland: New Tolsta, a traditional, early 20th century croft house in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, which took the top spotNew Tolsta, a traditional, early 20th century croft house in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, which took the top spot

Such is the popularity of the show, which has had audiences glued to the show every Monday, a fifth series, of the popular property show, made by IWC Media, a Banijay UK company, begins filming later this month.

Home to artist Tom Hickman, New Tolsta is a truly unique home filled with Mr Hickman’s artwork, mixed with traditional pieces of furniture. After being uninhabited for 37 years, he bought New Tolsta in 2006 and, since then, has painstakingly restored the croft house to its former glory as well as adding his own distinctive style throughout. 

HeraldScotland: Scotland's Home of the Year judges unanimously agreed that New Tolsta was the stand-out winnerScotland's Home of the Year judges unanimously agreed that New Tolsta was the stand-out winner

The restored croft house on the north east coast of the Isle of Lewis, follows a traditional two-up, two-down layout, boasting a beautiful kitchen, living room and bathroom on the ground floor with two bedrooms upstairs.

Unanimously crowned the winner of Scotland’s Home of the Year 2022 in the hour-long finale by all three judges – lifestyle blogger Kate Spiers, interior designer Anna Campbell-Jones and architect and lecturer Michael Angus – New Tolsta reduced Anna and Michael to tears during the final selection in the inspirational surroundings of Glasgow’s House For An Art Lover.

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Homeowner Mr Hickman was thrilled New Tolsta won the coveted title.

He said: “Well I have to admit it does bring an unexpected smile - winning is not something I’m used to.

“I’m certainly surprised, but way down deep somewhere there is a little voice saying ‘At last!’ As artists, we are all our own worst critics, so yes, it’s nice to receive praise."

HeraldScotland: New Tolsta, on the Isle of LewisNew Tolsta, on the Isle of Lewis

Mr Hickman said he was fascinated to firstly see Anna, Michael and Kate’s nicely understated reaction to the exterior, adding: "they did well to not judge the book by its cover. It was strange not being able to welcome them, but now I see I needn’t have worried as my home did that for me.”

And the three judges have been invited back to New Tolsta for a second look to hear some of the stories behind the objects and fabric of Mr Hickman’s home.

HeraldScotland: New Tolsta was transformed after being uninhabited for more than 30 yearsNew Tolsta was transformed after being uninhabited for more than 30 years

New Tolsta beat off stiff competition from eight other finalists from across Scotland including homes in Fort William, Kippen, Kirkwall, Hawick, Edinburgh, Elsrickle, Helensburgh and Fife.

SHOTY Judge and interior designer, Anna Campbell Jones congratulates New Tolsta on winning the prestigious title: “We are always looking for individual homes filled with the expression of the homeowner’s personality and taste - and of course love. I don’t think we have ever seen such an exceptional example of a home meeting these criteria. The overwhelming sense of the person who lives there communicated via the cornucopia of his incredible creations, from the painted floors, to the embroidery to the artwork on the walls, all by his own hand - what a genius.”

HeraldScotland: Lorne Cottage, in Fort William, was among the finalistsLorne Cottage, in Fort William, was among the finalists

Lifestyle blogger, Kate Spiers said New Tolsta packed in so much of what we they all look for in a home.

“I know for me, I look for a home that feels true to the homeowner and you could tell that so much love and care had gone in to every inch of the place,” said Ms Spiers. “Plus, it had a commitment to being authentically eco-conscious - everything in the home had been repurposed, upcycled, thrifted or ehomed. It was inspiring to see! I think New Tolsta has to be seen to be believed! It really stood out in the show because it really had its own atmosphere - it didn’t conform to trends or a certain aesthetic, but somehow it was still this beautiful, timeless home which captured the personality of the homeowner.”


Architect and lecturer Michael Angus said: “If home is a marriage of inhabitant and property, what stood out about New Tolsta was how special that relationship was, how perfectly suited both appeared, both infusing the other creatively and spiritually. It wasn't the building nor the setting which made New Tolsta unique, despite each being remarkable in their own way. Rather it was the rejuvenated spirit blossoming so vibrantly within, serving to establish an unforeseen future for a building doubtless deemed condemned. What worse fate for a building, than uselessness? And what better than having fresh possibilities revealed?”

It took more than 15 years to restore New Tolsta and Mr Hickman saying labours of love are in themselves worthwhile as can be seen with my embroidery.

He added: “I certainly didn’t at any time imagine I would be entering a competition and even less to be winning anything. My labours, if you can call them that, gave me great satisfaction in getting ever closer to a point of comfort. If I still had the strength I’d love to do it all over again but maintenance work will always be required. For now though, I need to muster all my strength for the annual peat cutting season.”

Travelling to Glasgow for the final was an experience Mr Hickman will never forget not least because he was able to visit the iconic House For An Art Lover building, designed by renowned international architect, Charles Rennie Macintosh.

He said: “When the taxi arrived at House For An Art Lover, I was gobsmacked. The arts and craft period is my favourite and my childhood home in Campbeltown was designed by the Glasgow architect, James Miller in 1926.

“The last time I’d visited Glasgow was in 1958 to have my tonsils out when I was five years old. There was a real sense of adventure, not just with a flight down the west coast of Scotland and seeing it from on high, but being back in Glasgow after so long.

“Myself and the other finalists all got to spend the day together and from the outset there was a relaxed feeling. It didn’t feel like there was any competition as all of us had already won in the first round. I didn’t envy the judges having to choose an overall winner.

“Home is what you make it, but how you go about judging and choosing a home of the year is still a bit of a mystery to me. I think every one of the finalists lived in their own best home.”

The judges search for Scotland’s Home Of The Year took them the length and breadth of the country, visiting 27 exceptional homes, showcasing a vast range of home styles including cosy little homes to grand conversions, stunning self-builds to breath-taking renovations, quirky conversions and environmentally friendly houses.

Applications to take part in the fifth series are open until the 10th of June, log on to www.bbc.co.uk/shoty for further information.

 

Scotland’s Home of the Year 2022 finalists:

  1. Lorne Cottage, Fort William (Ep1, The Highlands)
  2. Ostro Passive House, Kippen (Ep2, Central)
  3. The Pastel House, Kirkwall, Orkney (Ep3, Orkney & Shetland)
  4. Firestation House, Hawick (Ep4, Borders & The South)
  5. New Tolsta, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (Ep5, Hebrides) - Winner
  6. The Victorian Terrace, Edinburgh (Ep6, The Lothians)
  7. Pentland View, Elsrickle (Ep7, Glasgow & The Clyde Valley)
  8. Rhu Boathouse, Rhu, Helensburgh (Ep8, The West)
  9. The Old Waterworks, Fife (Ep9, The East)