A diminutive picture-postcard cottage, a traditional 19th-century farmhouse and a contemporary, byre-style self-build project are among the contenders as the search for Scotland’s Home of the Year begins this week.

The hit BBC Scotland show returns for a sixth series on Monday and will criss-cross the country, visiting properties as far afield as Stornoway, Milngavie, Helensburgh, Aviemore, Dunblane, Lockerbie, Moffat, North Berwick and Linlithgow.

The opening episode will see three homes in the north-east - Banchory, Inverurie and rural Aberdeenshire - take centre stage. Glasgow-based architect Danny Campbell joins the three-strong judging panel, alongside interior designers Anna Campbell-Jones and Banjo Beale, for this latest run.

Each week, the trio will rank their favourites, based on criteria such as architectural merit, design and style, with the highest-scoring homes from six regional categories going through to the final in June.

The Herald: Craig and Maria outside Casa Barra near Inverurie which will be on the first episode. Picture: Michael TrailCraig and Maria outside Casa Barra near Inverurie which will be on the first episode. Picture: Michael Trail (Image: BBC)

The inaugural series in 2019 saw The White House, a sweeping, cylindrical structure hugging Kirkcudbright Bay, named Scotland’s Home of the Year, while Park Terrace, a plush Victorian conversion in the west end of Glasgow, took the top spot in 2020.

The Moss, a showstopping Georgian mansion in rural Killearn, claimed the title in 2021, with renovated croft house New Tolsta in Stornoway on Lewis beating off stiff competition in 2022. Last year’s winner was the Old Train House, a former railway station in Edinburgh.

So, who will triumph in 2024? When we speak on a weekday morning in late March, Campbell, 33, is deliberately tight-lipped on any potential spoilers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have lots to talk about.

He made his presenting debut on Scotland’s Home of the Year in the Christmas Special last December and is now looking forward to seeing his first full series as a resident judge arriving on our screens.

Campbell, who founded his architectural firm HOKO Design in 2016, promises that viewers are in for a treat when it comes to the properties set to feature this year.

“Some of the homes were absolutely incredible and there were lots of surprises,” he says. “There is that exciting moment when you are standing outside - we don’t get to know anything about the homes at all beforehand.

“You have to give your first impression and share the experience of walking in through the front door. With every single home, not just the finalists, that moment is special. There is adrenalin, excitement and butterflies in the tummy.”

So, who is Danny Campbell and what does he bring to the table on Scotland’s Home of the Year? Here, we peek through the keyhole at the life and loves of the show’s newest judge.

The Herald: Homeowner Rachel outside Quiney Cottage, Banchory. Picture: Michael TraillHomeowner Rachel outside Quiney Cottage, Banchory. Picture: Michael Traill (Image: BBC)


Ask Campbell about his criteria for a well-designed home and he waxes lyrical about everything from imaginative use of space and light to the myriad creative little touches that can add personality and inimitable verve.

As he puts it: “What I'm looking for in a home is an inventive use of space, with a deep connection to its site, delivered with such originality that I can't help but feel inspired.”

When it comes to what makes his heart sing, Campbell loves symmetry and in the new series, his face lights up after spotting what he describes as a “mathematically perfect” staircase.

There is a smile in his voice when I mention this. “That home was particularly special because it wasn’t just mind-blowing in terms of the textures and layering of materials and patterns, but in how each space worked together, even though it was small,” he recalls.

“The scullery had a clear opening, a doorway to the utility, a curtain and a pocket door. So, that’s four different door types into a space that is probably a maximum of three-square metres. It functions well yet is also charismatic and powerful in terms of personality.

“To not just make it open plan, but rather create a threshold, where there is a buffer zone into all these different spaces, is clever.”


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Time to delve into what sets his teeth on edge. “When people go too big for the sake of it,” says Campbell. “Bigger definitely isn’t always better. Sometimes the worst brief you can get from someone is, ‘we want a 50-square-metre extension.’

“There has to be a reason and purpose behind architecture. That is a backbone of sustainability too; you need to be conscious of how much material you are using. Just going big for the sake of it is generally a no-no for me.”

Campbell, it transpires, is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to attention to detail. “Things misaligning by accident is a real bugbear,” he asserts. “A skylight not aligning with the window, or an opening not aligning with the core door.

“The biggest one for me, though, is things that are made to look like something else. Fake wooden floors, beams and brick slips. Personally, I think just let a thing be what it is. Don’t try and pretend it is something else. It doesn’t work.”


“I love microhomes and natural materials - sustainable architecture is right up on my agenda,” says Campbell. “But it comes down to the finishes, the clever touches, really good lighting design and nice materials.

“I would definitely overspend on the finishes. I did an experiment where me and my wife sold our home and with the money we had left, rather than getting a bigger mortgage, we bought a cottage flat without a mortgage.

“We bought it outright and spent money on it. We then totally gutted it and changed it. We recently sold it, and it went for well over 50% more than we bought it for. It smashed the ceiling price in the street by about 45%. There is definitely a strong argument for going big on quality.

“If I was to have my dream home it would be embedded in the landscape somewhere rural with amazing views. We got to see plenty of those on our road trip for Scotland’s Home of the Year.”


“Architects get a bit of a weird representation,” admits Campbell. “Generally, they are seen as quite austere and standoffish. A lot of people don’t really know what an architect does, and they assume it is drawing.

“My easy way of describing it is that architects are like the Sherpa taking you up the mountain. They are there to guide you past all the risks and take you all the way to the top [on a project].

“There are definitely a couple of architectural cliches that I fall into, such as wearing black all the time,” he deadpans. “That started off ironically and is now a way of life, so I’m not going to apologise for that.”

The Herald: Anna Campbell-JonesAnna Campbell-Jones (Image: free)


Campbell and his co-star Banjo Beale have taken over from former judges Michael Angus and Kate Spiers, who left the programme last year to pursue other projects. Only Anna Campbell-Jones remains from the original line-up.

How quickly did they all click? “I would say we hit it off straight away,” says Campbell. “There is a lot of time spent in the car when you’re making Scotland’s Home of the Year. We chatted, laughed and mucked around.

“We have built a really good bond. We share a similar sense of humour. Nobody takes themselves too seriously, which is probably what I was most anxious about.

“Anna and Banjo have been so welcoming and helpful in terms of giving me tips and ideas about what I can bring to the table,” he continues. “I’m all ears because the more help I can get, the better. They have both been wonderful.

“Banjo is absolutely hilarious. His brain is so fast. Anna has been really nurturing. We’ve got a good connection. Being quite local to each other, I see her all the time.”

It is important, says Campbell, that each of the judges bring a fresh perspective. “They are both interior designers by profession and look at things quite differently, even from each other,” he says, referring to Beale and Campbell-Jones.

“For me, it all comes down to the spatial planning, access to light, how the homeowners have changed the building to make the most of the site and the original architectural merits of the property.”


The middle of three sons, Campbell grew up in Rhu and attended Hermitage Academy in nearby Helensburgh. “I seemed to have an aptitude for graphic design,” he says. “It was the only subject where the teacher actually gave me some praise.

“I came home and asked my mum what career path uses graphic design? In classic Karen Campbell fashion, she started jumping around the kitchen shouting that I was going to be an architect.

“From then on, I had something to say when people asked me. So, that’s what started me on this path. I have always had an eye for design and spatial organisation.”

These days his parents are based in Lower Largo, Fife. His father Duncan is a maxillofacial surgeon, while his mother Karen is a former nurse and now runs Airbnb properties.

“Entrepreneurship was always in my blood,” says Campbell. “Even at primary school, I would start all these little side hustles. It just really interested me.”

He studied architecture at Glasgow School of Art and went on to do a master’s degree at De Montfort University in Leicester. During this time, Campbell undertook a variety of part-time jobs, including designing animal enclosures at nearby Twycross Zoo.

A keen rugby player, after graduating from university he did a stint with a team in Vancouver. It was here that the idea for HOKO Design first took seed, Campbell crediting a team-mate from New Zealand for helping inspire the name.

“I was looking at Maori words and there was one that meant ‘commerce’ or ‘getting paid on time’. The word was ‘hoko’. I thought, ‘That is a good backbone to a business.’”

Campbell says he has a clear “north star” with what he hopes to achieve with HOKO Design and describes his mission of “reinventing people’s homes” as “the most satisfying thing I have ever had in my life”.


Since selling his renovated cottage flat in Kirkintilloch last year, Campbell has bought a new property in the nearby area where he is set to move in next month with his wife Melissa and their three sons.

“It was built in the early 2000s and it is an upside-down house,” he reveals. “The garden used to belong to a monastery and there is actually a crypt, which apparently hasn’t been opened.

“Upstairs you have a living space, which is south facing with a terrace that overlooks water and fields, while on the lower ground floor are the bedrooms.

“The garden has a lovely slope and also its own AstroTurf pitch - the previous owners had a son who was a semi-professional footballer - so that will get great use with my boys.

“There is a decent bit of garden, so we will hopefully be building something, perhaps a little microhome staycation-type place. There are definitely opportunities there, so it’s a nice move and still local to Kirkintilloch too.”

What does Campbell reckon the other judges would make of it? “I hope they would be nice,” he laughs. “I would be more interested to hear what they say off camera and their genuine ideas of improvement.

“They are so good at what they do. Once we move in this May, we will have them over at some point and see what they think we can do.”

The Herald: Danny Campbell in The Herald's Glasgow officesDanny Campbell in The Herald's Glasgow offices (Image: free)


Campbell spends much of his free time with his younger brother Duncan - affectionately known as Dunk - an actor and poet who was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in 2021, aged only 27. “He is my best friend and always has been,” he says. “We are super close.”

His family has rallied to campaign to raise funding for specialist treatment. “My dad took compassionate leave,” says Campbell. “He has been looking at solutions for what is one of the most aggressive types of brain cancer you can get.

“My brother is in a very small percentage of people who have lasted this long. That is almost entirely down to Dunk’s amazing and positive attitude, as well as my parents researching and putting him forward for stuff.

“Dunk most recently went to New York where he was patient number six for a sonodynamic therapy trial over there. It was a high-risk situation, but it seemed to make a good impact.

“We are trying to get sonodynamic therapy approved for use in Scotland,” adds Campbell. “There is a centre in Dundee with an amazing neurosurgeon, Kismet Hossain-Ibrahim, who has been pushing for this for years. It is getting very close to being up and running.

“There is a funding gap of about half a million pounds and some regulatory approvals to go. Our whole family is close to that project. It is incredibly important to us that it happens.”

His brother, now 31, has garnered a loyal Instagram following thanks to his powerfully moving and relentlessly upbeat posts charting his experiences.

“The thing is, you don’t realise you have a life until you have already lost it,” says Campbell. “The way Dunk describes it is that he is living in his afterlife. He is generally happy pretty much every day, which is hard to comprehend.

“His outlook is incredibly eye-opening to how wonderful life actually is and how trivial a lot of day-to-day stresses are.”

That, in turn, has altered Campbell’s own outlook. “I used to be an incredibly anxious person and I’m not anxious anymore,” he says. “I enjoy every day. I’m very conscious about how I spend my time. I spend it with good people that I care about.

“Dunk has had such a profound impact on my life. I cherish and love him. I couldn’t imagine anything bad happening to him.”


“I’ve done a variety of sports, including judo and pole vaulting, but rugby was the one that stuck,” says Campbell. “I have played rugby three times a week since I was six. It has been a real backbone to my life. I stopped about four weeks ago when I got a tooth injury, which is not ideal.

“I played for a variety of teams and the top-flight in Canada. I also played at a decent level in England and for GHK [Glasgow High Kelvinside]. It is something I have always enjoyed and it’s the one time where I don’t think about anything else.

“I run a very tight schedule for myself and I’m normally asleep by 8pm, then up for CrossFit in the morning. I love my work and spend time with my kids or brother in the evening.

“One of my favourite things to do is go out on my dad’s little fishing boat to catch some mackerel or pull up lobster pots. Pulling up the lobster pots is a bit like walking through someone’s front door for the first time; you never know what you’re going to find. I love those moments.”


“I did an investment pitch about three years ago where I said I wanted to become ‘the Pablo Escobar of extensions,’” he says. “To make the analogy, he had a very high demand product and there is a huge demand for extensions.

“He created this vertical supply chain where there was so much consistency between the logistics, the delivery and the manufacture; it was a clever and successful business model.

“Ikea does it very similarly, but that is not quite as powerful in a presentation as Pablo Escobar. If HOKO could do something like that for residential architecture, we will become the household name and leader. That is my dream.”

Scotland’s Home of the Year is on BBC1 on Monday at 8.30pm