Karate chop those cushions, find your favourite spot on the sofa and prepare to sail to kitchen island heaven - Scotland’s Home of the Year is back.

The BBC Scotland competition begins a sixth series on Monday with a trip to the North East and Northern Isles, where properties include a barn-style self-build, a traditional cottage, and a 19th-century farmhouse.

First to be scored on architectural merit, distinctive design and personal style is Casa Barra, described by owners Maria and Craig as a romance between the North East of Scotland and Latin America.

Craig’s family have farmed on the spot near Inverurie since 1928. He met Maria met in Colombia when he was travelling. A first date led to the couple spending four months on the road together.

The Herald: Casa Barra Casa Barra (Image: free)

“I convinced her with my majestic dance moves,” says Craig. “A North East farmer trying to put on some amazing salsa on the dance floor. There was no turning back after that.”

The home was built to make the most of the spectacular views, with Bennachie to the west and Barra Castle to the right.

Next on the judges’ viewing schedule is Quiney Cottage in Banchory. The property was covered in mould and damp and had no insulation when owner Rachel purchased it three years ago, but it was pretty much love at first sight for the 38-year-old, who was previously living in London and yearning for the open space of her home town.

"The earliest we've been able to find it on the map is the 1860s and I know that previous to me it was owned by the estate and would have been a farmhouse cottage for a long time," she says.

"It was rented out by the estate and had sat empty for a couple of years.

"I spent the first year figuring out what I was going to do, with the architect and the joiners."

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Armed with a sledgehammer she stripped the property back to brick, restoring every room at a cost of around £100,000. The two-bedroomed house incorporates her love of clashing patterns, textiles and colours.

"I've always wanted to live in a cottage and I was really looking for a project. I know everyone says this but it was a real labour of love.

"I was in a small, cramped flat in London with a tiny bit of garden. Even having that in London is very lucky.

"I wanted to live somewhere where no one was around and the actual aesthetic of a cottage is perfect for me.

"It's symmetrical and cute and traditional."

The Herald: Rachel outside Quiney Cottage in BanchoryRachel outside Quiney Cottage in Banchory (Image: free)

Most of the interiors were sourced from second-hand and vintage shops or antique markets.

"It's better for the environment to re-use things and they just give more character to your house," she says.

The 38-year-old was contacted by ‘SHOTY' producers when the house was at quite an early stage in her renovations and said it spurred her on to finish the restoration.

The final home is a listed former farm dwelling in South Aberdeenshire which is home to Gemma, Paul, and their two children. The couple viewed lots of properties, but for Gemma the 1840s farmhouse instantly felt like home.

It also needed a lot of work, most of which Gemma tackled with the help of YouTube videos. First she learned how to paint and decorate, then she took on tiling, plumbing, fitting lights and even painting murals.

The Herald: Inside colourful Quiney Inside colourful Quiney (Image: free)

The build involved some blood (she cut her finger while wallpapering), sweat and tears besides.

“Quitting your job, having your babies, you kind of lose your identity as a woman,” says Gemma. “Then this new thing opened up to me and it became my passion, but something I really enjoy and look forward to. I’m always thinking, what can I do next?”

Glasgow-based architect Danny Campbell joins judges Anna Campbell Jones and Banjo Beale for the new series.

Campbell says: “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 cannot help but feel inspired.”

Interior designer Anna Campbell Jones, who has been with SHOTY from the start, says she looks for “individuality, imagination and integrity, and of course that most important ingredient - love.”

The Herald: SHOTY judges Danny Campbell, Anna Campbell Jones and Banjo Beale SHOTY judges Danny Campbell, Anna Campbell Jones and Banjo Beale (Image: free)

Banjo Beale became a SHOTY judge after winning Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr. The Mull-based interior designer is drawn to homes that are “packed full of character and personality”

The winners of the six regional heats will go through to the grand final, held at House for an Art Lover in Glasgow.

The Old Train House in Edinburgh was crowned Scotland's Home of the Year 2023.

Scotland’s Home of the Year, BBC One Scotland, Monday, 8.30pm, and on iPlayer.