Scottish Home of the Year


It is a measure of how Scotland It has taken this BBC show so seriously that, in four series, there is no shortage of properties willing to open their doors to this meddlesome nation we call home.

What a mess we must make, metaphorically huddling around the place, stroking the fabrics, yelling about “bring the outdoors in,” all that jazz-speaking home interior. Would you let us through the door? Quite.

But here we go again, collecting the keys for series number five. The first stop was the East and the Old Train House in Edinburgh. When owners Christina and Ben first saw the property, it had been vacant for ten years.

“We’re going to look for trains,” Judge Banjo Beale said. Having won his Masters in Interior Design with Alan Carr and obtained his own BBC Scotland programme, Designing the Hebrides, Banjo is now a permanent fixture on the judging panel. If he keeps up this work rate, he’ll be reading the news in Reporting Scotland by Christmas.

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Fellow judge Anna Campbell Jones made a beeline for the heart of the house, a chair by the window, declaring it a “very cool hangout.” She doesn’t see that description in a real estate agent’s details, but she should.

From there he entered the kitchen, where the kitchen wall was covered with rectangular “subway tiles”. I eat what I have, I thought proudly. I thought too soon.

Normally, Anna said, subway tiles would be a “get away” in a kitchen. What nerve, suggesting that my mosaics were a design cliché. I could feel my face turn as red as the SHOTY heart. Embarrassed tiles in my own home.

But then Anna softened, declaring this tile style a “must” in a converted station. It didn’t help me at all, I didn’t live in a station, but she was trying. Banjo went further: “Oh, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t have subway tiles,” she said, which I don’t think was sarcastic.

Not being sarcastic is crucial to the success of SHOTY. Had the format been that of three snooty designers carving their way into much-loved family homes, it wouldn’t have lasted beyond the first series.

READ MORE Who is Banjo Beale, the new judge of the SHOTY block?

Next up was Alexandra Apartment, a double Superior Victorian property in Kirkcaldy that was a day’s work on the outside and stunning on the inside. The last house in the heat was Mount Frost in Fife, where the nineties mixed with elements of the seventies. “A porthole window in a dead end,” Banjo mused. “That was all he dreamed of as a kid.”

Inside, everything was fashionable, bright and comfortable, especially the bedroom. “That is the quilt of dreams,” said Anna. Didn’t they have one of those at the Coronation, along with the pillows of fate and the occasional chair of fate?

“I bet you look good in that mirror,” Banjo told Anna. Suddenly remembering the presence of a third judge, he quickly added, “You too, Michael.”

We were wondering when Michael Angus, architect and teacher, would catch a glimpse of the love between Anna and Banjo. As we know from the papers, Michael is off skiing after this series, his replacement is already lined up. He is a wally dug eats wally dug world this indoor game. One minute you’re lyrically talking about a window, and the next you’re being thrown out the window.

READ MORE: Stornoway home wins 2022 competition

When it comes to scoring, the three had given one of the locals a maximum of ten points each. Oh darling. Regular viewers will know of the judges’ tendency to score high at first and get tougher as the weeks go by.

It deprives the competition of drama if the first property gets a row of perfect tens. We’ll see. Last year’s winner, a country house in Stornoway, came from nowhere to succeed.

Otherwise, when it comes to Scotland, the final result could end up in the courts. Not that we’re in danger of taking SHOTY too seriously…

BBC1 Scotland, Monday, 8:30 p.m.; repeated Thursday, 19:30, BBC Scotland

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