Finding Warmth in the North of Scotland

A strange thing happens to me every October. As many Scots jet off to warmer climes to get a quick blast of sunshine in preparation for the dark winter ahead, I always find myself craving to go further North. Every year I drive to Sutherland in the North of Scotland and gulp in the staggeringly fresh air, stare at the huge skies and walk through forests straight onto beaches while looking at snow capped mountains in the back ground. Yes, it really is that good and you are unlikely to bump into a soul.

Well this year I was paying particular attention to ochres, reds and oranges on my walks as I am really keen to specify a warm colour for the restaurant project I am working on but warm colours don’t come easily to me. They are not “my colours” (I gravitate to cooler hues) although I do have great respect for them and I can see when they are required.

So, where else should I begin my search but at the Glenmorangie whisky distillery where even the air around the village smells slightly smoky, malty and warm.

In the fields around the distillery you will stumble across beautiful carvings left by the Picts (a name given to them by the Romans meaning “painted people” – it is thought that they dyed their bodies with woad before battles…..remember Braveheart….!). The Picts used local red sandstone so the carvings jut out of the tufty fields almost glowing, especially when you see them in the low setting sun.

Inside the distillery the graceful swan necked copper stills stand in line looking proud of the amber liquid they are brewing which will later be laid down to age in oak barrels. Barrels with ends painted a wonderful full-on red,

….the colour of the rose hip berries growing on the sand dunes nearby,

…..and the chosen paint colour of many of the local fishing boats.

I was definitely gathering up a lot of reds to take reference from until I was caught in a beautiful snow flurry while walking up a hill behind Alness – which very quickly transported my back to my default Northern colours….

As this post is rapidly turning into a list of my holiday snaps (sorry), I shall finish up but I have found a magnificent red wool cloth (colour 623) from kvadrat ‘s wonderful Divina 3 collection which I hope to use and it certainly transports me right back to those glowing whisky barrels at Glenmorangie….

Copper and Interiors

Have you noticed how many shop fittings are currently manufactured in copper?

Copper was big news last year with product designers such as  Tom Dixon  using it and the Milan Furniture Fair was certainly awash with it. What is interesting this year is that it is appearing in architectural trims and shop fittings.

Copper columns and door trims  can be seen in the new extension at Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Mannequins in John Lewis department store are given an updated look as they stand proud on brand new copper catwalks. The list goes on and on….

David Oliver has long since been an advocate of metallics as they can, “create a quietly glamorous environment, which is sophisticated and fashionable”. He has created a paint finish “gilver” which is a mix of both gold and silver “a timeless classic”. Valtti also have a range of metallic paints, one of which is distinctly copper- like in appearance.

Copper can help create an “industrial chic” interior especially when used with exposed brickwork and deep graphite paints. But it works equally well in vintage settings – specifying a copper bath  could be the starting point.  Or, if you are after inspiration for extensive architectural interior cladding, have a look at the Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association gallery – it’s certainly an adaptive material which spans many different interior styles.