Eager to put down roots, Catherine Goldsmith found a derelict Scottish farm building in East Lothian that was ripe for transformation.
Nestled in a pretty stone development and surrounded by green fields in the picturesque East Lothian countryside, Catherine and George Goldsmith’s cottage is part of an old converted farmhouse that has been split into several smaller properties. Thanks to her parents, who live nearby, the family already knew the developer and immediately saw its potential. ‘We were living in a twobedroom flat in Edinburgh at the time,’ she recalls, ‘and we were looking for a home to put down roots with our children. When we viewed the place, we decided to sell our flat and moved into a rented top-floor tenement while the renovations took place. It wasn’t easy with a new baby, a toddler and a puppy, but we survived.
The Goldsmiths were able to put their personal stamp on the property right from the start. ‘We were able to request that the kitchen and dining room were open plan,’ Catherine says, ‘and we specified the solid-wood internal doors and the simple stone fireplace in the living room, which has given the house the character and charm we were looking for.’
Since moving in, they have also installed the beautifully crafted oak porch and opened up the entrance hall further, adding user-friendly, walk-in cupboards. With the exception of the living room, which has natural sisal carpet, French oak floorboards – chosen by the couple to cope with the effective underfloor heating – have been used dozwnstairs.
Thanks to Catherine’s commitment to using soft, natural materials and muted colours, this home has a gloriously unified feel throughout. ‘Because the ceilings are low, I decided to paint all the walls white,’ she explains, ‘which, in turn, has made the rooms feel lovely and spacious.’ In contrast, the doors, architrave and skirting boards are all in various shades of taupe, while pretty accents of lavender, raspberry and indigo add subtle drama to this beautiful, airy property.
Since moving to the countryside, Catherine’s interiordesign business, influenced by her surroundings, has gonefrom strength to strength. ‘I ask clients who are searching for a starting point to look around them – colours in the landscape are brilliant for inspiration,’ she says. Catherine has always enjoyed using French fabric company Casamance in her schemes, but she has also added Harlequin, Warwick and Sarah Hardaker to her range. ‘I like to keep things simple,’ she explains. ‘When people go into a soft furnishings shop they can be overwhelmed by choice, so the resulting scheme is either too busy, too safe, or just does not work.’
In her own elegant home, Catherine has achieved a look that is both classically co-ordinated and highly personal, and she’s created a scheme that the whole family loves and enjoys spending time in together.
Photography: Douglas Gibb