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  • Kylie Sprott

Back to Bute

Right now, the weather is already uncomfortably hot in Australia.  As I look at the temperatures and reports of below freezing weather in Scotland, I have to admit that it seems rather appealing in contrast.  So, it is with great excitement that I count down the days until I return to Bute.  And this time, it will be particularly special, as my flat is finally finished.  I cannot wait to see it in all its fully restored glory.  It has been quite the journey, that’s for sure.


Since my last visit with my Mum in August, more friends have been to stay in my flat, which makes me very happy!  This time, it was my friend and former colleague Lawrence, his lovely partner Visal and his Mum Carol.  Laurie (as I like to call him) is a Scot who now resides in Melbourne. I had the great fortune of working with him in two organisations and getting to know him in very challenging work environments.  His Scottish stoicism and practicality was always evident to me.

Laurie has been particularly enthusiastic and interested in my adventures on Bute, so it was wonderful that he chose to spend some time there recently during a trip to the UK.  Apparently his Mum Carol came to visit and liked it so much that she also stayed!  I hope that they will return again soon, as friends and family are always welcome. 

The lovely trio left me a card and gift to say thank you for their wee stay. I particularly love the card with the drawing of the three of them at Blackpark Stone Circle at Kingarth on Bute. Visal must be quite the artist!  I am sure that the Australian wine will come in handy too.


I will be returning to Bute in early January, with one of my closest friends in tow for the first couple of days.  I can’t wait to see the finished flat - but I also can’t wait to show Sarah!  Although I have not been there since August, I have been kept up to date on the final renovations with plenty of pictures and news.  As always, Bute provides a never ending kaleidoscope of photo opportunities.  Whatever the weather, the natural beauty is stunning.  Here are some of my recent faves.

For those who have been following along with the renovation journey, you will recall that the bulk of the renovations were completed in April 2023 by Trish and Shaun from The Green Interiors on Bute. Trish and Shaun oversaw the transformation of my humble flat into a gorgeous new pad and I am very grateful for their hard work.  Their vision and creativity helped to guide the flat from a fairly unloved attic dwelling into a gorgeous abode. My kids were the first to see it with me in April, after its transformation.

Four months later, I rocked up to Rothesay with my Mum in August for her 80th birthday. Although the flat was not yet complete, it did provide us with a lovely opportunity to discuss the final flourishes together. An unexpected bonding experience!

Together we oversaw the installation of the wood burner and hearth into the original fireplace. My mate Chaz from Stove Scotland travelled all the way from West Lothian on the mainland to complete the job. Quite the effort, I must say!

We agreed to leave the original stonework at the back of the fireplace exposed, as a respectful nod to the history of the building. Then Chaz made sure the remaining cavity was plastered and the slate hearth installed. Amazingly, he finished the entire job in one day, just leaving the tiling to be completed.

The brilliant David and his team from Sloan Monteith in Glasgow then stepped in to manage the remaining jobs and finish off the renovation.  This included tiling the fireplace surround with matt navy tiles, which look perfectly subtle, allowing the wood burner to take centre stage.  As yet, the woodburner has not been used.  I am looking forward to christening that little fella with Sarah in January!

The team from Sloan Monteith then painted the kitchen sage and tiled two of the kitchen walls with the brick slip tiles that were purchased earlier in the year.  I am particularly happy with how the bricks look and the contrast with the navy and sage colours in the kitchen.  I honestly can't wait to get into that beautiful kitchen and cook up a storm! The exposed brick walls are exactly as I had hoped and the whole effect is traditional and cosy.

The internal doors are now painted white with brand new brass door handles and hooks.  I just love how fresh everything looks against the sage walls.  We have also built some joinery around the obligatory meters in the hallway, with these painted sage to disappear from view. Photos of the finished boxes with their little doors will be posted in January!

Finally, we chose a truly magnificent dark navy wool fabric for the blinds and curtains.  The fabric is Amatheon Indigo from Warwick, which not only drapes beautifully but is also very warm due to its 70% wool content. Now that these are in place, the Scottish winter does not seem quite so terrifying! Every window in the flat now has the option of being completely covered or the blinds and curtains can also be unobtrusively out of the way to allow full access to the windows and views.

As always , I love the classic consistency of the colour palette - a very sentimental nod to my family's tartan colours. I can't wait to pick up my tartan rug and bookcase from Trish in January, who has very patiently and kindly stored these for me. They will be the finishing touches to a truly beautiful home.

As the next step will be to rent out my little flat to lucky holiday makers, I will need to make sure I return the furniture items on loan from Trish as well, including her lovely dining chairs. No doubt it will be fun sourcing some new chairs and just spending time enjoying the fruits of our labour.

Once more, a huge thank you to the team from The Green Interiors, Stove Scotland and the team from Sloan Monteith. Renovating from afar has proven challenging and more time consuming than I expected - but I am thrilled with the final result.

Tapadh leibh!


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