Name: Claire and Marcus Mackay
Location: Dennistoun; Glasgow, Scotland
Size: Approx 2000 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; Owned
You could fill a book with stories about Claire (Butler and Taylor
) and Marcus (The Diving Bell Lounge
) and their beautiful home. This semi-detached property in the east end of Glasgow, built in the 1840’s, was originally the billiard room (essentially, a place for men to gather and smoke together — I can’t vouch for the amount of billiards played) of a grand home more than twice the size, and it wasn’t until the 1940’s that it was turned into a home in itself.
After that, it was occupied by the first female graduate of Glasgow University, an eccentric lady who was known for riding her horse around this urban neighborhood right into the 1970’s. Though Marcus and Claire are delighted with the rich history embedded in their family home and have embraced it with open arms, they have drawn the line at a horse.
Whilst opening up the downstairs into a more usable family space, Claire and Marcus have been careful to celebrate the original character of the building, leaving the wood paneling untouched and opening up the magnificent fireplace. Filling it hasn’t been too much bother as Claire, a self-confessed vintage hoarder (something she has since founded her business on), now has the perfect backdrop for her many finds. As a result, the house is full of reclaimed furniture, hand-me-downs, and items made by friends and family. This, combined with a few clean, modern pieces to freshen everything up, Marcus’ impressive collection of music, and little Rubin’s inevitable (not so little) stamp on the place, makes this home the perfect expression of those who live there.
Conveniently, the house is continually adapting over time to accommodate their changing circumstances and growing family. Besides having another baby on the way, Claire and Marcus now both work in the space too, with the porch becoming the bulging storehouse for Butler and Taylor and an old coach house at the bottom of the garden home to The Diving Bell Lounge, Marcus’ recording studio – a place that most certainly warrants a tour all of its own. Hold the phone on that one.
This is a relaxing and calm space full of warmth and creativity. Not a bad deal for the cats, Pokey and Genki, either.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic, Relaxed, Refurbished Found Pieces.
Inspiration: Like any home, our house is a story of where we’ve been, where we’d like to go, what we do for a living, and functionality. All of these are always at the heart of everything. With Marcus as a record producer (The Diving Bell Lounge) and me running a vintage event hire business (Butler & Taylor )– our home has a happy mix of electic found items, music related ephemera, and various vintage or old pieces. This said, with my immersion in all things vintage for my business, I crave some more modernist, clean cut styling in newer purchases. But hopefully never too much of one thing.
Favorite Element: This is a tricky one. I’m going to give two: 1) The Old Shop Counter in our upstairs lounge – proudly bartered for at The famous Barras Market, and 2) Our Kitchen Table, handmade by my brother whilst working at the incredible Brick Lane Shop, 'Unto this Last'.
Biggest Challenge: Dare I say it, with such a big house and so many options for what each room does — just getting the flow and feeling right in each space is a constant challenge. Our house started its life as a lodgers' haven, moved to a business at home space to a now family home.
What Friends Say: Wow, that ceiling, those stairs, that fireplace! It doesn’t feel like you’re in the city.
Biggest Embarrassment: The two beautiful houses with massive potential either side of us lying empty, save the pack of squealing foxes in their grounds.
Proudest DIY: A couple are worth a mention — hand building the shed in February 2012 and reviving the old coach house in the back garden from empty brick house into to Marcus’ recording studio.
Biggest Indulgence: 25 Tonnes of trees delivered to our back lane for stocking our fire over winter. It's taken over 6 months to chop it up! This winter better be a cold one!
Best Advice: Second hand is your best friend — be it new items in or old items out. Don’t acquire new items before assessing the relevance of your current possessions. Finish one thing before starting another. Make a place for everything, however small.
Dream Sources: Unto this Last, Rye Markets in West Sussex, Copenhagen and Manhatten Loft Apartments mixed with some Country Living Classics.
Resources of Note:
Sofa – Parents first sofa reupholstered by 1st class Upholstery, Shawlands Glasgow
Velour Maroon Chair – Habitat
Matching Lamps Bases– Hand made by Marcus’s Dad
Matching Lamp Shades- B&Q
Large Base Arced Lamp – Dwell
Vinyl storage and Music Station – Hand made by Marcus’ Dad
Kitchen Table – Unto this Last
Fridge Freezer – SMEG
Kitchen Doors – Howdens
Leather Swivel Chair – Love Salvage, Govan
Kitchen Dresser Unit – Ebay
Artwork (gun to nose, stairs collage and dog beach) – Michael Lacey
Artwork (beach in winter) – New 2 You Retro, Rye Sussex
Artwork (Moroccon screen prints) – Essouira Port Market, Morocco
Large Carpet – Barras Antique Market
Desk and Storage – Ikea
Filing Cabinet – Barnardo’s, Great Western Road
Artwork (screen print field scene) – “Yorkshire Autumn” by Jill Hodge in Amber Arts, Edinburgh
Desk Chair – Ikea
Small Print – Rejkavik Art Museum, artist unknown
Small Print (cylinders) - Linus Kraemer from SMUG on Camden Passage, London
Singer Sewing Machine – Salvation Army, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow
UPSTAIRS LIVING ROOM
Sofa – Habitat
Artwork – Michael Lacey
Large Orange Mirror – IKEA
Shelving, TV unit – Unto this Last
Wee Sewing Desk – Second Hand Furniture shop outside Partick Station
Art Deco Shop Counter Unit – Barrowlands Antique Market
Gentlemans Closet – Salvation Army, Dumbarton Road
Artwork (framed objects) – Claires own
Trunk – Second hand from newspaper classified ads
Black Lamp – TK Maxx
Red Swivel Chair – IKEA
Cot – My original (found in skip in the 80s!)
Chests of Drawers and Gentlemens Closet – All second hand, free
“American Rocker” Rocking Chair – In house when we bought, reupholstered by Claire’s Mum
Plates on wall - Gift/Design Shop in Rye (sorry forgotten name)
Blinds – Made bespoke in Mandors, Glasgow
All original with Farrow and Ball paint job
Prints – Urban Outfitters
Mirror – Barrowlands
All unlisted items were either found in the street and polished up or given to us from friends and family or already in the house.
Thanks, Claire, Marcus and Rubin!
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(Image credits: Lizzie Ford)