This Cool Scottish Home Is Bursting With Bold Colors and Decor

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The hallway with customised cabinetry hiding Angus' litter and extra storage

Name: Amy Shirlaw, and a tiny black cat called Angus
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, owned

View of the living room into the kitchen

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I’m Amy and I share my home with the tiny black panther Angustura Bitters. Angus for short. I live in a gorgeous two-bed, ground floor property in the West End of Edinburgh, a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These buildings do cause a lot of headaches for modern living as they were originally built for a very different way of living, and so all the flats look identical on the outside. From the inside they’ve all been carved up very differently by various owners over the past 170 years! Layout can be tricky as there are lots of doors, cupboards, fireplaces, and sometimes not much wall space, but that’s all part of the layout problem solving that I sadly enjoy an awful lot!

Selection of second hand items and artwork, chair reupholstered with Zoffany found on eBay

I run my interior design business from here—specializing in the high/low approach where I mix and match clients’ own pieces with charity, high street, and designers, which all help tell the story of the person living there in an affordable and sustainable way. Growing up around contemporary boutique hotels gave me a passion for practical yet beautiful design, while my nostalgic leanings have filled my home with vintage furniture, trinkets, and ephemera.

A toilet that's brimming with botanicals

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Eclectic, arty, and cozy.

Small but perfectly formed jewel box kitchen

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is my small kitchen. When I moved in it had this sad wee circular sink, no draining board (and of course no dishwasher), and the laminate worktop was warped and peeling. The pale veneer cabinets hid a chipboard frame… it was like a ’90s high school movie and the kitchen was dying for a makeover! It was one of my first complete re-designs as an interior designer—I learned a lot and am pretty pleased with how well I responded to my own brief! My own brief had opposing elements; aesthetically I wanted a gorgeous jewel box that would be pretty to look at when you’re in the living/dining room and practically I needed a decent amount of worktop and storage space as I like to cook, bake, and entertain.

Master bedroom painted in Martian Skies II by Dulux

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Pols Potten oily folds vase from (Edinburgh boutique) Pad Lifestyle’s warehouse event; it had a very small discoloration so got a generous discount on it. I do also love Facebook Marketplace—it’s a great resource: £20 for a cane folding screen and £10 for three rolls of Ralph Lauren wallpaper!

Any advice for creating a home you love? Understand what time of day and what activity you will be doing in your spaces. I’m rarely in my living room during the day (or daylight hours, this is Scotland!) so knowing this I really leaned into creating it as an evening, cosy, entertaining space. And also—if you personally love something, just do it!

An internal bathroom that packs a punch

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.