A Photographer’s Scottish Home That’s Like “Stepping into a Rainbow”

updated Jul 10, 2019

A Photographer’s Scottish Home That’s Like “Stepping into a Rainbow”

updated Jul 10, 2019
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Home Type
Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Mairi and Richard
Location: Edinburgh
Years Lived In: 1 year, owned

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The colors and textures of the Scottish landscape are Mairi’s biggest inspiration. “Often I am found escaping to the outdoors and photographing the enlivening flora and fauna that surrounds us,” she says. Mairi transforms this natural inspiration into dynamic abstract patterns for Mairi Helena, a textile and wallpaper company she runs from this colorful Edinburgh house. Not surprisingly, her energetic patterns envelop many of the home’s surfaces, from walls, to cushions to lampshades and more.

Mairi describes her home:

“My husband and I moved into our Edinburgh three-bedroom flat in November 2015 and leapt at the chance to renovate the space with our own unique stamp. This is our first home (having rented prior to this) and so it was wonderful to have the freedom to finally paint and decorate in our own style. We live in the top flat in a quiet, leafy suburb of Edinburgh, and enjoy views over the sunny rooftops of town!

We have created a vibrant yet cosy retreat and wallpapered many a feature wall using my Mairi Helena wallpapers, as well as installed a Moroccan-themed brightly tiled bathroom, wallpapered the hall gold, painted the bedroom a bold blue and restyled the kitchen. A friend described it like ‘stepping into a rainbow!’

We love our home. The colourful atmosphere helps lift spirits no matter what the weather is doing outside — a great way to cope with the Scottish weather!”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Bold, colourful, contemporary

Inspiration: Scotland! The colourful flora and fauna of my surrounding natural landscapes. I love mixing pattern, texture and colour together to create happy, colourful interiors. Also Instagram, Pinterest, blogging

Favorite Element: I love our fireplace and surrounding wallpapered feature wall. It’s cosy and snug in the Winter months with the stove on and in the Summer, the leaves on the trees outdoors matches the colours in my wallpaper and walls.

Favorite Room: our living room for its calming, relaxing colours and a feeling of ‘bringing the outdoors in’, especially when the leaves are out on the trees in summertime and the colours match that of our chosen paint colour for the walls.

Biggest Challenge: getting the right paint colour for the walls in the living room! We went through so many tester pots and even painted the whole room with the colour we initially thought was right….we ended up mixing up our own paint colour in a very large orange bucket – but it was worth it in the end as we love the final colour!

What Friends Say: I think they think it’s bold and daring but everyone leaves saying that the bright colours makes them feel happy, so that’t got to be good!

Biggest Embarrassment: not getting round to getting a blind for the bathroom for 6 months!

Proudest DIY: has to be laying the wooden floor ourselves in the living room, having never done this before! Also upholstering our dining room chairs in my own velvet fabric.

Biggest Indulgence: our kitchen induction hob! But we’re glad we went with it in the end, it makes cooking very pleasing!!

Best Advice: pend time creating a mood board before embarking on a room renovation. It really helps you to pin down colour combinations, layout ideas, textures and accessory items that you would like to work with in the room.


Bedroom – B&Q Vaslpar range Porthole Blue
Kitchen – Farrow and Ball Sudbury Yellow and Farrow’s Cream
Living room/dining room – we mixed it ourselves!!
Bathroom – B&Q Valspar range

Wallpaper – Mairi Helena Harris Green Thistle
Mirror – Homesense
Lamp on Mantelpiece – Homesense
Stove – Stoves Are Us
Sofa – Coop NGT (a furniture store in Scotland)
Round Table – JB McLean
Cup on table – Anthropologie
Gold jug on mantelpiece – Homesense
Round basket – John Lewis
Log holder – Christmas gift from Richard’s parents

Chairs – passed down from Richard’s granny and Mairi’s parents
Fabric Upholstery on chairs – Mairi Helena Summer thistle and Fire thistle velvet
Mirror -Originally blue! from Homesense
Piano – passed down from Richard’s granny
Wine holder – Homesense
Table – passed down from Richard’s granny
Table mats – John Lewis
Plates – wedding gift
Artwork – painting by my Auntie Susan!
Wine decanter – John Lewis
Cocktail glasses – wedding gifts

Table and Chairs – JB Mclean
Wallpaper – Mairi Helena Bronze Flush thistle wallpaper
Units – B&Q
Kettle – Alessi (John Lewis)
Copper measuring cups – Anthropologie
Floor – B&Q
Various cookbooks – mostly all gifts!
Stag Tea light holder on table – Christmas present
Hexagonal tea light holder on table – Tom Dixon via Amara
Toaster – John Lewis
Copper Light – Life Story Edinburgh
Glass hexagonal large candle holder on unit – Curiouser and Curiouser
Coffee Machine – John Lewis

Bed – John Lewis
Bedside tables – wedding present
Bedside light shades – Mairi Helena Fine Art Pink Thistle Lampshade
Cushions on Bed – Mairi Helena Velvet cushions
Wallpaper – Mairi Helena Fine Art Pink Thistle Wallpaper
Paint Colour – B&Q Valspar Porthole Blue
Bed Spread – John Lewis
Upholstered chair – upholstered in Mairi Helena Fine Art Pink thistle velvet
Large gold mirror – JB Mclean

Tiles – The Original Tile Company, Edinburgh
Sink – Ebay find
Vanity unit – Ebay find
Lanterns – Homesense
Soap dispenser and toothbrush holder – John Lewis
Towels – John Lewis
Soaps – gift
Candle – gift
Faucets – eBay find

Thanks, Mairi!

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