Scotland On Sunday covers Bell Ingram’s project to restore The Rosehall House in Sutherland
Besides its exquisite architecture, the 20-room Highland mansion known as The Rosehall House is gifted with something else priceless. The interior is the only property outside continental Europe with a decor designed by Coco Chanel
Chanel stayed in Sutherland in the 1920s as mistress of the 2nd Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor. They were involved for about ten years, but never married. When asked why, Chanel famously said, “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Mademoiselle Chanel.”
While Chanel’s memory still sparkles as brightly as it did in the 20s, after more than 50 years of abandonment, time took its toll on the mansion and it is now in desperate need of a makeover.
Chanel’s elegant design includes deep beige wallpaper, simple wooden fireplaces, hand-painted floral wallpaper, and even Scotland’s first bidet. Bell Ingram Design has been appointed to lead the restoration project, who is determined to revive Chanel’s designs.
Ian Cram, Director of Bell Ingram, said: “While it will be impossible to save all the features, we have a real chance to restore this cultural gem to something like its former glory.
“Our aim is to work closely with planners to try to utilise every possible remaining feature of the building to ensure we preserve the influence of Chanel as best we can.
“The traces we’re using to re-establish her style have very muted beiges but also pinstripes, which would have been very radical for its day. The colour schemes she had in place wouldn’t be out of place in a contemporary boutique hotel.”
A group of Birmingham businessmen are backing the scheme to turn the main house into a hotel and build eight catered apartments at a discreet distance, to preserve the ambience of the property.
Bell Ingram Design have been discussing their proposals with planners in Highland Council for some time and hope to submit a formal planning application in the near future.
Established in 1899, Bell Ingram is a multi-disciplined firm of chartered surveyors, planning consultants, architects, estate agents, building surveyors and energy specialists. With more than 100 professional staff across 11 UK offices they provide local knowledge with national coverage.