Renovating a historic house: Traditional interiors restored for modern living

The Duke and Duchess of Fife, David and Caroline are the owners of Elsick House which has been in David’s family since the 1300’s. Here, Caroline talks about the restoration of the house and what inspired them to create an ideal space for entertaining and modern living whilst still retaining traditional features.

“Elsick House has been in the family since the 1300s, and it was where David was brought up. There’s a huge amount of history within these walls. Sadly, David’s dad passed away in 2015 leaving the house and estate to us. We have frequented here with our family over the years so the house truly holds a lot of cherished memories.”

The Restoration

“We rescued the house and restored it with a lot of love and it has certainly come alive again! We re-wired, re-plumbed and added more bathrooms. Making the most of the 11 bedrooms, en-suites added more modern living to the house.

Alexandra bedroom
The Alexandra Bedroom
Ensuite bathroom with roll top bath and freestanding shower
En suite added to The Alexandra Bedroom

It was important to us to have a lot of open living and entertaining space, which I think we’ve achieved. We didn’t want a fussy formal atmosphere. We tried to keep the house old with a modern twist, so the traditional features have been kept but perhaps updated. A fresh colour palette was used, with some flair and personality given to each room through accents.

Drawing room through to the dining room
View from The Drawing Room to The Dining Room

The MacDuff bedroom is my favourite, most probably because it was actually David’s bedroom/nursery growing up. It’s just timeless, I love the quirky old panelling that isn’t straight, but why would one mend this feature? It’s the cosiest part of the house and will always remain the ‘nursery’ to me.

MacDuff bedroom in Elsick House
The Macduff Bedroom was David’s childhood bedroom and ‘The Nursery.”

I also love the study, I love the masculine, non-feminine feel to it with its vintage leather sofas and natural fabrics, again this room is simply timeless.”

The study room at Elsick House with Chesterfield sofa and fireplace
The Study

The Furnishings

“We bought everything from scratch. Taylor’s Auctions were a fabulous source as was Coach House, which I absolutely love! I’d say our biggest splash out was our dining table which seats 16 people. Our best buys were the two large art pieces in the main foyer which were only £50 for both from Taylor’s Auctions. David came up with the genius idea of taking pictures of our original art from our home in Angus, and having them made into large canvases then mounted and framed in a traditional way fitting for the house – so although they are not originals, they are loved pieces from our home, many pieces are of family through the generations!

The Dining Room features family portraits from through the generations

I have a love of the Edwardian period and Downton Abbey, I find it very romantic. I would say that there is always something good in every era though. I love natural, vintage fabrics with fresh neutral pallets. Soft corals and petrol blues are amongst some of my favourite colours, but I hugely dislike navy carpets – which we had running through the house, but I’m happy to say, I gained permission to change these!”

Inside the drawing room at Elsick House with fresh flowers and red cushions

Originally published by No. 1 Magazine. June 7, 2017. Interview by Robyn Lang-Shankland. Main image by Firefly & Embers Photography.

The perfect setting for your wedding photographs

Turning into our beech lined driveway, our brides and grooms can’t help but start to picture themselves here on their wedding day. Only 8 miles south of Aberdeen and surrounded by 1500 acres of grounds and farmland, Elsick House provides countless stunning backdrops for your wedding photography. 

By taking a look at some of the highlights from our 2019 weddings, here we explore some photo locations that are not to be missed…

1. The Bridge

Our top spot for the ultimate romantic snap has got to be the bridge over the pond, directly opposite the front of the house. Donna Murray Photography captured Natalie and Stewart beautifully here and her natural and creative photography style meant all the emotions of the day were perfectly recorded. 

Bride and groom kissing on the bridge following wedding at Elsick House
Donna Murray Photography

2. The Rose Pergola

Another ‘must have’ photo location is under our rose pergola. Nicola Stewart Photography effortlessly framing Annabel and Colin here and from a different perspective, in Jonathan Addie’s portrayal of Elaine and Graham’s big day.

Bride and groom with floral bouquet under the rose pergola at Elsick House.
Nicola Stewart Photography
Bride and groom under the rose pergola at Elsick House.
Jonathan Addie Photography

3. The Lawns and Walled Gardens

Our lawns and walled gardens are meticulously maintained throughout the year. We love how The Gibson’s Photography documented the wedding of Christy and Craig in these stunning shots, with an artistic and romantic vibe.

Bride and groom romantic shot on the lawn at Elsick House.
Bride and groom in the gardens following wedding at Elsick House
The Gibsons Photography

4. The House

Of course, Elsick House itself is a backdrop not to be missed from your photo album. We were lucky to have By Rhea here for two weddings last year. Libby and Alan provided the ultimate photo prop with tractors outside the house! And at Rebecca and Gregor’s summer wedding, Rhea took this smart shot of the groom and his wedding party, making their way to the ceremony in the marquee.

Bride and groom outside Elsick House with tractors and wedding party.
By Rhea
Groom and wedding party outside Elsick House.
By Rhea

Our tastefully decorated baronial country house has 11 bedrooms and 3 public rooms. We were in awe of these impressive shots taken inside the house by Photomagician. With such an atmospheric and artistic style, Emma and Al’s photos are edgy, dramatic and full of personality and we loved seeing Radek’s alternative perspective of the house.

5. The Surrounding Countryside

Finally, whether it’s a summers day for running into the fields together like Steph and Euan (photo by Sam Brill) or a crisp autumn afternoon like Kelsey and Iain’s big day (main blog image by Ceranna Photography) don’t forget to capture those first special moments as newlyweds by taking a stroll around the acres of beautiful Aberdeenshire countryside that surrounds Elsick House.

Bride and groom in fields after wedding at Elsick House
Sam Brill

Wedding Open Day 2020 – Postponed

*Edited 21/03/20 – Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus outbreak we have no choice but to postpone this year’s wedding open day. Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook for a rescheduled date. Thank you.*

We are so excited to announce that this year’s Elsick House Wedding Open Day will take place on Sunday 17th May 2020.

Come along between 12 and 4pm and enjoy a glass of fizz while you view the stunning house, grounds and gardens at your leisure. Our house managers Alison and Karen will be on hand to answer your questions along with the experienced staff from our partner’s Hudsons who can discuss all your catering and event requirements. You’ll also be able to sample their tasty offerings. The marquee will be beautifully decorated by some of Aberdeenshire’s top wedding experts which is sure to give you lots of inspo for your big day!

We have also selected some local suppliers to join us so we hope you’ll enjoy chatting with them to see if they can help make your wedding day special too. Look out for supplier announcements on our Instagram and Facebook pages soon.

Register for our wedding open day online or email house@elsick.co.uk

WINTER WEEKENDS AT ELSICK HOUSE

Elsick House is located just 8 miles south of Aberdeen in Cammachmore, meaning the joys of the Aberdeen’s Winter Festival are just a few minutes away.

Visit Scotland have pulled together a wonderful list of events planned for 2018 on their website – it’s getting us feeling all festive!  Some of their suggestions include;

– Follow a parade of bands, festive characters and floats down Union Street and cheer as one by one the lights are turned on at the Christmas Lights Switch On Parade

– Help welcome Father Christmas to Aberdeen at the city’s eagerly anticipated Santa and Reindeer Parade.

– Sing along to carols accompanied by music from the talented Bon Accord Silver Band at a Christmas Carol Concert held in the David Welch Winter Gardens

Get into the festive spirit with a pantomime at the Aberdeen Arts Centre, Tivoli or His Majesty’s Theatre.

The full list of events can be found here

Why not get in touch and make the most of our winter getaway deal.  At time of writing, we still have the following winter weekends available for hire;

– November: 2nd, 16th, 23rd and 30th
– December: 7th and 14th
– January: 11th and 25th
– February: 8th and 22nd
– March: 1st, 8th, 15th and 29th

Check our current availability or get in touch with Alison and Natasha on house@elsick.co.uk.

Look forward to hearing from you

Elsick House Team