Peeking into people’s homes is something many of you share a love of! It is such fun to get ideas and admire what other people are doing – even if it is not totally your style. The thing is we all have our own personal style, and in particular when you use unique items. Emma’s house is one of our most popular house tours, and you will see why when you look through the entire tour. We all love to seek inspiration from each other in our lives and this upcycled home is an amazingly pretty cottage which has been renovated using mostly upcycled pieces and techniques from Emma Whyte, who lives on the Isle of Skye. Even better, Emma now offers interior styling and stays at her cottage! Her services include interior design and fill project management. Find all the details here . This is some serious gorgeousness and one clever lady. The fact that she is miles across the sea from me and the power of the Internet brought us together in mutual upcycling loveliness, is even better!
Here is what she wrote to me “Hi I thought I’d send some photo’s of our little cottage on the Isle of Skye (a few miles away from you..!). The old oil fired boiler broke down last year which inspired us to replace it with a woodburner which heats the hot water and the radiators and to re-vamp the whole place, re-using and recycling as much as we could.”
I clicked the link….and this is when I realised this was a whole blog post, a real look inside homes and architecture at someone who has created a gorgeous home with principles of reuse and upcycling.
Here is Emma’s story ( all pictures are supplied by Emma).
Emma says the kitchen was in dire need of a makeover; the units were old and battered, the walls were stained and the grey concrete floor was cold and cheerless. The final straw was the death of the oil fired boiler and the resulting layer of black soot….. everywhere! “We wanted to re-use whatever we could. The cooker, fridge and washing machine were still in working order and we found the 1950’s wall cupboard in the coal shed, so I re-designed the kitchen around these. The full height cupboard which had housed the boiler was now a useful space, so I designed a storage area for our collection of vintage crockery,” explains Emma.
A joiner installed the wooden worktop and butler’s sink and Emma altered the vintage barkcloth curtains to hang below the worktop. She painted the rescued kitchen cabinet and added a row of cup hooks. The cooker was then flanked by two wooden butcher’s trolleys and a white splashback, which she tiled herself. In a stroke of genius, she cut the back off a vintage cake tin and used it to cover the unsightly cooker switch, and then hung the rest of her tin collection alongside.
There was now space for a small table and chairs Emma found at a boot sale. “I cleaned them with homemade wood reviver (equal measures of methylated spirit, white spirit and linseed oil, it works a treat), recovered the seats with oilcloth and applied wallpaper and varnish to the backrests,” Emma says
The total cost including the new kitchen units and labour was £1350.
Before the renovation the wooden floor was bright blue which presented a challenge. “I wanted to go white but didn’t want to use environmentally nasty solvent based paint. I researched and found a brilliant, water based floor paint which works like magic,” says Emma. This was Remmers 2 part floor paint, which comes in any RAL colour, amazing coverage and dries in a jiffy (an English brand). If you are in Australia, we recently painted our floors using Berger Jetdry Aquatread, which is brilliant.
Emma says she was ruthless with the existing furniture. “If we didn’t love it, it was out; we sold some on the local ‘Skye, swap, buy, sell’ facebook group and donated the rest to the local housing charity – Am Fasgadh. This left us with nothing but the dining table which I covered with pages from vintage books, varnished (and varnished and varnished!) and painted the legs chrome yellow.” The dining chairs came from a local house clearance and Emma recovered them with a bright yellow vintage barkcloth fabric.
Emma papered one of the walls with a lovely old Readers Digest bird book and smartened up the chest of drawers with Orla Kiely’s Rhododendon wallpaper. “I gave the standard lamp a new lease of life with Orla Kiely wrapping paper and a lampshade made from one of her pillowcases which I bought on ebay. The curtains, rug, coffee table and leather armchair were all car boot sale finds (the armchair cost a princely £10!) and I made the cushions from tea towels and a duvet cover,” says Emma. The total cost of the furnishings (excluding the sofa which came from Ikea) was under £150.
Finally, Emma used wallpaper as a stair runner on both sets of stairs. She finished it with 5 layers of satin finish floor varnish and says it still looks as good as the day she did it.
This is such a gorgeous home – you can see more of Emma’s work and find out how to stay in this cottage on her website
**this is an update of a post originally shared in 2015