ANNE-Marie and Ross Sinclair are quite comfortable sharing their home with a lodger. His name is Dougie, he’s pushing 60 and is generally happy to while away the hours in his favourite spot in the hallway.
There’s no question of rent, however. Dougie is an early 1950s Vespa Douglas scooter which the couple bought for £950 in an eBay auction two years ago.
While most people hang a decorative mirror or perhaps hunt down an antique hat or umbrella stand to make their hall look warm and inviting, interior designer Anne-Marie has chosen to make an altogether quirkier statement with the iconic powder-blue moped forming a funky focal point.
“I like to inject a little humour into my interior schemes,” she smiles. “Dougie is most definitely a talking point.
“I’d always wanted a Vespa. I’m the youngest of six children and, when I was little, one of my big brothers used to take me for rides on his scooter. I’ve always had my eye out for one and when this one came up on eBay, we put in a bid and kept our fingers crossed. We originally wanted to make it roadworthy, but somehow I think that would ruin it now. Our hall would be bare without it.”
The hall would be extraordinary even without Dougie. Panelled entirely in wood, in the style of a traditional gentlemen’s club, its period features were restored in the 1990s as part of the then owner’s project to split the 1903-built red-sandstone townhouse in Glasgow’s West End into three separate flats.
Anne-Marie and Ross, who works for an insurance company, bought their ground-floor, two-bedroom apartment in 2009, attracted by the fact their property retained the building’s original stained glass front door and had a sizeable garden.
With a day job that involves creating dream interiors following her clients’ briefs, it was important for the designer to create a truly personalised haven for herself and her husband to call home.
Anne-Marie’s calling to the world of interiors came relatively late in life, in her mid thirties. A successful trust fund manager with investment bank Investec Group, she had always enjoyed home decorating as a hobby. Her now-or-never career change moment came in 2003 when, after a spell working in Geneva, the couple moved back to their native Glasgow and Anne-Marie enrolled on an interior design degree course at Glasgow Caledonian University to finally turn her lifelong passion into a career.
Today she runs her own successful consultancy, Angels Pockets Design, based between Scotland and the Isle of Man where the couple own a holiday home. Her work is varied – much of 2011 was spent fulfilling a client’s brief at a stunning 20,000sq ft clifftop villa overlooking Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Cote d’Azur.
“I’m so pleased I took the leap to make the career change, I love what I do for a living. It’s a real honour to create someone’s ideal living space for them and I think it makes me appreciate my own space at home so much more as well. You can take inspiration from anywhere, the important thing is that your space feels personal to you.
“When we were house hunting for our current home, I had two main things on my wishlist. I wanted a property with a herringbone-patterned parquet floor and a real fire. This place ticked both boxes.”
That stunning floor can be found in the main lounge, a grand whitewashed space with simplistic arts and crafts block-design cornicing and a four-formation bay window to the front. A mahogany fireplace gives the room warmth, an original feature contrasting with the contemporary decor.
The room’s colour palette was inspired by an outsized chequerboard cushion Anne-Marie picked up during the couple’s time in Geneva. She has incorporated yellows and taupes with browns and greys to create a scheme that makes the room appear both cosy in winter and vibrant in summer.
Her charcoal grey corner sofa from Sterling Furniture sits on a bright acid-yellow rug from Bo Concept. A quirky faux ponyskin cube and vintage tan leather art deco club chair provide additional seating.
To the back of the room, a huge Italian-designed circular mirror from Dallas + Dallas Interiors in Glasgow bounces light around the room, mounted above a console table in French tin, which the couple picked up on their travels.
A dining table to match the living room’s console can be found across the hall in the kitchen, with six Philippe Starck ghost chairs around it for informal dining. The units, a mix of white and high-gloss zebrano veneer, contrast with a porcelain-tiled floor. Stainless steel accessories maintain a modern feel while another eBay purchase, a 4ft by 3ft riddling wine rack picked up for £100, adds some rustic charm.
The couple’s master bedroom shows an updated take on monochrome with royal blue accents, instead of black, against crisp white. It’s also where the couple show off some of their favourite artworks. Three canvasses from Scottish artist Lucy Campbell line the mantelpiece, while an imposing 3ft by 4ft Gerard Burns original adorns one wall.
The room also boasts an eclectic mix of furniture; an old 1950s French filing cabinet, another eBay find, makes an unusual chest of drawers, while vintage suitcases stacked on top of each other provide an attractive storage solution.
A second bedroom, used as a home office, falls back into line with the hallway’s feel of old gentleman’s club with antique desk and a fatherly tan Chesterfield sofa that has been updated with slogan cushions from online retailer Rockett St George.
Functional gloss white storage units from Ikea work surprisingly well with Anne-Marie’s period pieces and she has even employed a bit of Changing Rooms chic by giving a new lease of life to an Ikea storage unit, once a bright canary yellow, and Matalan mirror with a coat of Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe Grey.
She adds: “I’m very into upcycling. Items can be given a new lease of life with just a bit of imagination. I’ve got old tea chests I use as magazine racks and one of my favourite finds is an old leather suitcase I found lying on the street. Someone had thrown it out, so I brought it home. One man’s trash can definitely be another man’s treasure, I’m a big believer in that.”
• For more on Anne-Marie Sinclair’s work, see angelspockets.com
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west