Russian-inspired ‘White House’ revealed as Scotland’s home of the year

A circular coastal house inspired by an iconic piece of Russian architecture has been crowned Scotland’s Home of the Year in a televised national competition.

The design was inspired by the iconic Melnikov House in Moscow

‘The White House,’ designed by Lesley Smith and late husband Mike was revealed as the winner by a panel of three leading judges in last night’s final filmed at House For An Art Lover in Glasgow.

The cylindrical home, which hugs the South coast of Scotland in Kirkcudbright, was inspired by the historic Melnikov House in Moscow.

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Judges Michael Angus, Anna Campbell-Jones and Kate Spiers visited 21 homes across the country as part of the seven week long competition, screened on the new BBC Scotland channel.

The 'White House' in Kirkcudbright came out on top in the national competition

Lesley, 72, and Mike first first spied the site while on holiday in Dumfries and Galloway in 2002, however the project did not get underway until 2008.

The two-year build - which also took inspiration from the design of Scottish lighthouses - was praised for its “breathtaking” raised drawing room offering views over Kirkcudbright Bay to the Isle of Man and striking curved library.

Judge Anna Campbell-Jones said: “Everything in the house had been given thoughtful consideration, from the big architectural vision to the tactile details.”

“The whole home exuded personality, the furniture and artworks clearly demonstrated many years of collecting with love and discernment and the way that incredible view is revealed as you enter the house is breathtaking.”

Owner Lesley Smith designed and built the house with late husband Mike

Kate Spiers added: “I think we all fell in love with the winning house.

“The owners have built the home around the view, but for me, it was the library that blew me away. The curved walls were stacked floor to ceiling with books so that they could be read and loved. It was magical.”

The couple planned and built the house together from scratch and moved in on their 30th wedding anniversary in August 2010.

However, Mike - former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University - tragically passed away following surgery just 14 months later.

Lesley, a retired academic specialising in Russian literature, dedicated the award to her late husband, adding: “Mike would have been so pleased at receiving this award and I’m delighted to accept it for both of us.”

“We had a lovely year together enjoying our new home, which Mike saw fully completed, down to the last detail.”

“He left behind a beautiful house as testament to his vision, his innate sense of style, and his gift for making things happen. The house is a wonderful place, full of light and life and happy memories.”

She continued: “I know Mike would be smiling at the idea we’ve created Scotland’s Home of the Year. It’s made me really happy and reminds me that although we only had a short time here together, it’s where we felt most at home because it’s a house that’s absolutely ours in every sense.”

Melnikov House - known for its ‘honeycomb’ style windows and interior - was constructed by the renowned avant-garde architect Konstantin Melnikov in the 1920s under the guise of designing a space capable of housing multiple families.

Lesley added: “Mike and I had to keep pinching ourselves after we moved in here. We had this utterly lovely house, which was everything that we had hoped, and more.”

“It truly is a home – it’s one that we built from scratch and contains all the bits and pieces that are all memories of happy times.