Interiors: A former hunting lodge by Loch Fyne has been restored to glory after suffering the indignity of an insensitive 1960s makeover

Lauri and Michael Thorndyke have a wild and windy Scottish night to thank for their discovery of this Highland home. "The 'for sale' sign had blown over and bent into the road, drawing our attention to it as we drove past," says Lauri.

The couple had first fallen for Argyll's magnificent landscape during their travels around Scotland, and knew this location, on the shores of Loch Fyne, had distinct benefits.

"It feels a long way from the city, yet we're not too far from Glasgow or even Edinburgh," says Lauri.

But of most appeal was the house itself.

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"It's not easy to find properties with such a strong sense of their past," says Lauri, going on to explain that, although this Victorian house, built as a shooting lodge, had been modified to ill effect in the 1960s, these changes were only cosmetic and simply concealed well-preserved original features.

The couple quickly invested in a set of ladders and a torch.

"We cut through some of the lowered ceilings and saw an additional 5ft of space and beautiful plasterwork above," says Lauri.

But the 1960s handiwork didn't stop there. Original fireplaces had been covered over, shutters nailed back and panelling to internal doors concealed behind boards.

The structure of the building was sound, but nevertheless Lauri and Michael had wiring, plumbing and fireplace flues checked out.

The house already had central heating at ground level, but the couple installed it to the first floor too, creating consistent heat throughout.

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"It's not a cold house," says Lauri, and certainly the open fires, thick walls and shutters back her up.

The couple were struck by the authenticity of this house. Discounting the sins of the 1960s, the building retained the essence of the purpose for which it was originally designed, as a space for entertaining people.

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"Shooting lodges were built for guests, with plentiful bedrooms and spacious public rooms," says Lauri, and this suited the couple's lifestyle perfectly. She and Michael lovingly restored the interior style to reflect that which the property would once have enjoyed.

Key to this approach was the colour scheme. The walls were painted vibrant shades when the couple moved in, but the removal of lowered ceilings revealed evidence of earlier decor.

"We took our cues from these colours," says Lauri.

In the front-facing drawing room, for example, where grey-blue paint was found on the upper wall, they chose a light blue from Farrow & Ball, and in fact, paints with a historical accuracy were favoured for the entire house.

The drawing room has a beautiful bay window, its shutters restored, like all those in the house, to full working order. The couple admire the workmanship in these shutters so much that they refrained from hanging curtains in this space. The white marble fireplace was one of those revealed from behind boards, and it simply required a good clean.

A long-held love of antique shops and auctions meant the couple already owned lots of furniture that fitted perfectly into this home. Upholstered pieces including wingback chairs and an ottoman, as well as portraits in gilt frames, are perfect complements to period style.

Some pieces were bought for the house, including a Scottish sideboard cabinet in the dining room. Revealed behind boarding, this room's marble fire surround is black, while rich red drapes lend a warming finish to one of two dual-aspect windows. One of the portraits is of Lady MacLean, a not entirely bonny woman, who has lived with the couple for years.

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"The MacLean family is closely linked to Argyll so we felt as though we'd brought her home," laughs Lauri.

From the dining room there's access to a pretty Edwardian glasshouse, the wooden framework of which the couple repaired. It's perfect for bringing on plants in pots and among the few tasks left on the couple's to-do list is the replacement of its tin roof for glass, restoring its original appearance.

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Two acres of ground were extremely overgrown when the couple bought the house. Although they tidied up this outdoor space considerably the couple don't like an over-landscaped look; these mature gardens are, says Lauri, "as they were intended to be", their beautiful informality bound by recently rebuilt dry stone dykes. There's even access to an original gardener's toilet that now shares space with the central heating boiler.

The property's outbuildings include a stable (there's also a paddock), an old laundry and a restored 1930s garage.

"Again, it's unusual to find outbuildings that haven't been converted for alternative use," says Lauri.

Back inside, the wide entrance hall is also furnished with antiques. Lauri discovered that the timber stair risers under the carpet are in beautiful condition and to show these off she would love to replace the carpet with a simple runner.

The study, painted in a subtle Farrow & Ball green, enjoys the front-facing loch views. Mismatched upholstery lends the room a cosy, informal feel and field sport accessories are testament to the building's history. Lauri snapped up the 12ft-high bookcase at auction, knowing it would be perfect for this high-ceilinged house.

Something of the original mood of the kitchen has been restored; modern, fitted units were replaced with freestanding pieces that took shape around an electric Belling range Lauri owned. A big kitchen pantry was retained, while an unwanted draining board and Belfast sink were rescued from a nearby cottage. The couple were especially excited to find original service bells in the kitchen, exposed by removal of the lowered ceiling.

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Edwardian bathroom fittings were retained in a bathroom at half-landing level while a new bathroom was created on the first floor alongside the five character-laden bedrooms with original fireplaces and antique furnishings including four posters and pretty chandeliers. The master bedroom draws light from a beautiful floor-level window.

Repainting the house facade, a job not tackled in 30 years, instantly revived the lodge externally. The couple may have installed its first telephone line, but this home is reliving the fortunes of its past, and Lauri and Michael would like it to remain in the hands of equally caring custodians.

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Offers over 455,000 for The Lodge, St Catherine's, contact Strutt and Parker, Tel: 0141-225 3880,

This article was first published in The Scotsman on Saturday 09 January, 2010.