Renovating her Edinburgh home rekindles Alison Boyes’ love of interior design

With the help of Tremmel Properties, the Boyes family’s dated Stockbridge townhouse gets a modern makeover

WHEN Alison Boyes employed Tremmel Properties to refurbish her family’s new home in Edinburgh, she had no idea it would draw her back into the world of interior design.

Four years ago Alison, who is from Edinburgh, decided it was time to return home. “It took a while to convince my husband Andy, and my children Maddie (eight) and Archie (14), but three years later we took the plunge.”

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After much searching, Alison found a seven-bedroom townhouse in Stockbridge. “It was an executor sale and was very tired. The wallpaper was hanging off, there were brown cork tiles on the bathroom floor, woodworm in the basement and it had probably been about 30 years since any maintenance had been carried out, so we bought it!”

The Boyes family moved in for three weeks and promptly moved out again as Alison explains: “I needed to live in the property to see how it worked for us as a family and then I knew what changes I had to make. I had worked as an interior designer before I had the children and then I’d become a counsellor, but for me design is very much about how you live and use the property rather than about how it looks.”

Tremmel Properties moved in as they moved out. “We carried out structural alterations in the basement. The kitchen was originally in the basement and that would have been its rightful place for a property of this period. However, I realised we would end up living in the basement and not using the rest of the house if the kitchen remained there. So, we changed the dining room on the ground floor into a large kitchen diner and did away with the formal dining room.”

Today, the basement accommodates two bedrooms, a bathroom, utility room, games room and study. On the ground floor are a kitchen, living room and WC, on the first floor are a drawing room, master bedroom and bathroom and on the attic level are Maddie and Archie’s bedrooms and another bathroom.

Alison’s decor reflects her wish that the family use the whole house. “I could probably do Mastermind on Farrow & Ball paint shades, but I still always live with a paint for 24 hours before I do an entire room. I have a friend across the street who has the same shade of paint as we do and in her house it looks green and in mine it is yellow.

“Our downstairs lounge is quite a dark room, so I’ve embraced that and used dark colours to make it a cosy space. The upstairs drawing room is huge, so I knew we had to divide it into two living areas.”

Alison sold most of her Kent farmhouse furniture and started from scratch. “It is tricky getting the scale right. I’ve bought a lot of pieces from Georgian Antiques as I really trust them and it’s important to find people you can trust and work with.”

Alison was so impressed by the work Tremmel Properties did that she has just joined their team as an interior designer. “I’d forgotten how much I loved working in interior design. Katrina Tremmel and I got on so well during the project and although we both have different tastes I think we really complement each other. Katrina is more traditional and I like a look that mixes old and new, so I think we’ll be offering clients the best of both worlds.” k

Tremmel Properties (0131-226 7518,