Scotland's Home of the Year winner: "If it all burned down I’d just start again!"

The 1960s Bungalow in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire – a quirky one-of-a-kind family home with a unique personal style – has been crowned the winner of 2024’s Scotland’s Home of the Year. Kirsty McLuckie meets one of the owners, Anna McClelland.
Winners Anna and Harry with judges Danny Campbell, Anna Campbell Jones and Banjo BealeWinners Anna and Harry with judges Danny Campbell, Anna Campbell Jones and Banjo Beale
Winners Anna and Harry with judges Danny Campbell, Anna Campbell Jones and Banjo Beale | IWC Media/BBC Scotland

What do you do for a living? I have two jobs, I work in school admin and in a supermarket. My partner (Harry Kinloch) works for City and Guilds in an innovations role. Neither of us really have creative jobs, despite both being graduates of Glasgow School of Art, but we use the house as a creative outlet.

When did you move in? 12 and a bit years ago. We had previously lived in the West End (of Glasgow) but I am from Milngavie and (the bungalow) seemed like a very sensible buy in terms of schools and amenities when we were about to start a family. It is not the most attractive house, but it is on a hill and has a great view.

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The bungalow is described as having a unique personal style The bungalow is described as having a unique personal style
The bungalow is described as having a unique personal style | IWC Media/BBC Scotland

Sometimes older properties can be a bit restricting, they already have character and beauty. When you have a house that has no features that you treasure, it gives a lot of opportunity.

What have you done to the house? When we bought it just had four rooms, all downstairs.

Anna and Harry with their home's mood boardAnna and Harry with their home's mood board
Anna and Harry with their home's mood board | IWC Media/BBC Scotland

A year after we moved in we extended upwards, taking the roof off and adding a box dormer, to add two bedrooms. More recently during lockdown we extended at the back to make the kitchen much larger and to add another bedroom.

During that work the whole back of the house came off and we had no kitchen for a while.

But now we have a big space and when you come in the front door, you can see right out to the back garden. The house still isn’t huge, despite us almost doubling the floor size, but it feels a lot bigger.

Homeowners Harry, Anna and their children Marley and Lexie outside  the 1960s Bungalow, Milngavie,Homeowners Harry, Anna and their children Marley and Lexie outside  the 1960s Bungalow, Milngavie,
Homeowners Harry, Anna and their children Marley and Lexie outside the 1960s Bungalow, Milngavie, | IWC Media/BBC Scotland

How would you describe your decorating style? When we come home we feel it is positive and stimulating, and really personal to us. It is joyful, I get joy out of the projects, and certain colours and patterns give me a lot of joy. A lot of people think it has been designed for the kids, but the cartoon aspect of it is actually very me.

The house has a cartoon themeThe house has a cartoon theme
The house has a cartoon theme | IWC Media/BBC Scotland

Who decides on the decor? I’m more restless when things aren’t as I would like them to be, but Harry is very good at discussing ideas, and from that better things come. Through our conversations we get something to where it needs to be. I certainly don’t always get things right the first time, but collaboration will get us there in the end.

How much of the practical work have you done yourselves? We are not very practical people, although we do all the painting. If something actually has to be built, then we’ll get a professional in. When we saw the other houses (in the final of Scotland’s Home of the Year) we were impressed with how much building work other people had done themselves, but that is not us. And when I have attempted to do more complicated jobs myself, it does tend to look tacky, so I’ve learned not to.

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Where do you get your inspiration? From anything and everything. I find the world visually fascinating, so although I don’t go hunting in vintage shops, I will perhaps see something in a garden centre that I like. We went to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, and I spotted a giant octopus and a giant crab, and I loved the patterns on them. I don’t follow interior designers, but I do have favourite artists and will be inspired by shapes and colours in their work.

Anna with daughters Lexie & Marley in the kitchen 1960s BungalowAnna with daughters Lexie & Marley in the kitchen 1960s Bungalow
Anna with daughters Lexie & Marley in the kitchen 1960s Bungalow | IWC Media/BBC Scotland

Do you have a favourite part of the house? Not really, I’m more interested in the way things work together. And I’m not precious about any of it - they aren’t antiques and if it all burned down, I’d be sad, but I’d just start again.

What advice would you offer to those wanting to put their stamp on a home? It can be a lot of work to renovate a whole house. But it is a good idea to start off small in one area that you have a strong feeling about, and know what you want to try. Other things will come of it, but just try it - it is not the end of the world if it doesn’t work. Just be brave, follow your gut and give it a go.

And confidence is everything - it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as you like it.

Applications for SHOTY 2025 are open now – but close on the 5th July.

Apply online at www.bbc.co.uk/shoty

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