Home makeover: 'Our new-build has period charm'
Shaunna and Kevin Leitch’s family home combines the ease of modern living with the characterful look of a 19th-century property
Looking at the exterior of Shaunna and Kevin Leitch’s home, it is hard to believe that it was only built 18 months ago.
‘We live in a very special place. It’s a new village built on the estate of the Earl of Murray. He was instrumental in the design of all the houses, and the homes here have the look and feel of 18th- and 19th-century buildings,’ explains Shaunna.
‘Every single house is unique, and they are even painted in different colours. There is a 40-year plan for the village, including building a fire station, village hall and tennis courts. It’s a lovely place to bring up our young daughters.’
In 2019, the couple sold their small flat and bought this three-bedroom house, situated deep in the Scottish Highlands. ‘I’ve always dreamed of living in a period home,’ she says.
‘Sadly, my husband and I are useless at DIY so for practical reasons he wanted to live in a new-build that would need no renovation work. This house was the perfect compromise as we have all the features of an older property but it’s a cosy, modern home inside.’
Welcome to our home...Our home is a new-build in the Scottish Highlands. It’s in a new village that’s been created with a heritage feel to the buildings. Our home was completed 18 months ago.
We are Shaunna Leitch, 29, a sports coach and social media manager, my husband, Kevin, 31, an accountant, and our two children, Millie, five, and Piper, four.
The appeal of this particular place was the generous open-plan kitchen and tall ceilings. ‘I love to cook so I spend 90 per cent of my time in here,’ she says. It has quickly become the heart of their home.
‘I dress the table differently for each mealtime, swapping the candles and the table centrepieces. The bench is great as it allows us to fit lots of people around the table.’
Buying her new-build home off-plan gave Shaunna the opportunity to choose all the design elements. She picked the flooring, wall colours and the fixtures and fittings. ‘I’m drawn to a softer colour palette filled with pastel tones,’ she says.
‘I was mindful that pinks and blues can look a bit young, so I choose wall colours that added depth to the room schemes. The living room was painted in a stone colour, which makes it really cosy and homely during the winter months.’
A bit more about our home...Shops I love are Anthropologie, Homesense, H&M Home and Zara Home, as well as antiques shops.
I learnt to buy good-quality pieces of furniture that will last a long time.
My style is colourful, modern country (I’m not a minimalist).
Shaunna was keen to source furniture from antiques shops as well as from the high street. ‘Before this house, we had bought affordable furniture, but it never lasted. With this home, I invested in furniture that would stand the test of time.’
The couple filled their kitchen with a large dining table from a local shop called Auldearn Antiques in preparation for Christmas-time. ‘They are based in a church building near us, which is packed to the brim with antique furniture, like our new table.’
Their family living room is decorated in golds and blush pinks. ‘I’ve been collecting tree decorations over the years, buying a few new ones each year.
‘The gold glitter stars hung on my tree are the latest buy. I pick lots up from an independent shop called Annie Mo’s in Aberdeen,’ she says.
The country-style dining chairs were a bargain buy from Facebook Marketplace. Their soft blue shade became the starting point for the kitchen’s colour scheme.
‘This was our second Christmas in this house. It’s such a magical time of the year and I love the preparation for the big day.'
'We love to create a magical experience for them. The girls were so delighted when we moved in as we now have a chimney for Santa to come down. Last year, he left snowy steps in the hallway!’
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?