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

In the main bedroom, the couple went for a soothing colour scheme in greens and blush pinks. Shaunna furnished the room with investment purchases like the Benson for Beds ottoman. ‘In our last house, the main bedroom never got decorated and it ended up being the dumping ground. I wanted our bedroom to be a priority, so we had a relaxing space to retreat to at the end of the day’

Looking at the exterior of Shaunna and Kevin Leitch’s home, it is hard to believe that it was only built 18 months ago.

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‘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.’

‘My Laura Ashley footstool once belonged to my mum and is over 20 years old. I keep all my Christmas craft items in there.’ Shaunna made the wreaths on the wall with faux pink roses and eucalyptus. ‘We painted the room in Egyptian Cotton by Dulux for an inviting look,’ she says. ‘It’s great having a proper stove as we didn’t in our last home. We put it on every day in winter.’ A West Elm rug adds to the room’s snug feel
‘My Laura Ashley footstool once belonged to my mum and is over 20 years old. I keep all my Christmas craft items in there.’ Shaunna made the wreaths on the wall with faux pink roses and eucalyptus. ‘We painted the room in Egyptian Cotton by Dulux for an inviting look,’ she says. ‘It’s great having a proper stove as we didn’t in our last home. We put it on every day in winter.’ A West Elm rug adds to the room’s snug feel

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.

‘The kitchen is amazing for hosting as we can push everything to the walls and have enough space to do ceilidh dancing together' says Shaunna
‘The kitchen is amazing for hosting as we can push everything to the walls and have enough space to do ceilidh dancing together’ says Shaunna

‘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.

Shaunna Leitch

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.’

The couple’s next decorating project is to fit a shiplap grooved wall with shelving and gold sconces behind the sofa in the kitchen. ‘I want to add colour and texture to the room. I’m going to paint the skirting boards and the woodwork in a soft green colour, which I’ll be tackling in the new year. It’s such a big room, it can take a lot of colour’
The couple’s next decorating project is to fit a shiplap grooved wall with shelving and gold sconces behind the sofa in the kitchen. ‘I want to add colour and texture to the room. I’m going to paint the skirting boards and the woodwork in a soft green colour, which I’ll be tackling in the new year. It’s such a big room, it can take a lot of colour’

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.

Shaunna’s passion is entertaining and cooking. ‘At this time of year I dress my table with foliage and pastel candles with gold candlesticks, and my extra-special gold cutlery from Homesense to bring lots of sparkle to the tabletop’
Shaunna’s passion is entertaining and cooking. ‘At this time of year I dress my table with foliage and pastel candles with gold candlesticks, and my extra-special gold cutlery from Homesense to bring lots of sparkle to the tabletop’

‘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 Leitch

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.’

Shaunna had the flooring fitted so it runs diagonally from the kitchen into the hallway for a seamless look. ‘The best part of buying a new-build home was being able to choose everything, including the gold hardware’
Shaunna had the flooring fitted so it runs diagonally from the kitchen into the hallway for a seamless look. ‘The best part of buying a new-build home was being able to choose everything, including the gold hardware’
Up the banisters, Shaunna trails a garland decorated with IKEA light-up paper stars. ‘The gold stars are made from paper, and I hang them between the banisters using gold florist wire,’ she explains
Up the banisters, Shaunna trails a garland decorated with IKEA light-up paper stars. ‘The gold stars are made from paper, and I hang them between the banisters using gold florist wire,’ she explains

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.

In the dining area, there is a Maisons Du Monde sofa bed, which comes in handy when guests come to stay. ‘Lots of our university friends come home for Christmas and we want them to have a place to stay at ours.’ 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
In the dining area, there is a Maisons Du Monde sofa bed, which comes in handy when guests come to stay. ‘Lots of our university friends come home for Christmas and we want them to have a place to stay at ours.’ 

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.

In the main bedroom, the couple went for a soothing colour scheme in greens and blush pinks. Shaunna furnished the room with investment purchases like the Benson for Beds ottoman. ‘In our last house, the main bedroom never got decorated and it ended up being the dumping ground. I wanted our bedroom to be a priority, so we had a relaxing space to retreat to at the end of the day’
In the main bedroom, the couple went for a soothing colour scheme in greens and blush pinks. Shaunna furnished the room with investment purchases like the Benson for Beds ottoman. ‘In our last house, the main bedroom never got decorated and it ended up being the dumping ground. I wanted our bedroom to be a priority, so we had a relaxing space to retreat to at the end of the day’
The hand-carved chest of drawers was a Boxing Day sale find. ‘Our bedroom was the first room to get a makeover. We painted the walls in sage green and added a pop of colour with the pink wardrobe doors.’ Matching pink curtains from IKEA create a co-ordinated feel
The hand-carved chest of drawers was a Boxing Day sale find. ‘Our bedroom was the first room to get a makeover. We painted the walls in sage green and added a pop of colour with the pink wardrobe doors.’ Matching pink curtains from IKEA create a co-ordinated feel

‘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!’

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This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?