The Cat Lighting ‘show house’ is within a property called Woodmill Arches.  It doubles as a stylish luxury holiday let, and we were pleased to be reviewed in the May 2021 edition of Scotland on Sunday which focused in particular on the design influences and the priority I placed on the lighting while we were doing the build.

If you would like to come and have a look around the show house to see how the lighting has been approached and to get some ideas of your own, you’d be most welcome to visit. Contact me to arrange a visit.

Outside view of The Cat Lighting 'Show House'.

The Scotland on Sunday Review:

Head space, personal space, in fact any space at all has been at a premium recently.  Fortunately, the owners at Woodmill Arches take space very seriously and have designed a holiday home just for two with, wait for it…… SPACE!

Space in holiday homes for two doesn’t rate too high with many holiday companies although in reality, much as though most of us love and cherish our other halves we do like a bit of room to spread out too.  So, when Clare and Steven Wade decided to develop a former granary and mill site at their home in Lindores in Fife their initial design for a two-bed property was soon shelved.

“We offer stalking holidays (Woodmill Shootings) and we initially thought that we would turn the granary into overflow accommodation for our stalking guests.  Everyone told us to put in two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and we seriously considered it and then we thought no, we’re going to make one lovely, palatial bedroom and a really spacious and luxurious place to stay.”

With only three walls and the original arches to build upon, the project required vision and skill.  “It took us about 18 months.  Craftmanship takes a long time and the amount of steel that had to go in was just incredible.  However, we weren’t in a huge rush and obviously building in stone slowed down the process.  We worked with great local tradesmen and I think you can see that instantly in the quality of the build.  

Front view of arches in the dark with house lit up from inside.

“The layout did evolve.  And as I said we did consider making it two bedrooms with en suites and then changed it to one large bedroom with a separate bathroom.  We made the hall twice the size we’d originally intended because to start with we were going to retain the garden shed for bikes etc and then we decided we’d incorporate that into the hall.  It’s a really big space – five metres square.  There were also going to be internal walls around the sitting area but we decided to make it open plan and I think that was the right decision.”

The project also set in motion’s Clare’s career as a lighting designer.  “I looked at the Arches as an interior design project so I did everything from the colours, the carpets, the wallpaper, the furnishings, but when we got to the lighting aspect I thought this is me, this is what I want to do.”

For Clare, it isn’t simply about finding a cool light fitting, it’s about the light itself as she explains: “I’m very keen on the architectural side of lighting, less about choosing a lampshade and more about where you can put light – uplights, downlights, backlights so you see the light but not the light fitting.  So that’s what I really focused on.  Often when you go into a room and think this is lovely, it’s because of the light but you’re just not aware of it.”

That isn’t to say that Clare isn’t a fan of a funky light fixture; there are several statement pieces that make one look twice.  Such as the balloon in the bedroom corner.  It’s not a remnant of a romantic celebration, it’s a lamp.  “That one came from John Moncreiff in Kinross, it’s available in different colours.  I also really like our geometric lamp shades.  I’ve got different ones in each room, a triangle, a circle and a square.”

Lighting was also the main inspiration for the overall theme of the property as Clare explains: “They say in interior design that it can start from one thing.  I was at design exhibition in London and I came across this light switch called The Trendi Switch.  The one I saw was black with a long thin silver switch in the middle and those somehow defined the style that I wanted.  Simple but striking.  I’ve always liked Kelly Hoppen too; I know she’s been around a long time, but she has a very simple, clean style and whilst it wasn’t quite a Kelly Hoppen budget I was working to, it was her design principles.

Bathroom Lighting. Double sinks with lights on the wall.

Clare’s has achieved her principles by sticking to a strict colour scheme.  “Every room is black and white plus one other colour.  The hall is black and white with orange, the sitting area black and white and turquoise, the bathroom with pink, the bedroom dark green.  The carpet is a neutral beige and it runs right through the property.  It’s one of the things I like the most as we invested in the best quality underlay we could find and it’s so soft you really do feel like you bounce through the building.  Bizarre but true!”

More luxury touches have been built into the infrastructure like the 8-speaker bluetooth sound system.  “Our sons persuaded us to put that in.  I was sceptical but it was worth the expense.”

It’s the simple things in life that often provide the most joy and apparently lying on the huge turquoise velvet sofa with a bottle of rose is a great way to while away an afternoon.  “The original mill had an arched doorway which the carts would trundle through to the granary so when we took the mill down we obviously lost the arched doorway.  We decided to reinstate it as an arched window so it echoed the original architecture.  It makes the sitting area a real sun trap and it’s such a lovely place to sit.”

Sitting area with table light and spotlights in beams.

And, of course, like the rest of the building the sofa is generously sized so even if your other half does insist on sharing it, there is plenty of room for two.  “I think there are two things that our guests appreciate.  Firstly, the contrast between the exterior and interior – traditional rural to contemporary open plan and secondly the space.  It really is the size of a nice flat and people enjoy that.”

Woodmill Arches is available to let through coolstays.com and stayatwoodmill.co.uk