Travel radio presenter Stef Burgon and her husband, Creative Director Simon Hunt, were happily living the high life in the vibrant, multicultural world of Dubai when a Scottish road trip changed their lives forever. Whilst mulling the notion of a change of pace, fate decided to intervene when a remote piece of architectural heritage miraculously appeared for sale. Guided by optimism and a strong dose of impulsiveness, they placed their bid, held their breath… and found themselves King & Queen of their very own castle. www.kilmartincastle.com
Originally built in 1550 during the legendary reign of Mary Queen of Scots, Kilmartin held a rich and colourful history before being abandoned for nearly 200 years. Fast forward to today and the castle is now a magnificent blend of art, architecture and history, where past and present combine. The challenge when renovating this extraordinary landmark, was to ensure the narrative and rustic magic of Kilmartin was preserved. Each and every piece in this hotel has been lovingly selected to combine old and new and blend perfectly with the historic setting. Every effort has been made to renovate and run Kilmartin Castle as sustainably as possible. From eliminating single use plastics at the castle utilizing refillable handmade pots for Faith in Nature bath products, to the use of non-toxic paints, and changing seasonal breakfast menu featuring produce literally plucked from the organic veggie garden within the grounds. Down to the tiniest detail, intelligent and conscientious choices in craftsmanship and material have created a destination full of historical narrative and promise for the future.
Interview With Kilmartin Castle
What was the idea behind the interior design of the castle? Did you have a specific vision in mind?
Our interior idea from the start was always “rustic-luxe” and also really important for us was keeping it fun. We dislike serious interiors, especially in castles. Getting back to basics with original floors and stone walls, leaving them exposed and untreated.
Then intentionally having a juxtaposition of rustic and luxury together in everything we added, everywhere you look we always mix it together. Anything rustic will be set against something luxurious, and anything new will be blended with something vintage. For example; Luxurious fabrics against rustic patinated furniture frames. Vintage lighting against newly lime painted walls, new concrete sinks and taps set against rustic antique washstands and heavily foxed vintage mirrors.
It was also important to us that the castle aged gracefully (like we’re all trying to do!). So, when we considered the fixtures and fittings we chose quality items made from honest materials that will get better looking with age; natural pigment Kast concrete sinks, a mix of new and reclaimed encaustic tiles, all the metal fixings are non-lacquered finish so already starting to patinate and look amazingly castle-worthy. We’ve also used lime paints on our walls, which may even have been used at the time the castle was built in the 16th Century.
When it comes to ‘things’, we’ve been collecting pieces of furniture, artwork and random pieces that make us smile for a long time now. Our golden rule is to only spend on things we really love and will want to hang on to forever. It’s an eclectic mix from Ancient artefacts, to Edwardian & Jacobean pieces, right through to Italian mid-century retro.
What was it about this particular castle that made you fall in love?
Its authenticity. This castle has remained structurally unchanged over its lifetime and still feels straight from the 16th Century with its thick stone walls, arrow-slit windows, flagstone floors and low doorways.
Also, the size is perfect; it’s cosy and completely manageable as a small boutique hotel/home. Plus, the surrounds of Kilmartin Glen are a really interesting place to visit with loads of historical sites like standing stones, burial tombs, castles, forts, stone circles. It’s really got it all for an amazing Scottish experience!
How did you discover Industville lights?
We had never heard of IP rated lights (Fun fact for anyone reading this article; IP means Insulation Protected. In a wet area lights need to be waterproof, so they don’t electrocute anyone who touches them).
This was our first renovation project, and specific IP requirements were kind of sprung on us at the last minute. We did a lot of research and discovered that Industville is one of the only companies offering beautiful yet functional IP rated lights. Boy, are there some ugly, overpriced options out there!
How did Industville’s lighting help bring your interior together?
Industville’s IP lights rescued us from the terrible advice from our architect to put horrible white plastic IP downlights above all showers and baths! We hated that idea, so set about researching “cool IP rated lights” The selection of IP rated lights from Industville helped us make the romantically lit bath areas in the rooms that we had always imagined.
We wanted the copper baths to feel like pieces of art with gallery lighting above. So, the IP rated collections helped us get this level of cool right next to the bath and also in the showers.
What was it about Industville’s waterproof range that you loved?
We really loved the variety of lights in the collection and the different finishes. We like to intentionally mix metallics, a copper bath, with antique pewter taps, topped with a copper and black Industville light above is our perfect mix.
Indusville’s lights are very versatile, but how did you decide which lights to go into each room? How does each room differ in style?
All our rooms have the same rustic luxury feel with different re-claimed antique pieces everywhere. The versatility in the finishes helped us pull all these individual looks together.
Expert Advice from Industville on Hotel Lighting
Industville offer a huge range of stylish lighting solutions and their friendly team have a vast amount of experience working on commercial projects from small coffee shops to large hotels. Looking at lighting design as part of the bigger picture, they understand that interiors play a vital role in improving the customer experience and that lighting is an important consideration within this. With many factors to consider, Marketa Rypacek, MD, at Industville shares her expert advice;
Invest in Quality & Environment-Friendly Lighting
Your lighting should reflect your brand story and hence you will want to use lighting made from the highest quality materials. Not only will this enhance the overall atmosphere, it can improve perceptions of your brand, giving it individual flair. At Industville all of our lights are handcrafted from quality materials such as pure brass or copper. Investing in quality also means the lights will last longer and with energy consumption levels likely to be high in hotels, bars and restaurants, this is something to bear in mind. Industville bulbs utilise eco-friendly, cost-effective LED technology making them both practical and stylish.
Choose a Style that tells your brand story
From the moment guests walk through your door to the reception or entrance, they begin to notice various aspects that contribute towards shaping their all-important first impression; therefore, your choice of lighting can significantly affect the way they view your establishment. The key here is to maintain the brand concept of your hotel, bar or restaurant.
Lighting should be used to create a luxurious and welcoming feel, resulting in a place your customers will want to spend time in and return to. To achieve this, lighting should be approached in a layered manner. This ensures all the architectural and design features of the room are highlighted, from ceiling to floor. Embrace the whole range of lighting sources available from pendant lights, recessed lights and chandeliers, to track lighting, lamps and spot lighting. I advise customers to vary the lighting in a room to create little pockets and pools of light. Accent lighting can then be used to highlight a piece of artwork, plants or architectural features in the room.
At Industville, our exclusive finishes are available in an array of lighting options, making it easy to mix and match different lights to create a layered yet coordinated scheme throughout your space.
Ensure Outdoor Areas are Well-Lit
Don’t forget lighting for outdoor areas, where safety is a key factor. Try to match the style and identity of the lighting indoors, keeping the theme flowing from inside to out. Industville offer a great range of complementary outdoor lighting styles all of which carry the necessary IP65 rating.
Choose Custom Lighting to really stand out from the crowd
With our own manufacturing facilities, we offer a range of bespoke services to make your project really unique. Whether you want to create a dramatic installation in a hotel lobby to really wow your guests as they come in, or require specialist sizes and finishes, we look forward to creating the exact vision you desire.