Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Most Perfect Small Estate in Scotland

From House and Garden:

Inchyra House is a beautiful Regency mansion overlooking the Ochil Hills outside Perth. I am sitting in the kitchen with Caroline Inchyra, her husband James, and her brother Tim. It is this enterprising trio whose energy is behind the renovation of the Byre, a magnificent farm building on the Inchyra estate, and the setting for some of the most romantic weddings in Scotland. It is also the location for the Inchyra Arts Club, which is rapidly gathering a reputation as a venue for music, comedy and theatre. The final third of the Inchyra enterprises is made up by Inchyra Designs, a range of uniquely aged linen that Caroline and James began producing before the Byre and Arts Club were born in 2014.

It was in the Fifties that James's grandfather, Frederick Hoyer Millar, bought Inchyra, then described in Country Life as, 'the most perfect small estate in Scotland'. Following a distinguished diplomatic career that included being in charge of the British Sector of Germany after the Second World War, and later in the Foreign Office, he was awarded one of the last hereditary peerages. He took the name of Inchyra for his peerage. After he retired, he set about improving the estate, planting thousands of trees andestablishing parterre gardens, and playing host to politicians including Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden.

The estate was passed over to James in 2001 and, a year later, he, Caroline and their three children left London, where James was working as the finance director for a record company, and moved to Scotland. In 2010, Caroline's brother Tim, his wife Belinda, and their young children moved from Somerset to live on the estate, too. Tim, who had previously worked for the Countryside Alliance, became the estate manager. He is, according to Caroline, 'essential to the running of the place, often going for weeks without leaving. He's also a dab hand with a power tool'.

Today, Inchyra is a family home with a collection of horses, ponies and deerhounds that has grown relentlessly over the years. But it is a far cry from the days when, as Caroline says, 'it was assumed that there would always be staff in the house to open the front door for you, so there was no keyhole on the outside'.

Never one to stand still for long, Caroline had set up an antiques business in 2005, which over the next few years fuelled one of her abiding passions. 'I have always particularly loved old fabrics and I became obsessed with the idea of recreating the look and feel of old linens.' A fortuitous meeting with Angus Nicol, the managing director of Peter Greig & Co in Kirkcaldy, the last major linen mill in Britain, gave her the 'in' she needed. Working with printers in Cheshire and finish-ers in Lancashire, Caroline has developed a range of uniquely aged fabrics that sit perfectly in period properties. It was named Inchyra Designs, and the first range was shown at Decorex in 2011. (Read more.)


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