Multi-million pound castle project shortlisted for award

Multi-million pound castle project shortlisted for award

North East interior designer Melanie Brown has been shortlisted in the prestigious Northern Design Awards for her landmark restoration of Scotland's Borthwick castle.

Melanie, founder of Sunderland-based Design Direction, is shortlisted in the Hotel Interior Design category for her multi-million pound revamp of the 15th century castle, which for a short time was home to Mary Queen of Scots.

Melanie dedicated 18 months to the restoration, creating a 10-bedroom luxury retreat available for private hire.

She managed the interior design, project management and all procurement during the project and worked alongside Historic Scotland to create an exclusive luxury destination which combines the castle’s newly revealed historic grandeur with the finest in contemporary luxury.

Melanie said: "This was a highly complex, multi-million pound refurbishment brought in on time and on budget, despite the inevitable challenges of creating a high-end luxury finish within a medieval setting.

"The castle presented a raft of logistical problems, not least in moving furniture and fittings into a 15th Century castle with only spiral staircases. We had to hoist furniture in through balcony windows and a bed in Mary Queen of Scots’ bedroom was a jigsaw puzzle of 18 pieces.

"Despite the challenges, there were no compromises; we simply found a way around problems, so it’s thrilling to have the project recognised in such a significant way by the Northern Design Awards judges."

Melanie, who founded Design Direction in 1999, added: "I poured a lot of love, care and attention into this project and it’s wonderful that all that work is receiving fantastic feedback from the castle’s owners and guests, from discerning critics and the Northern Design Awards."

Melanie is now working on further refurbishment at the castle, including its outer buildings, riverbanks and listed walled garden.

The Northern Design Awards are at the Royal Armouries and New Dock Hall, Leeds on November 11.