There has always been a real magic surrounding Hill House, an architect's dream project. Every detail designed and built for purpose, interiors carefully created to complement the building style, funded by a family who loved the house dearly, and created by husband and wife team Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, a true labour of love.
The National Trust for Scotland exists to protect the national and natural treasures we all love, and with the Hill House Box project it truly is seeking to protect this iconic building from it's own misfortune.
" Mackintosh was a revolutionary designer, but the materials and techniques at the cutting edge of architectural design in 1900 haven’t withstood a century of the west of Scotland’s harsh, wet weather conditions.
The external render of the property has not proved watertight and the walls have gradually become saturated and are crumbling, with water now threatening the interiors."
So they have built it a 'box' to protect it, made from steel chain mail, you can now walk around the exterior of the house itself while the house remains protected from the elements and has a chance to effectively 'dry out' from all that Scottish wind and rain.
We used the new walkways to climb right to the top during our visit and it really gives the Hill House an almost ethereal feel. You are outside but also inside, behind the mesh. You are on top of a house, but yet it seems quite small from away up there, almost like a doll's house. The experience is one not to be missed throughout this 10 year phase of the project.
Being from the West Coast of Scotland, the Mackintosh style is one we were taught about in school, studied at college and were lucky enough to visit and see for ourselves in iconic buildings right here on our doorstep. When the National Trust for Scotland invited me to create a range inspired by this wonderful piece of history my design wheels quickly set in motion.
I focussed mainly on this wonderful light centrepiece which, to a designer features so many elements of traditional Mackintosh Style. The black lines, the symmetry, the nod to nature, the complimentary colours it was just perfect to be transformed into Bonnie Bling. I echoed the large circular wires it hangs from in my own jump rings that hang the necklace around the wearer.
Of course, I wasn't going to let Charles get all the credit though! This beautiful tapestry by his wife Margaret Macdonald has always captured my imagination. After working on some ideas in my sketchbook I then transformed this mysterious figure into a large statement brooch for the collection.
What an honour it has been to be entrusted with this project. The team at the National Trust for Scotland gave me creative free riegn to explore my own ideas turning this in to my own dream project.
The full range of brooches, necklaces and earrings are all available exclusively from the National Trust for Scotland at Hill House and should be online in the coming months if you can't make it along in person.
I would highly recommend making the trip to see the work on the Hill House Box and to experience what will become a historic moment in the building's story.
Here's to many more generations being spellbound by the Mackintosh and Macdonald magic.
To find out more about Hill House or other National Trust for Scotland properties please visit their website here.