This one’s a keeper – Scotland on Sunday
WORDS Nichola Hunter
WILLIAM Frame readily admits that he doesn’t get attached to properties. Nicknamed the Boy Scout in his early property career, he moves every 18 months to two years and properties are regarded as “works in progress” and are either developed and added to his rental portfolio, or renovated and sold. So Gamefield, his family’s holiday home on the Ochtertyre Estate near Crieff, is a departure for him. He bought the house in 1998 and he and his family which includes his wife Wendy, daughters Amber (15), India (10) and sons Archie (13) and Sam (8) are all still using and enjoying it. “I’m not usually very attached to where I live,” William says, “it’s always about the project and the learning curve – I enjoy renovating or building. Even our family home at the moment is one we’re looking at renovating and we’re just waiting for the plans to come through.” However, Gamefield has been a longer term project. Says William: “It was a 1960s monstrosity when I bought it in 1998 and it took a couple of years to get planning permission as I wanted to knock it down and build anew and this is a conservation area in the countryside. Architect James Denholm from The Denholm Partnership and I worked together on the plans and it was a house designed for the site. Gamefield maximises the views, the light and, when it appears, the sunshine.”
The build started in January 2001 and finished in April 2002. Inspired by his travels to New Zealand, Canada and Australia, William wanted to create a house that embraced outdoor living. “I was in New Zealand in 2001 and there are lots of new-builds there and I was very aware that they really take their site into account when they’re designing a house. They have a lot of hilly locations but they’ll build into the hillside to maximise the view and they pay attention to where the light and the sun will be. Their climate is quite similar to Scotland and they have very changeable weather but they still create great outdoor spaces which can be used all year round and in any weather. “This is what I’ve tried to do with Gamefield. We maximise the light from morning until night and all year round too.
William wanted to create a house that embraced outdoor living
James suggested subtle architectural features like the low window sills as well as the dramatic double height glazing, and they help with the light and add to the character. The outdoor seating area is semicovered so you can sit out on a rainy day if it’s warm or a December morning if it’s sunny because the winter sun is low.” Adding a wood-burning stove in the summer house, drinks fridge, loungers, barbecue and hot tub also makes sure that fun can be had all year round. Work on the interior has centred on creating a flexible and welcoming entertaining space. Interior designers Adams & Adams and Fiona Rodger were brought on board to furnish the space and have contributed a mix of bespoke and modern statement pieces from design houses such as Julian Chichester, Clockhouse and Porta Romana. On the fabric front, Mulberry throws and curtains by Designers Guild add texture and warmth. The muted walls are adorned with eclectic works from contemporary Scottish artists and Anta tweed covers the classic, serpentine staircase.
The kitchen was built and hand painted by local company Monzie Joinery, while roaring log fires and the obligatory Aga allow for entertaining on a grand scale especially during the winter months. Even dogs have been thought of – there are outdoor kennels and they’re allowed in the house too. “Gamefield has been built to suit the rental market,” says William. “Although with four children, the five spacious bedrooms and five bathrooms [four en suite] don’t really go wrong. Gamefield is quite simply designed for entertaining. The dining table seats 12, there’s a separate family room, a formal dining room and an open plan kitchen/ dining space. So there’s plenty of room for everyone to coexist happily indoors and out. The kids can be watching TV in one room and Wendy and I can be reading a book in another. We also have the Indie House – a separate two bedroom, self-catering cottage in the grounds if we do need a bit more space. “In the end it was Wendy who suggested we keep Gamefield for ourselves and use it as our holiday lettings business and it’s worked really well for us.”