I had a great time on my first ever visit to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, as a performer in the RTO. Harmony House gardens were looking beautiful.
I’ve just come across the original plans for Peter Womersley’s Boilerhouse at Dingleton, Melrose. Copies were obtained by Gordon Duffy of Studio DuB architects at the point where he started work on the Listed Builidng consent and Planning Consent. These would have been hand-drawn in the early 1970s at Womersley’s beautiful office, just over the river Tweed from the Boilerhouse, in his expanded office at Gattonside.
After a good 10 years spent researching the work of Peter Womersley across the UK and in Hong Kong I am thrilled to say that I finally been lucky enough to visit High Sunderland, near Selkirk. One of the many joys of the visit was to spot a working model of its neighbouring Womersley building, the Klein Studio, as a scale model made in balsa wood. I would say that it is very unusual for this kind of model to have been preserved so well over this time, and it is just one sign of how much the client’s family cherish the collaboration between client and architect. A whole book awaits in fleshing out this theme…
I was thrilled to be asked to write an article on Peter Womersley’s house for the late textile designer, Bernat Klein, at High Sunderland. This piece was commissioned by Panel for their Inventors of Tradition II exhibition at the Palace of Art, Bellahouston Park where the work of Atelier EB was on show. Of course it was impossible not to write about the Klein Studio in the same breath, and this was the first Womersley building I ever saw, whilst rounding the corner of a quite Borders B-road one damp spring twilight. I loved it that people were actually reading my work, at an opening as well! It was fabulously illustrated with photomontages by Kim O’Neil, styled by Beca Lipscombe which did so much to set the scene.
Docomomo Scotland has picked up on the Womersley trail and sought out an article about the visionary Studio DuB project to give new life to the Boilerhouse, Melrose, see pages 36-38.
I’m just remembering what a joyful time we had at our friends’ wedding at Kippilaw House, just outside Melrose. It was a spectacular winter’s day which started with their wedding, in the open air, in amongst the stones of Melrose Abbey, and the party continued at the bohemian Kippilaw House, through a driveway which was an absolute forest of snowdrops. For those of us who partied late but did not sleep over at the giant house, we returned for a breakfast the next morning, made complete by wedding guests playing Edith Piaf songs on the living room piano.