For our Humble Abode feature, TV presenter and interior design John Amabile – who owns Amabile Design – invites us into his newly-renovated detached house in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, which he shares with partner Steve Gormley.
Here, he chats to us about each room, his favourite things, and how he has lovingly transformed this property….
John says: ‘Contemporary Scottish aspects play a big part in my interior decor’
‘After living in the west end for many years, we decided that we wanted a garden space. And we all know the natural progression from the west end is to head north! We settled in Milngavie 13 years ago.
The house had one previous owner who designed and built the house himself back in 1967. He was a naval architect and there was certainly a lot of maritime features going on – our kitchen used to be the children’s room in the style of ship bunks! I could see it’s full potential, so the project commenced and we now love the space we’ve made.
The first thing we did was remove internal walls to give us more of an open-plan living style. We have extended up and out, re-sited the kitchen, added bathrooms including our downstairs ‘disco’ toilet, and we have some ongoing exterior landscaping to make the home flow and work for our needs.
With summer being my favourite season, the exterior is just as important to us. We installed some Bi Fold Express sliding doors to really let the outside, inside. We have carefully decked areas around the house to maximise the sunlight, as the sun moves so do we!
Travel is very important to us and has had a great influence on my designs throughout the house. One of my favourite rooms that came together so easily is our Cambodian styled spare bedroom. This was by far my most favourite holiday we have ever taken. The Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia was breathtaking. The detailing in its carvings and the sparkling water particles in the air are reflective in the wallpaper I chose. I’ve used lots of textures in the room along with a porcupine twill mirror, which all lends itself to the Cambodian theme.
Although travel is influential in my interior decor, contemporary Scottish aspects play a big part too. My favourite room in the house being my tartan TV room. We spend most of our time here relaxing. We like to call it our snug as it has a real cosy and warming feel. It also houses one of my most favourite pieces in the house, my antler chandelier! You can’t get more Scottish!
I’m a big fan of Art Deco, I’d love to go back in time to this era, it’s so elegant and I love the bold geometric designs. I have a few pieces around the house, a couple of Eileen Gray style tables in particular, which my mum bought me for Christmas many years ago. They have been brought out in every house and used in a variety of ways – bedside tables, side tables.
I couldn’t live without my cushions, I love them and I’m always changing them. I think for summer I’ll change them up and perhaps the rug in the bar lounging area too for some Missoni, zig-zags to uplift the space. My favourite designers are Missoni and Armani, but I do mix it up with high street pieces. I love using warmer tones – greys, blacks and browns with heavy textured fabrics like velvets.
I decided to splash out on a bar, which we designed and made ourselves with the help from tradesmen. We installed two kitchen cabinets and a fridge, we had it all cladded in the same stone we have on our hall walls and fireplace wall, which ties it all in. It also houses one of my best budget buys too, which are my crystal decanters from a charity shop. I love a bargain and when I’m on the road I have a wee look in charity shops – I’ve been lucky enough to pick up some great pieces!’