Arran’s Big Wooden House

Greyholme on Arran - Exterior

Greyholme on Arran owner Joni Keen, photo by Eve Conroy

Who: Joni Keen, 58, works as a Jazz Singer. She lives in the property with her greyhound Juno.

What: Greyholme is a listed building on the Historic Scotland register, built in 1938.

Where: Brodick, Isle of Arran

Although I purchased this house in 2005, it has played a huge part of my life. When I was a child my best friend’s parents owned and lived in this house, so I spent my childhood playing here. They were a wealthy family with an array of staff, but also very humble and loving. I never in a million years thought I would end up owning this house.

Greyholme on the Isle of Arran, Exterior, Picture by Eve Conroy

The house a has great history to it and is significant to Arran. It was designed and built in 1938 by William Gibson, OBE. The staircase carvings were created by the woodworker Claude Gill, he used reclaimed oak from the 1922 Waterloo Bridge on the river Thames. The outer cladding is elm and the window frames are cedar.

Greyholme on the Isle of Arran, Living Room, Picture by Eve Conroy

Although there were no real décor requirements when I moved in, I did have my work cut out for me. I had to reinstate the kitchen and hall to their former glory as the building had been altered without consent. The walls had been taken down to give an open-plan feel to the kitchen, which made it a very cold area and really didn’t work. So whilst it was a huge amount of work to put the walls back up and re-jig the kitchen, I am glad we did it as it’s now back to the way it should be and the kitchen is such a lovely cosy room, with the Aga and underfloor heating I installed.

Greyholme on the Isle of Arran, Bedroom, Picture by Eve Conroy

The kitchen is probably one of my favourite rooms in the house. I love to cook, it has such a warm feeling in here especially over the winter months, it’s like the heart of the house.

Greyholme on the Isle of Arran, Exterior detail, Picture by Eve Conroy

All the verandas around the house had to be redone too as they had all started to rot, and they are really a big part of the house. We actually used rhododendron branches from the garden for the refurbishment and it looks amazing, and of course it’s also now usable!

Greyholme on the Isle of Arran, bathroom, Picture by Eve Conroy

I let the property speak for itself when it comes to styling. The windows are such a feature I really don’t want to take away from that and the stairway is just beautiful. It’s such a statement in the house and it is also home to my favourite piece and probably biggest splash out, which is my David Siller painting, I just love it. My prized possession in the house is the pencil drawings my mother-in-law drew of my children. If there was ever a fire these would absolutely be what I would save!

Greyholme on the Isle of Arran, Living Room, Picture by Eve Conroy

I couldn’t live without my cushions and candles and my fresh cut flowers from the garden. We have a very talented interiors lady on the island, Janelle who owns the Curtain Shop, Lamlash, I love all her cushions and soft furnishings. She made all my window dressings.

I love the red in the dining room, from outside in the evening while I walk Juno, and the house is all lit up, this room gives out a lovely glow it’s just beautiful. Rusty autumn colours are my thing, I’m not much of a pinks, greens or blues fan and the 1930’s is my era, which is probably why I love this house so much. Autumn in Arran has to be the best season for me. I think it’s because the busyness of summer in Arran is over. It quietens down, everyone seems to breathe again, locals socialise more, the weather in September is generally lovely and the walks are breathtaking.

Photos by Eve Conroy, words by Robyn Lang-Shankland, twitter @rlsinteriors.

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Eve Conroy

I'm No.1's inhouse photographer and work on everything from snapping and styling fashion shoots to photographing Scotland's most beautiful homes. I also look after our events section and the No.1 social media channels. Get in touch: