In 1923 Coco Chanel met the Duke of Westminster – at the time the wealthiest man in Britain – and the two began a love affair that lasted for most of the remainder of the 1920s. Coco Chanel took time between fittings and collections to visit her lover at the Duke’s vast array of estates. In 1926, he purchased Rosehall Mansion and he let Coco Chanel decorate it to her taste. Two years later, as the relationship was cooling the Duke of Westminster sold Rosehall and since then, has had successive owners and has fallen into disuse and disrepair over the last sixty years. Now, architect firm Bell Ingram has been hired to resuscitate Rosehall’s prior grandeur and transform it into a boutique hotel.
The director of the project, Iain Cram said his challenge was to meet the requirements of the Highland Council while still trying to “preserve and reinstate the Chanel influence.” Because Rosehall is the only property outside continental Europe with interiors designed by Coco Chanel (and reportedly the home of Scotland’s first bidet), Rosehall is a treasure in Coco Chanel history. Though Rosehall has seen better days, a template of sorts remains in the way of Coco Chanel’s designs including remnants of deep beige wallpaper, hand-painted French wallpaper and even a green color scheme used for the cloakroom – all of these remaining details will help guide the design process.
However while it will be impossible to save all the features, we have a real chance to restore this cultural gem to something like its former glory. Our aim is to work very closely with planners to try to utilise every possible remaining feature of the building to ensure its conservation, as well as preserving the influence of Chanel as far as possible…We don’t know what the final interior design will look like, but we do know that it will have a strong nod to the 1920’s era and the time when Coco Chanel lived there.
I’m glad that Rosehall will be revived to its former glory and I hope the designers do stay true to Coco Chanel’s aesthetic. One of my dreams is to put together a “Coco Chanel” tour and visit or stay in the places she stayed. I hope one day that includes Rosehall Mansion.
To see more wonderful photos of what remains of Rosheall mansion, please visit this Rosehall House – Coco Chanel Interiors Photo Stream by Dazzababes. All photos of Rosehall in this post are from this photo stream.