New Tolsta – a traditional, early 20th century croft house in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis – has been crowned the winner of 2022’s Scotland’s Home of the Year in the finale of the popular BBC Scotland series.
Home to artist Tom Hickman, New Tolsta is a truly unique home filled with Tom’s artwork, mixed with traditional pieces of furniture. After being uninhabited for 37 years, Tom bought New Tolsta in 2006 and, since then, has painstakingly restored the croft house to its former glory as well as adding his own distinctive style throughout.
The restored croft house on the north east coast of the Isle of Lewis, follows a traditional two-up, two-down layout, boasting a beautiful kitchen, living room and bathroom on the ground floor with two bedrooms upstairs.
Unanimously crowned the winner of Scotland’s Home of the Year 2022 in the hour-long finale by all three judges – lifestyle blogger Kate Spiers, interior designer Anna Campbell-Jones and architect and lecturer Michael Angus – New Tolsta reduced Anna and Michael to tears during the final selection in the inspirational surroundings of Glasgow’s House For An Art Lover.
Homeowner Tom Hickman, who is thrilled New Tolsta won the coveted title, said: “Well I have to admit it does bring an unexpected smile – winning is not something I’m used to. I’m certainly surprised, but way down deep somewhere there is a little voice saying ‘At last!’ As artists, we are all our own worst critics, so yes, it’s nice to receive praise.
“I was fascinated to firstly see Anna, Michael and Kate’s nicely understated reaction to the exterior, and they did well to not judge the book by its cover. It was strange not being able to welcome them, but now I see I needn’t have worried as my home did that for me.
“I’d like to extend an open invitation to them all, should they wish to take a second look and hear some of the stories behind the objects and fabric of my home.”
New Tolsta beat off stiff competition from eight other finalists from across Scotland including homes in Fort William, Kippen, Kirkwall, Hawick, Edinburgh, Elsrickle, Helensburgh and Fife.
SHOTY Judge and interior designer, Anna Campbell Jones congratulated New Tolsta on winning the prestigious title: “We are always looking for individual homes filled with the expression of the homeowner’s personality and taste – and of course love. I don’t think we have ever seen such an exceptional example of a home meeting these criteria. The overwhelming sense of the person who lives there communicated via the cornucopia of his incredible creations, from the painted floors, to the embroidery to the artwork on the walls, all by his own hand – what a genius!”
Lifestyle blogger, Kate Spiers, said: “I think New Tolsta just packed in so much of what we all look for in a home. I know for me, I look for a home that feels true to the homeowner and you could tell that so much love and care had gone in to every inch of the place. Plus, it had a commitment to being authentically eco-conscious – everything in the home had been repurposed, upcycled, thrifted or rehomed. It was inspiring to see! I think New Tolsta has to be seen to be believed! It really stood out in the show because it really had its own atmosphere – it didn’t conform to trends or a certain aesthetic, but somehow it was still this beautiful, timeless home which captured the personality of the homeowner.”
Architect and lecturer Michael Angus added: “If home is a marriage of inhabitant and property, what stood out about New Tolsta was how special that relationship was, how perfectly suited both appeared, both infusing the other creatively and spiritually. It wasn’t the building nor the setting which made New Tolsta unique, despite each being remarkable in their own way. Rather it was the rejuvenated spirit blossoming so vibrantly within, serving to establish an unforeseen future for a building doubtless deemed condemned. What worse fate for a building, than uselessness? And what better than having fresh possibilities revealed?”
Anna, Kate and Michael’s search for Scotland’s Home Of The Year took them the length and breadth of the country, visiting 27 exceptional homes, showcasing a vast range of home styles including cosy little homes to grand conversions, stunning self-builds to breath-taking renovations, quirky conversions and environmentally friendly houses.
The nine Scotland’s Home of the Year 2022 finalists were:
- Lorne Cottage, Fort William (Ep1, The Highlands)
- Ostro Passive House, Kippen (Ep2, Central)
- The Pastel House, Kirkwall, Orkney (Ep3, Orkney & Shetland)
- Firestation House, Hawick (Ep4, Borders & The South)
- New Tolsta, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (Ep5, Hebrides)
- The Victorian Terrace, Edinburgh (Ep6, The Lothians)
- Pentland View, Elsrickle (Ep7, Glasgow & The Clyde Valley)
- Rhu Boathouse, Rhu, Helensburgh (Ep8, The West)
- The Old Waterworks, Fife (Ep9, The East)
A fifth series of the show, made by IWC Media (a Banijay UK company), begins filming later this month.