Dunbar, a coastal town about 30 miles east of Edinburgh, Scotland, attracts a certain type of person. On most days you’ll find villagers fishing, cycling, bird watching and exploring every nook and cranny of the 650-year-old town’s craggy coastline. Overall, it’s a place special to those with a penchant for history and an innate longing for adventure.
One couple who’s smitten with Dunbar is rug designer Wendy Morrison and her husband Gregor. While the pair obviously adores the area because of its aforementioned attributes, it’s particularly special to them because of its deep connection to their own family history. See, it was in Dunbar that the couple raised their two children and spent their first few years as new parents in the early 2000s. It was an exciting time, and the start of a new life.
After a couple years living in France, in 2016 the Morrisons anxiously moved back to the seaside town and into a 200-year-old house. While gorgeous, surprisingly it wasn’t what was inside the farmhouse that Gregor and Wendy fell in love with initially. Instead, its location and grounds caught their eye. Not only does the Georgian-style property boast a beautiful garden, but it sits near the train line to London, is equidistant from Edinburgh and Newcastle and is near the beach. All in all, Gregor and Wendy knew from day one that its whereabouts would gift their family with the perfect blend of both cosmopolitan and country living.
The family initially rented the home for a year before buying it, meaning they weren’t able to make any major design decisions during their first days there. As we all know, renting can be quite restrictive decor-wise, but it actually ended up being a blessing in disguise for the design-centric Morrisons. Instead of jumping in and making potentially-rash decisions about its look, they spent the first year paying attention to how they used the space, what layouts worked best and getting a feel for all the ways the house fit into their lives.
Since Wendy’s family and career are her two greatest passions, it’s not surprising that the two got top billing when she and Gregor bought the house last year and started decorating it to their liking. Firstly, Wendy chose colors and accessories that complement her rugs so as to let them be the hero. Their ornate designs make such a statement, Wendy knew pairing them with too many contrasting finds would dilute their impact. Secondly, she thought back to all she’d learned about how her family used the house, which rooms got the best light throughout the day and to which spaces her children and husband naturally gravitated. Essentially, she let the family’s history with the home be her guide. Together, the dual north star has resulted in a house perfectly fit for family life and showing off her work. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Douglas Gibb
Image above: Chinese symbolism inspires much of Wendy’s work. Her rug in the living room, for example, is titled “Good Fortune” and features cranes, a dragon, a phoenix and the color red. All four represent longevity and happiness in Chinese philosophy.
Paint – Valspar “Secluded Cove”
Bed – Loaf
Duvet cover – Wendy Morrison for John Lewis
Chest – Homesense
Swan lampshade – Anthropologie
Bird prints, chair – vintage
Fan – Madame Butterfly
Peacock pillow – May Rose Vintage
Rug – Wendy Morrison Design
Chinoiserie vase – Lovage & Lace
Sheepskin – Kate Learmonth
Wallpaper – Harlequin
Paint – Dulux “Rose Trellis”
Rug – Wendy Morrison Design
Swan head, floral prints – Hilary & Flo
Floral wall hanging – Tin Design
Mirror – Drum Farm Antiques
Chair – Homesense