Malcolm Menzies is a supremely talented interior, food and lifestyle photographer. And along with his lovely wife Fi, Malcolm owns the gorgeous and recently renovated Sixteen Country House and Cottage.
We caught up with Malcolm to learn more about the history and renovations at the Edwardian property and what makes it a perfect shoot location.
It was built in 1909 in a Queen Anne style. These images show it during construction and the finished house with a classic car parked outside in later years.
Previous owners included two racehorse breeders, and just before us, the owners were a lovely family who lovingly transformed the garden during their 23 years here.
We were looking for a house which had yet to be renovated but wasn’t a complete wreck, and this house was in the perfect condition for us. It was a nice place to live in, while we transformed it into our dream location house.
We were looking for a property that had the opportunity to create a fantastic location house. It was perfect with its good room sizes, ample space, and beautiful gardens with a large pond and parking. It even came with a cottage we use for both Airbnb and additional shoot space.
It certainly was. But it was more of ‘wouldn’t this be amazing but it’s way out of budget’!. After much thought and more borrowing, we were able to get it.
The renovation took two years to complete and was incredibly stressful. Our first builder let us down, delaying us a year!
We had a vision for most of the rooms, but some evolved as we renovated. Throughout the project, Fi and I got stuck in and did various labouring and painting. In general, I’d come up with the interior ideas and Fi would give them the stamp of approval (or not!) and manage the finances, admin and keeping everything on track. Splitting the project that way played to our strengths and was the perfect division of labour.
We have a dedicated field for parking which shoot crews appreciate. It means they aren’t limited on the size of their team or the amount of stuff they can bring!
We also designed the kitchen island to be on wheels to maximise the versatility of the spaces. It can be moved around or out of the way completely.
Another element of any good shoot space is the background, and we know panelled walls are always popular. So we ensured they feature in the design throughout the house and cottage. They are great for creating different looks throughout the house. The large white panelled lounge and the plaster bedrooms are proving the most popular with design teams.
Every room is different, gives great options for shoots and has its unique triumph. To highlight a few of our favourites:
Do proper paint tests before painting a whole room – we have repainted so many rooms!
There were lots of companies who were very kind and gave discounts on gorgeous products.
We have made the running of location houses our business, and the small, dedicated team at Light locations is perfect at managing and getting the right shoots booked. What’s not to like!
….. the simple things in life, such as making pancakes and playing on the swings in the garden. We also love a good family splash in the pool. We are so lucky with the light here; it’s incredible. So watching the sun set over the back of the garden is the perfect way to end any day.
….all of the year has its moments – late spring when the blossom takes over the garden; summer when the pool is open, and we are jumping in; autumn when the leaves fall, and the garden turns all beautiful colours; winter when it snows, and the house transforms into a winter wonderland.
….The Whale. The acting is brilliant and the story very sad.
….steaks and bread. There are so many fantastic farm shops around this area – the choices are amazing, and the quality is perfect.
….continuing to see shoots come through the doors. We’d love to have a movie or series filmed here. Beyond work, I’m looking forward to holidays and returning to the isle of Iona in Scotland.