Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Head to the Scottish countryside to learn the secrets of upcycling

With all of us trying to live more sustainable lifestyles these days, one brilliant way to reduce your carbon footprint is to find fun ways to re-use things you already own through the magic of upcycling.

Plenty of old furniture can be transformed into a gorgeous new piece with a bit of TLC, whether it’s as simple as a lick of new paint or a complete overhaul. You can learn all the tips and tricks of upcycling, with expert tuition on how to distress furniture for a shabby-chic look, and how to use stencils, gilding wax, soft furniture wax and varnish.

Staying at Gartmore House, a lovely country house with plenty of period features and lots of space, you’ll be surrounded by the spectacular Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. From the 100 acres of private grounds you can gaze out across an unspoilt landscape of woodland and tranquil waters, with the majestic outline of Stirling Castle in the distance.


Plus, you’ll be with a like-minded group of no more than 10 Country Living readers, with time to get to know each other over coffees and at mealtimes, when you’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked dishes celebrating the wonderful local produce.

What to expect from our upcycling retreat


After an evening of settling in to Gartmore House, and a welcome meeting with your tutor Rose Hall, where you can discuss your aims, your fun course begins.

Over four days of workshops running from 10am until 4pm – with plenty of breaks – you’ll learn a full range of upcycling techniques.

First, you’ll work on two pieces of upcycled wall art to practice decoupage and stencilling, and Rose will introduce you to antiquing, wax gilding, crackle glaze and varnishes.


Next you’ll move on to upcycling second-hand furniture, learning how to spot the right pieces, repair any damages and prep your piece for painting. Rose will help you plan the design and be on hand for one-on-one tuition, giving you tips on decorative details and helping you varnish your piece at the end of the course.

You’ll leave the Scottish countryside with a stunning piece of upcycled furniture – plus some funky wall art to put up back home!


Gartmore House is a grand 18th-century country home surrounded by 100 acres of lovely private grounds which you’ll be able to explore during your stay.

You’ll spend five nights in a plush ensuite room, individually decorated with traditional Scottish touches, and there's a mixture of single, twin, double, and multiple occupancy bedrooms available to suit all groups.


While there, you can wander through the gardens, relax and watch TV in the cosy Oak Room, and enjoy freshly prepared, wholesome meals of farm-to-table comfort food – with a selection of Scottish favourites made by the resident chefs using local produce.

You’ll also be treated to home baking during tea and coffee breaks, and can enjoy craft beers, gin, spirits and local whiskies from the bar.


Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is one of the most popular places in the whole UK for nature lovers thanks to its unspoilt scenery, peaceful atmosphere and spectacular views.


In summer, it’s a lush landscape of grassy meadows and the gleaming lochs, while in autumn the woodland scenery transforms into a rich blaze of gold, red and brown. Whenever you book your retreat, your surroundings are sure to inspire your artistic flair.

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