THE TOWER OF LOVE; Lord Steel's son and daughter-in-law bought award-winning historic building from the former MP and have given it a stunning contemporary makeover.
When the Steel family decided to renovate a derelict old tower being used as a cow shed, they knew it would be a massive task.
But now, after over four years of hard work, Aikwood Tower, near Selkirk, which was built in the 1540s, is stunningly completed.
The unique luxury home sits in a prominent position guarding the entrance to the Ettrick valley and is set among some of the most beautiful Borders countryside in the heart of the Ettrick Forest.
Lord Steel of Aikwood, a former MP for the Borders, and his wife Judy restored it using local Selkirk craftsmen in 1992. The restoration has won five architectural awards.
David's son Rory and his wife Vicki Steel bought Aikwood Tower in 2011 and have now upgraded the inside to create a contemporary and stylish look.
Mum–of–two Vicki said: "David and Judy bought it and he did all the original renovation. They could see it had huge potential. They knocked down walls and ripped out everything. There was a lot of structural work as they wanted it more open–plan.
"It has been a huge labour of love and it has a very special place in all our hearts. We wanted to keep it in the family so we when they decided to sell it, we bought it."
Rory added: "I have always loved Aikwood Tower. Buying it seemed like the right thing to do. I have so many memories here. It's incredible to think the tower was previously used by the farmers for storing grain and as a cow shed. We are delighted with the finished work.
"We wanted to make it a bit more contemporary – less intimidating and a softer look. Our aim was to make it strikingly different from any other castles or towers. When you think of castles in Scotland, you automatically think of stags' heads and tartans. We wanted to avoid this. We used fabrics from the local mills. This added character and style."
Today, the tower is full of understated luxury and has been carefully decorated to fit with the historic building. There are also quirky features adding to its uniqueness, such as the vaulted stone ceilings, original oak doors, vast stone fireplaces and the left–turning spiral staircase forming the backbone of the tower.
Vicki added: "We worked closely with Edinburgh–based interior designer Lisa Gordon Scott, who advised on all the colours and furniture to bring it up to a five–star standard.
"We also worked with local suppliers – we wanted to keep it Scottish and celebrate local work. It's simple and indulgent with lots of gorgeous tweeds.
"We added some luxury such as the beds, from Sweden. We went there on holiday and the hotel was also a bed shop. The beds are utterly amazing – they are the best beds ever. They sell them in Harrods so we decided to get them for the tower. We rent out the tower as we also want people to enjoy the building. Sitting by the fire having a good whisky is magical. The tower is full of atmosphere.
"In the room right at the top, there is what is known as the Wizard Room. We have filled it with beautiful sheepskin rugs as we wanted it to be warm and comfortable.
"It is such a special place. When you stay here you really feel like you are somewhere different.
"Our two children have been christened in the tower. We have so many fond memories here. No matter the time of year, it's always amazing and the scenery is beautiful."
| For more details, visit www.crabtreeandcrabtree.com/Aikwood_ Tower–propertyid:39375
'WE KEPT IT SCOTTISH ..WITHOUT THE STAGS' HEADS OR TARTAN'
DREAM ROOM The tower's beautiful Buccleuch bedroom
ROLL CALL Bathroom combines luxury and comfort
FEAST YOUR EYES Ground floor kitchen/dining area with oak burr table
JUST WIZARD The amazing attic bedroom
FIRST–TIMEBYRE Vicki outside the converted cowshed
BURNING DESIRE Vicki Steel relaxes in the great hall with roaring fire and luxurious furnishings