Tolsta croft house named home of the year 2022

A renovated traditional croft house in Tolsta, Lewis, has been crowned Scotland’s Home of the Year in the finale of the BBC Scotland series.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 11:27 am
Artist Tom Hickman took 15 years to restore the traditional croft house.
Artist Tom Hickman took 15 years to restore the traditional croft house.

Home to artist Tom Hickman, it is described as “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 it to its former glory as well as adding his own distinctive style.

The restored croft house 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 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 which was filmed in the inspirational surroundings of Glasgow’s House For An Art Lover.

Homeowner Tom Hickman is thrilled to have won.

“Well I have to admit it does bring an unexpected smile - winning is not something I’m used to,” admits Tom. “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.”

Tom took over 15 years to restore New Tolsta.

“Labours of love are in themselves worthwhile as can be seen with my embroidery," he said. “I certainly didn’t at any time imagine I would be entering a competition and even less to be winning anything.

"My labours, if you can call them that, gave me great satisfaction in getting ever closer to a point of comfort. If I still had the strength I’d love to do it all over again but maintenance work will always be required. For now though, I need to muster all my strength for the annual peat cutting season.”

Judge and interior designer, Anna Campbell Jones said: “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 added: “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”

Scotland’s Home Of The Year is available to view on BBC iPlayer.