When Stef Burgon and Simon Hunt decided to transform a 16th century castle in Scotland into a luxury B&B, ensuring the interior décor was sympathetic to the building’s history as well as suitable for design-savvy guests seeking style and comfort was essential.
When we found out they’d chosen Bert & May’s reclaimed tiles to help achieve this, we were thrilled – not just because we love to see these special finds repurposed in stunning settings, but also thanks to the parallels between Stef and Simon’s story and our own…
The idea for Bert & May first came about when our founder, Lee Thornley, was building a boutique hotel in Spain and fell in love with the antique tiles he salvaged during the process. Our entire business was built around his desire to share these reclaimed finds, so to see them used in a similar project, by a couple who are just as passionate about heritage and authenticity as we are, is fantastic.
It’s also lovely to know that these irreplaceable items are in safe hands and set to be appreciated by hundreds of guests at the castle for years to come. Here, Stef and Simon tell us why they were the perfect fit…
Names: Stef Burgon and Simon Hunt
Occupation: Owners of Scotland's hippest castle stay, Kilmartin Caste
Style and location of the property: A two-hour drive west from Glasgow, Kilmartin Castle – which was built in 1550 – has an exceptional location in Kilmartin Glen, which has been hailed as Britain's answer to Egypt's Valley of Kings.
When we were renovating the castle, we wanted to ensure that its rustic charm remained intact, so we used carefully curated antique furnishings, modern pieces, and original artworks throughout.
How did you end up opening a B&B in a castle?
While we were living in Dubai together, we spent a couple of weeks on holiday in Scotland and completely fell in love with it. It's hard not to! When we returned to Dubai, we saw an advert showing Kilmartin Castle for sale. We called the agent to enquire and then called a mortgage advisor to ask if borrowing would be possible...
So, was your vision clear from the start?
Initially, we were just kind of kicking the ball down the road but the further we got, the more we thought, "we could do this". We didn't plan to turn the castle into a luxury B&B at that stage, but knew we wanted it to be a part of our future.
How long did the project take?
After completing on the castle in 2015 it took us until 2019 to make the move to Scotland and begin the renovation. We opened as a luxury B&B in October 2019, and we also offer guests the opportunity to book the entire castle for exclusive use.
Which Bert & May products did you use in the renovation?
We used several different reclaimed tile designs. As soon as we saw Bert & May's reclaimed tiles, we knew we wanted to use them. We were searching for products and materials that would age gracefully alongside the castle and wanted good quality that would last. We didn't want to do a 'trendy' renovation that would need to be redone in five years’ time. Reclaimed encaustic tiles are timeless and were the perfect fit for the castle.
What do you think they add to the space?
They add texture, colour, and their own history to our space. They're perfect, and our guests always comment on them.
What led you to use Bert & May?
We liked Bert & May's story! The pain of the search for good-quality products that Lee experienced during the build of his boutique hotel in Spain - we felt like we were facing the very same challenge in Scotland. I'm from Newcastle upon Tyne so it felt great to support a good company in the North too.