Wood & Wool in Ballater in the heart of Royal Deeside is run by husband and wife Julie and Alan McIntosh, who have transformed a former toy shop into a beautiful showcase for their work, each bringing their own expertise.
Alan is the wood expert. He says, ‘For me it all starts with the tree. Whatever the species, the difference in character in each tree is the real start of the journey and it’s always exciting when you finally cut it open to reveal the hidden beauty which you will be the first to see. My idea of a true wooden item is to try to leave as much of the unique character of each – tree knots, shakes in the wood, even the unusual patterns made by fungi all contribute to something very special. To complement the natural beauty of the wood I like to combine other materials such as glass, steel, stone and, of course, wool into my designs.’
Julie is driven by her love of colour, texture and fabric. In quilting, for example, one of many age-old crafts, she combines old and new techniques to create beautiful home furnishings guided by the seasonal changes of the surrounding countryside, with the ever-changing light and colours of the landscape a constant source of inspiration. Their new interior design gallery has bespoke furniture, soft furnishings, artwork and smaller accessories.