Inside Borthwick Castle

Located in Scotland, Borthwick Castle is one of the finest and best preserved 15th century keeps – and, over the course of its long history, it has seen its fair share of hard winters! We think we can all agree the temperature is dropping as the holidays fast approach, and we love reminiscing about this fabulous place and dreaming of cosying up by the fire on a comfortable sofa.

Nearly 100 years after its last major refurbishment, a dramatic overhaul of the castle began in 2013. The interior space was completely redesigned and refurbished, and George Smith was delighted to be chosen to supply much of the furniture. This immense project was led by renowned designer Melanie Brown, owner of Design Direction, who deservedly won an award at The Northern Design Awards for her inspirational work.

George Smith Tiplady Knole Sofas in the State Room

Contrasting fabrics and leathers

Mixing up fabrics is a creative way to make a piece of furniture stand out and become the statement piece in a room. For this particular project, Melanie chose to contrast leather with fabric on many of our signature pieces, such as our Brewster chairs. She also had the idea of combining different textures and colours of fabrics, including tweeds and velvets.

George Smith Brewster Chairs in the Great Hall

Many of the pieces in the project are bespoke or made-to-measure items, echoing the history of the castle and tailored to the room each is situated in. At George Smith, we specialise in modifying furniture design ideas to suit any project, and take pride in creating completely original bespoke pieces.


This project included a wide range of bespoke pieces, each featuring incredible attention to detail. A different crest, each belonging to a former inhabitant, can be found on the pieces in each of the bedrooms. This unique design element can be applied to any of our furniture, using any material - even leather. This allows George Smith furniture to be very personalised and specific in design.

George Smith Bespoke Chair with embroidery in the Mary Queen of Scots Bedroom

Firstly, the factory cuts out material to the size and shape needed. They then mark, on the back of the material, where the embroidery needs to be. This could be the centre of a stool, the back of a chair, or even the top of a headboard. The designer then issues George Smith with the design. Melanie Brown provided us with images of the particular crests she wanted for the bedrooms. These designs are digitalised into a stitch format, programmed for colours and transferred onto a specialised sewing machine for accuracy and speed. The largest of the crests created was that of Mary Queen of Scots, which comprised an impressive 78,000 stitches.