Karen Anderson: Architect

This is me in a snowball fight in the village I now live in – Strathpeffer. After a life in the city it is now ‘My Place’.

Not everyone knows that the village was a planned Victorian Spa based on the presence of natural, sulphurous spring waters. In its heyday you could catch a regular sleeper train from Strathpeffer to central London and the village attracted visitors from all over to take the air and the ‘cure’.

The ‘resort’ was master-planned by George Devey, a famously reclusive architect who influenced many arts and crafts architects including his more famous pupil C F A Voysey. It contains many fine villas as well as a Victorian Pumphouse and beautifully restored Pavilion. The layout is said to be based on Baden Baden in miniature but the key thing is that it is a model of how to develop a steep-sided valley and work with the contours.

I love the fact that we still are high enough to get snow in winter (just!) and then it becomes just magical – built poetry!