An urban explorer has shared eerie footage of inside style icon Coco Chanel’s former British mansion – more than 50 years after it was abandoned.
The Rosehall estate, in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands, which was last occupied in 1967, was home to the founder of the multimillion-pound fashion empire and her lover Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, in the 1920s.
Featuring 22 rooms and grounds spanning 700 acres, the property, which had been on the market for £2m, had been left in a state of disrepair.
But an undisclosed bid by a foreign buyer was accepted at the end of last year. It is believed restoration work will cost millions.
A fan recently shared rare footage of inside the decaying mansion on TikTok, jokingly describing it as “bloody huge”, “lovely and clean” while filming debris and mess following years of neglect and that is “smells just like Chanel No.5.”
A fellow urban explorer, Matt, shared footage to the YouTube channel Finders Beepers History Seekers.
He said: “One room had bottles of beer and sherry as well as barrels of wine inside.
“It was just really fascinating to think about who might have been the last person to drink out of one of those bottles.
“The entire place was amazing and to have the opportunity to actually get in there was crazy.
He added: “Some of the rooms were absolutely massive. Some of the windows must have been 15 feet tall but it was riddled with damp and the walls were full of cracks.
“It was what I expected in a lot of the rooms, with everything stripped back but some of the period features like the cast iron fireplace were just beautiful.
“Coco Chanel came here before the war and spent a lot of time living here. These were her glory days and it’s crazy to think who might have walked into that building before me. It’s just a real shame that it’s in the state it is now.”
Back in 2015, Rosehall was one of the most expensive properties in Scotland. It was originally built in 1873 after a previous house at the site was destroyed by fire.
Coco spent several summers at Rosehall and refurbished each room with floral wallpaper just like her Paris flat. Remnants of the hand-blocked design are still present.
The mansion was also visited by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who stayed there with Chanel in 1928 while recovering from an illness.
Writing to his wife Clementine, Churchill was full of praise for his fashion designer host.
He wrote: “Coco fishes from morn till night, and in two months has killed 50 salmon.
“She is very agreeable — really a great and strong being fit to rule a man or an Empire.”
In 2014, the house was earmarked to be redeveloped into a hotel, but the deal never materialised.
It is on Scotland’s register of high risk properties, with extensive dry rot.
Images from inside Rosehall reveal peeling wallpaper, crumbling ceilings and rusted metal fixtures.
The original property was built for Richard Dunning, 2nd Lord Ashburton (1782-1823), in 1806, but it was destroyed by fire 11 years later.
It was completely rebuilt and looks to have incorporated some fabric from the former, such as the West wing with its barrel-vaulted ceiling.
It is believed to be the only Scottish property to have its interior designed by Chanel and its survival has been hailed as “remarkable” by experts from the Buildings At Risk register.
A description of the house on the register’s website says: “Beige was a colour which Chanel frequently used in her interiors, such as her office door at the famous Rue Cambon Chanel showrooms in Paris and the sofa in her apartment on the second floor.
“Local knowledge had suggested that the house contained the first bidet in Scotland, installed as part of Chanel’s scheme, however this seems unlikely as bidet’s were being manufactured in Scotland from the early 1900s.
“This particular model appears to feature in Shank’s 1912 catalogue, albeit produced for the French market.”
Author Caroline Young, who wrote Living With Coco Chanel about the homes of the famed designer, said it was “fantastic” that Rosehall had found a buyer.