IT was once the Borders home of renowned author Sir Walter Scott.

Now, following a multi-million pound make-over, Abbotsford House in Melrose is a world class visitor attraction.

Professional photographers Sheila and Harry Scott, from Galashiels, captured the two-year transformation on camera.

And now they have published a book, 'Abbotsford: Building by Numbers’, full of before and after images.

The title refers to the process used when dismantling and rebuilding the house to ensure all objects, from paintings to skirting boards, could be returned to their rightful place. Each item was numbered and stored in the home’s chapel before repairs and structural alterations could begin.

The book, which includes special chapters by restoration specialists acknowledged as experts in their fields, only came about following a chance meeting between the author Sheila Scott and Grant Davidson, who was in charge of the project for Kelso based building firm M & J Ballantyne.

She asked if anyone was making a photographic record of the work and, when told no, volunteered her services and returned to visit the building site once a month during the construction project.

“I have always enjoyed what I call 'progress photography’, charting large works from start to finish,” Sheila explained.

“From an historical perspective the professional photographers in a town are the ones who have provided the history.

“In the past I have worked on large civil engineering projects like the routing of the A7 at Ladhope Vale, the A68 at Soutra and the Nest improvements to the A72 near Clovenfords.

“However, that has not included the (Borders) railway as I’m a bit anti that scheme and would have preferred to see the A7 made into a dual carriageway.” She added: “I have to get pleasure out of my work and that’s what Abbotsford has given me.” The Scotts - no relation to Sir Walter - were given exclusive access all areas to Abbotsford during its transformation.

Although self published, the book is lavishly illustrated with pictures including many before and after pictures showing the works taking place and the result that visitors enjoy today.

Sheila said: “I really needed Harry as I am terrified of heights so he did all the shots which required climbing scaffolding.

“I thought we would be able to get the book published in 2013 but eventually many specialist chapters were added including: Mark Bamborough on Stained Glass Conservation; Grant Davidson - The Builder’s Perspective; Sculpture Conservation Works - Graciela Ainsworth; Abbotsford Wall Paintings by Fiona Allerdyce and Karen Dundas and Interior Design by Christian Hepburne Scott.

“I have always enjoyed the technical aspects of photography and reckon I have kept ahead of the latest trends going digital in my work as a wedding and social photographer relatively early in the year 2000.

“The inspiration for my whole life as a photographer was my uncle Jim Walker, now aged 89, a former Galashiels bank manager, who holds the top distinction and is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society - I loved watching him produce 20 x 16 inch black and whites in his darkroom.

“His approach to Borders history, with nine published books, spurred me into producing my first book: 'Galashiels Through Time’.” Abbotsford - Building by numbers is available from WH Smith in Channel Street, Galashiels, Abbotsford House, and online at Amazon priced £14.99.