For sale, needs £1m worth of work: The only home in Britain that can boast interiors by Coco Chanel

Although a pale shadow of its former self, Rosehall House still retains a hint of its glamorous past.

The crumbling building above the River Cassley 10 miles east of Lairg, in Sutherland has a unique claim to fame - as being the only house in Britain to have had its interior designed by Coco Chanel.

But now, almost 80 years later, the house - which still boasts Chanel's designs - is up for sale to save it from ruin.

As the mistress of the Duke of Westminster she was given carte blanche to decorate the house, then owned by the duke.

But now it needs more than £1m of repairs to save it and a new owner is being sought. The deep beige wallpaper is peeling from the walls and the colour co-ordinated cream, beige and green painted walls are fading with the dust.

"Coco Chanel was the last person to decorate this house," said Audrey Graesser, whose grandfather bought the property from the Duke of Westminster in 1928.

"Nobody has touched anything since her and, for almost the past 40 years, the house has been completely empty.

"I would love to be able to live there and look after it properly but financially it is just not possible," said Ms Graesser, who lives in a cottage on the estate.

Coco Chanel, who was born Gabrielle Chanel in 1883, was at the height of her social, sexual and professional progress in the 1920s when she met the Duke of Westminster.

She remained his mistress for a number of years and was so inspired by the tweeds worn by the hunting and shooting set that she used it liberally in her designs.

Over the years, she participated in country sports and holidayed with the Duke and Winston Churchill, among others, at Rosehall.

"In addition to the beige wallpaper and simple colours," Ms Graesser said yesterday, "there is one rather jazzy room which has hand-painted French floral wallpaper and a bidet, reputed to be the first in Scotland, in an upstairs bathroom she designed.

"Each of the public rooms has a simple wooden fireplace which is complemented by Coco Chanel's choice of colours.

"It is a remarkable and impressive house and I would dearly love to keep it but it's all down to finances and we simply can't afford to.

"We are looking for a new buyer through the Civic Trust and, although we've had quite a lot of interest so far, we are still looking for somebody who can restore the building."

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