Interiors: With a day job in housebuilding, Rosemary Livingstone knew what she wanted in her own home in Auchterarder
AFTER an incredibly positive self-build project 18 years ago, Rosemary and George Livingstone were more than happy to repeat the experience.
The couple lived in their first self-build in Auchterarder for more than 13 years, so when the opportunity arose to purchase another plot in the same village, they jumped at the chance. “I enjoyed it so much first time around,” says Rosemary, “but I had budget constraints so although it was a great property, there were things I would have done differently. Also, this time around our children were grown up so this project gave us a chance to design a very different style of house.”
As a sales and marketing manager for Muir Homes, Rosemary had a clear vision of what they wanted, and was able to give their architect, Andrew Finlayson of Comrie, firm ideas for the property. Andrew’s brief Aspewas for a light, bright, spacious versatile family home with quality in every feature.
Moving into an adjacent property for the duration of the build, Rosemary, together with Andrew and a family friend, project managed the complete design and build for Aspen House. “The obvious choice for the timber kit for the property had to be Muir Timber Systems, the sister company of Muir Homes,” says Rosemary. “Our first self-build was to the standard specification, however, in this instance we chose to increase the energy efficiency and quality of build in order to generate an improved lifestyle without the increased energy costs.”
Rosemary’s desire for quality is apparent throughout the build of Aspen House and is reflected in her choice of solid ash skirtings and facings, oak doors, NorDan Scandic windows, remote-controlled Velux roof windows, Amtico flooring and a Sonos sound system allowing music to be heard in the hall, kitchen, lounge, dining room, master bedroom and bathroom.
Being well versed in the specifications of new build homes, Rosemary decided to add the “wow” factor in the superb family kitchen. “I had been reading about steam ovens and healthy eating, and I thought, why not?” Rosemary says. “This kitchen has so much space, why not have a steam oven as well? So we designed the kitchen with three ovens – steam, fan and combination microwave oven. It’s very much a party house and we do spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I think that justifies my decision.”
The couple chose a German kitchen in a high-gloss cream and oak finish, complete with Neff appliances including warming drawers, wine chiller, stainless steel fridge and freezer and a Fisher & Paykel, two-drawer, integrated dishwasher.
Rosemary and George chose tiling and sanitaryware from Porcelanosa for the bathrooms and en suites and fitted underfloor heating to minimise the chill on cold mornings. They also added a few luxuries such as a Jacuzzi bath and a walk-in shower with remote control.
Practical considerations have also benefited from Rosemary’s attention to detail. “Another great feature of the property is the amount of storage cupboards and wardrobes. As a typical woman, I wanted to ensure that I had enough space for all my clothes and accessories without having to sacrifice appearance – we chose Kelvin for our bedroom wardrobes as I am very familiar with their products and was able to ensure that I got exactly what I wanted.”
Aside from the high specifications for the fixtures and fittings, Rosemary also knew exactly how she and George wanted to live in the property and this is reflected in the layout. On the ground floor is the lounge, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, master bedroom (with dressing room and en suite), a double bedroom, family bathroom and a utility room with an external door to the garden. On the first floor there are two further double bedrooms, a study/sitting room and a shower room.
Venture outside and this area is just as well planned. To the rear of the house, accessed from the lounge’s patio doors, there is a large decked area with views across to the Ochil Hills and the well-stocked gardens are easily maintained. In addition to the large detached double garage with electrically operated doors, the tarred driveway provides parking space for six cars – perfect for friends and family coming to visit.
George says: “We wanted a home which would be great for the family, had lots of space to entertain but didn’t feel too big just for a couple when our boys left home. This design is ideal – it has the appearance of a bungalow but with an upper floor.”
Rosemary adds: “You can live in it as a bungalow as we do, but when the boys were home they had the upstairs to themselves. I occasionally ventured up to clean if I was feeling brave.
“With our boys now off making their own way in the world – our eldest son has just moved into his own home with his partner and our youngest son is now living in Australia, we have decided to sell up and take on another project to keep us busy. We’re not sure whether we’ll do another new build project or, just for a change, perhaps a refurbishment of an older property, we’ll wait until we find the ideal place.”
• Aspen House, Montrose Road, Auchterarder, Perthshire, PH3 1BZ is being marketed with a guide price of £499,000 by Rettie & Co, which is under the Home Report valuation of £515,000. For details visit www.rettie.co.uk
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