The river setting and quality finish sold a former pub and grounds in Gartmore to Susan and Craig Macfarlane
When Susan Macfarlane was looking for a new house in 2008, she had two main criteria: “I wanted a house that was next to water – next to a river,” she says, “and it had to be really high spec.” Susan and her husband Craig were living in Pollokshields, in Glasgow, and cast their net wide in their search – though they needed to be within commmuting distance of the city, where Susan is managing director of Intelligent Data Services and Craig is a financial controller at City Refrigeration.
Susan knew she had found ‘the one’ as soon as she viewed Riverside House, which sits within half an acre of grounds in the village of Gartmore, just outside Aberfoyle. The name of the house gives away its scenic location, on the banks of the River Forth. “This house ticked all the boxes,” she says. “It was a completely emotional purchase.”
Riverside House had been a country pub. The previous owners had bought the former Old Trossachs Inn and converted it into a family home between 2004 and 2007, including fitting a sleek Bulthaup kitchen and kitting out the family bathroom with Villeroy & Boch fittings and Porcelanosa tiling.
This high-specification approach makes sense when Susan explains that Kirsten Robeson, Riverside’s previous owner and co-director of the design company Cameron Interiors, tackled the conversion with her husband. The kitchen features a bank of sleek grey, walnut and aluminium cabinetry and a 3m-long island that takes centre stage. Every detail is immaculate, from the soft-close drawers to the Gaggenau appliances and the integrated Miele coffee machine. “I didn’t realise how good the kitchen was when I bought the house,” Susan admits.
“When I was viewing the house I liked the openness and the spatial aspect of it, with the really high ceilings. but for me it was the river; it was the setting. You hear the river flowing when you’re inside. You’ve left town, you’re 45 minutes’ drive out of Glasgow and you’re in a different world.”
One of the most appealing factors about Riverside House for the couple was its combination of an old building with a contemporary interior, and Susan and Craig decided to enhance this aesthetic. “I wanted a home where it was like staying in a five-star hotel,” Susan says.
The couple now have two young daughters, Sophia, three, and Luciana, two, so life has evolved, but at the time of buying Riverside they would travel regularly and stay in luxury hotels. “I wanted a house that would give me that feeling. It was a lifestyle choice for us,” she says. “We entertain a lot, and the social side of this house is amazing,” Susan says of the open-plan kitchen, dining and sitting area.
With the doors open on to the courtyard, the space flows inside and out, and the couple improved on this by installing a hot tub in the courtyard. The internal flow was further enhanced by extending the existing oak flooring throughout the main living spaces, and the couple upgraded the central heating system. Susan and Craig also lightened the interior. “With all the light that comes into this house, I wanted it to be really bright,” Susan says. “I like the minimal look.”
She was starting with a blank canvas when choosing furniture, and acknowledges that the scale of these rooms encouraged her to be bolder in her choices. “Everything was bought to fit into the house,” she explains. The white leather Natuzzi sofas in the sitting room were the first purchase, followed by the glass and chrome dining table, and white leather and chrome chairs. “I had a wooden dining table and leather chairs before, but I realised I needed something you could see through,” says Susan.
She sourced most of the furniture and lighting online. Various pieces came from Italy, such as the Flos Spun floor lamps in the sitting room, while others were sourced closer to home. The overscaled mirrors came from Greenlight Interiors in Bothwell, while Susan turned to Kirsten when sourcing the white gloss coffee table in the sitting room and the bedside cabinets in the master bedroom, all from Silenia.
When furnishing the drawing room, Susan started with a silver and pink palette and added a few bold flourishes, such as the raspberry velvet armchair, while the master bedroom features white tones with silvery grey and black accents. The bed was made bespoke by the Big Bed Company and features a white leather button-back headboard, while Susan spotted the curvaceous sofa while watching the BBC series Hustle and found it in BoConcept. The bedroom has a walk-in dressing room and an en-suite shower room that features large-profile tobacco-coloured tiling, twin Duravit basins and a wet-room shower with two Hansgrohe showers.
When asked what she has most enjoyed at Riverside, Susan readily credits the kitchen. “I had my 40th birthday recently and a chef cooked for us, and even he was saying it was the best kitchen he’d cooked in.” The family have also enjoyed the flow of the space. “My kids run from one end of the house to the other,” she says.
Most of all, Susan has relished the tranquillity of living here. “I didn’t realise how amazing it would be to live next to water,” she reflects. “We have busy, stressful lives, and when we come home we can really switch off.”
Offers over £495,000; contact Savills (0141-222 5875, www.savills.com)
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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