Constructing a new home in an established area of a city can create unique challenges. While some developers choose an ultra modern design to stand out among traditional neighbours, planners often insist that the architecture of a new property fits in with its neighbourhood.
No 4A Essex Brae has taken the latter approach. The house, which is less than 20 years old, is in the prized Edinburgh suburb of Barnton, but its traditional exterior wouldn’t raise an eyebrow with even the most conservative of neighbours.
The surrounding large detached homes were mostly built in the first half of the 20th century.
No 4A and its two neighbours were completed in 2002 by Bryant Homes, but share a common aesthetic with their older neighbours; 4A has a characterful turret and bay window to give it a very traditional feel.
Rosemary Healy and her husband Michael bought it from the developer before it was quite complete.
She says: “We were moving back to Scotland from Hong Kong, and we really craved a quiet spot, surrounded by greenery after our years in a very built up city.”
The couple also had four small children, so the large garden at the back of the house was a major selling point.
Rosemary says: “The house was built on what was a tennis court for a previous grand home, so it was sheltered by existing mature trees with a huge expanse of lawn – the garden is about a quarter of an acre – so lots of room for the children to run around in.”
After moving across continents the couple were also keen for a house that needed no work and was ready to just move straight into.
The location was convenient for the children’s schools at Cargilfield and Fettes and handy for commuting; Michael now works in London.
Rosemary says: “When the children were small, we didn’t do much to the house, it didn’t need it, but we planted the garden and over the years have replaced the kitchen and the utility room and added storage.
“Most recently the master bathroom was redone two years ago.”
Michael has also fitted a high-resolution digital music system with integrated ceiling speakers throughout the house, so it is high tech as well as luxurious.
There is also an abundance of space over the three floors.
The ground floor houses the integral double garage which leads through the utility to the dining kitchen.
A snug or family room is adjacent, ideal when the children were small, says Rosemary: “They would all slump on a beanbag in there watching TV and I could keep an eye on them.”
The dining room overlooks the garden at the back of the house and like the kitchen and family room has access to the impressive vaulted conservatory which stretches out into the garden.
Rosemary says: “It is heated so we use it all year round. We put the Christmas tree in here, there are lights in the garden and we aren’t overlooked. It is such a quiet spot and a world away from the city.”
The drawing room is at the front of the house with its bay window and fireplace and there is also a smaller music room.
All of the five bedrooms are on the first floor, two with ensuites and there is a family bathroom as well.
The master bedroom’s ensuite is housed in the turret and has a beautiful free-standing oval bath.
On the top floor is a large attic room which the couple use as a gym – it has its own sauna and shower - but it could equally make a home office.
Outside they have added a terrace and barbecue area and there is a garden studio with power, light and water which might suit many purposes for the next owner.
The family have loved the location close to the outskirts of the city and dog walks and jogging routes in Cramond or the Dalmeny estate.
They are now downsizing, but Rosemary says: “This house was absolutely what we needed when we came back from Hong Kong. It is not on a through road so it is just a lovely quiet spot in the city.”
4A Essex Brae is priced at offers over £1.1
million, contact Savills on 0131 247 3700.