Whether to opt for the convenience and comfort of a modern home or the character and charm of an older one is a dilemma that faces every home buyer.
But some refurbished properties offer history and luxury in equal measure and it was this best of both worlds which attracted Sheona and Kerry Mathewson to Orchard House in Bridge of Allan six years ago.
Dating from 1881 and set in a commanding position above the Glen Road in the Stirlingshire town in its own grounds of nearly an acre, the house had just undergone a refurbishment, extension and reconfiguration.
Sheona says: “It was a big project for the owners before us and one of the most substantial additions was the conservatory at the back of the house which links up the family room, kitchen and utility and opens it all up to the garden.”
The double height glazed room is a remarkable contrast to the traditional parts of the house, and Sheona says that it is the room that they use most as a family, including the couple’s daughter, Tara, who is 11. “There is a lovely feeling of space but it isn’t huge when there are only three of us in the house.”
Come Christmas time the extended family tends to use the more formal rooms at the front of the house – the dining room with bay window and the glorious red drawing room with its adjoining box bay window are real gems from the original era.
The house also has a grand entrance and a sweeping pitch pine ornate stairway lit by a cupola above, all of which make the back of the house more of a surprise.
Tara has enjoyed the full run of the huge garden when her friends come over to play, and there is a substantial summer house for days when the weather isn’t so good. Sheona says: “She is really keen on art so she keeps all her materials in there.”
A hot tub has made sure that the family make the most of the outside space in all weathers.
Sheona herself has taken on the upgrading of the garden. “My mother, who lives just on the other side of the hill, has been really helpful, as I wasn’t very experienced at all,” she says.
“The wider garden had mature rhododendrons and trees dating back decades, but closer to the house where the extension had been built needed relandscaping from scratch.”
“The garden, as it is now, is sheltered, with terracing and tiers which means there is always a sunny spot to sit to make the most of the sunshine.”
The couple, who have renovated homes themselves in the past, were partially attracted to Orchard House because there was so little work required. Sheona works full time as a marketing manager while her husband Kerry is a GP in Callander.
In their time at Orchard House they have taken on further upgrading, replacing the windows on the upper floor for example, to give an energy efficient home with all modern comforts which still retains its period feel.
With such a large garden they have applied for, and been granted, planning permission for a detached two-bedroomed cottage in the grounds.
However, before the project could start their plans changed and they now have the opportunity to build their own home in the area to fulfil a long held ambition.
The building plot offers huge potential to the next owners. It is designated as an annexe rather than a separate house but the plans approved show an open-plan house with a living dining room, its own garage and parking.
Sheona says: “It would make an ideal home for an elderly relative or grown up children or even accommodation for a nanny.”
Orchard House has a wealth of period features including fantastic cornicing, panelled doors and working shutters in the original rooms.
Being set back in the plot, it offers excellent privacy and the elevated position leads to fabulous views over the glen and on to Ben Ledi in the distance.
Sheona says: “We were surprised that so many people knew the house because it is very private, but there is a lovely quiet road leading past it which is used by people walking their dogs or jogging. It is a good spot for accessing the countryside but only five minutes to the amenities of Bridge of Allan.”
Offers over £950,000, contact Halliday
Homes on 01786 833811.