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Burnside Cottage, sits by Burdiehouse Burn
Burnside Cottage, sits by Burdiehouse Burn
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Moving house can be a hassle, but imagine if it were the house that moved, rather than the occupants.

Burnside Cottage, a charming property at 9 Ellen’s Glen Loan in Liberton, Edinburgh started life elsewhere.

The exterior of the house in its own walled garden

The exterior of the house in its own walled garden

Owner Nancy Young says: “The house used to be the tollhouse on Mayfield Road, collecting payments for people coming in to the city and at some point in its history the decision was made to take it down stone by stone and relocate it to the glen.

“I didn’t know this when I moved in but a lady from the local conservation society knocked on the door one day and came in to tell me all about the history. She had some wonderful pictures of the property with the original mill standing where the parking area now is.”

Nancy spotted Burnside Cottage for sale ten years ago and when she came to view it she fell in love with the location, tucked behind its own walls in a quiet spot by the Burdiehouse Burn, in a conservation area within walking distance of the city centre.

She says: “I come from Joppa [a suburb to the east of Edinburgh], and this really appealed to me as a village house but in a city.”

The dining and family room in the new extension

The dining and family room in the new extension

That’s not to say it didn’t require work.

Nancy describes it as “a bit unloved” and while the house was in reasonable order, if a little dark and dingy, the garden needed a great deal of attention. “There were piles of rubble in it and it had absolutely no structure,” she says.

“But I felt that it was such a lovely spot it deserved attention.”

It is mainly landscaping and re-ordering the outside space that has kept her busy over the last decade. “I could see the potential for a beautiful garden, and I’ve spent years putting in features such as original cobbles, repointing and rebuilding all the walls, putting in motorised gates so the whole place is private and enclosed, adding a gate to the park at the back and creating a riverside seating area.”

The garden

The garden

It was only when the exterior was the way she had originally envisaged, that she turned her attention to the inside of the house, replacing the bathrooms and kitchen and finally, in the last year, adding an extension at the back of the kitchen to create an open-plan living and dining room with doors to the garden.

“Practically every room has a door to the garden now and we are so sheltered that it really feels like the outside is just an extension of the living space,” says Nancy.

It isn’t just the rather dramatic change in location that makes Burnside Cottage interesting. Nancy’s understanding of the history of the house, which is well documented in pamphlets on the area, is that it was originally two semi-detached cottages which were combined and then extended before she arrived.

Her reconfiguration and addition of the further extension has produced a layout which is practical and modern.

The drawing room

The drawing room

All on one level, the four bedrooms, ensuite and family bathroom are at one side of the house.

The master bedroom is next to the burn which runs past outside. Nancy says: “If you sleep with the window open you are lulled by the babbling of the water.”

On the other side there is a drawing room, easily roomy enough to fit the grand piano in one corner, and the new family room which opens out to a dining area and kitchen.

She has kept the decor very neutral and says: “Every room has a view of the garden so I’ve not wanted to detract from that by using bold colours. It seems to work best if everything is white.”

Burnside has been the perfect city home for Nancy with plenty of room for her two grown up children to come and stay. She is now a grandmother and the addition of railings along the burn’s side has made it a safe place for children.

The seating area is a special place, and one so private and tranquil that it is a surprise to find so close to the city, but as Nancy points out, it is only a ten-minute walk to the nearest supermarket and a five-minute drive to shopping centres.

She had planned to live here for the rest of her life, hence the care taken in the renovation, but a new relationship means that she is moving in with her partner.

Nancy says: “I can’t imagine that anything else would have ever persuaded me to leave, but now it is time to pass it on to someone else who will love it as much as I do.”

Offers over £685,000, contact Coulters on

0131 603 7333.