Leith is definitely not Edinburgh; anyone born and brought up there will attest to that. But recently Leith has been competing in terms of lifestyle.
Emma Carduff says it was a conscious decision for her and husband James Dear to move here seven years ago. “We had a flat in Meadowbank and needed a spare room, but we spent all our time in Leith. It was always much better down here.”
They found their perfect flat in a double upper in Queen Charlotte Street. It is a fine imposing building and the top flat has three bedrooms on the lower floor, two doubles and a single, a dining kitchen and shower room while upstairs is a large sitting and dining room.
Emma says “We loved that it has light bright spaces, a big kitchen and a great entertaining space upstairs.”
The flat needed little work at the time although over their years here they have upgraded. One of the first things they added was Timorous Beasties wallpaper in the hall and stair. Emma says:“I’m from Glasgow and used to walk past their showroom and think one day I’ll have a nice big wall that will suit that. I think we put it in three days after we moved in.”
The kitchen was bespoke and probably hand made, but after a few years it was starting to look tired so the couple hired a builder to replace it. “We wanted to keep the layout as it was, with open shelves and the two big Belfast sinks, so he worked around it.” With red floor tiles, the built in shelving and the scrubbed wooden table the look has a softened industrial feel with lots of light and colour.
They also replaced the main shower room and made a change in the master bedroom. Emma says “It is a big room, with a huge dormer and we put a sofa in the space but it was not used. I have to credit my mother with coming up with the idea to site a bath there.”
The plumbing for the scheme was quite complicated and the first two builders they asked were not keen, but they persevered. Now it is a unique feature; a freestanding roll top tub, with fantastic views out over the rooftops of Leith. It adds a boutique hotel feel to the flat, and makes for the ultimate luxury bedroom.
Over the years Emma and James have added more designer features, most notably the bumble bee wallpaper in the master bedroom, again from Timorous Beasties. Upstairs there is feature thistle wallpaper in the sitting room which has space for a dining table for six and a desk.
Since Hugo now aged four, and Verity, one, have come along the family are ensconced in the community around them and love the area. Emma says “It has changed even since we have come to live here, there are so many great restaurants, coffee shops and pubs on the doorstep.”
When they move they will particularly miss the views this flat affords. “It is a cityscape, but it takes in Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat and the boats on the Forth. We definitely will stay in the area but I doubt we’ll ever have an outlook like this again.”
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