Tigh Na Mara is an elegant and beautifully-proportioned six-bedroom family home in North Queensferry in Fife with a layout that takes full advantage of its location and views.
Sandy and Jackie Mitchell have owned the house since 1983 and the house has evolved considerably in their time here.
Sandy says: “We had previously lived in a brand new home in Inchcolm Drive around the corner, so when it came time to move to a larger property we were keen to find somewhere that needed work and that we could put our own stamp on.”
They were keen to stay in the area as they both commuted to Edinburgh for work.
Tigh Na Mara, when they took over, was smaller than the six bedroom house of today and looked considerably different.
For one thing, it had a flat roof, much like its neighbours; the other two properties in the row show the original designs of these Edwardian detached villas.
But Sandy says that a few years into their tenure, the roof of their home needed renewing, and while one option was to replace like for like, the couple saw an opportunity to do a bit more.
“I’ve never liked flat roofs so in putting on the peaked roof, I think it improved the look of the house and we also added a second storey, complete with a balcony big enough for a table and chairs,” he says. The balcony has long views towards the Ochil Hills in the west and is a fine and sheltered spot to take in the scenery.
The original plan was to create a master bedroom suite at this level and although there is enough room to do that in the future, Sandy and Jackie have always used the second floor as an office and they have fitted in a gym too.
The space is spectacularly lit by double doors out on to the balcony and three huge sloping rooflights; it would make a very grand bedroom suite indeed.
The house was large already, with a drawing room, dining room, sitting room and dining kitchen on the ground floor, along with a conservatory, reading room and TV room.
The Mitchells added bay windows on two sides, upstairs this means that their bedroom, one of five on the first floor, has its own bay window, as does their en suite bathroom.
The entrance porch is a work of art which again you can’t quite believe isn’t original, but Sandy added its arched windows and tiled floor about 15 years ago. It not only provides shelter, but enhances both the exterior and the interior of the house.
Each of the couple’s improvements have been strictly in keeping with the period features and although the square footage has grown over their time here, the house hasn’t lost its Edwardian feel or the original fittings such as the fireplaces and cornicing.
And while Tigh Na Mara has impressive large public spaces, little corners of the house can really take your breath away too; the tiled vestibule for instance has a huge arched window leading on to a matching arched glass door meaning the inner hallway with impressive staircase is bathed in light.
Of course, the glazing is also about the view. Sandy says of it: “We can see the islands in the Forth, Edinburgh Castle and the city, all the way down to the Bass Rock.” He says the view is constantly changing with ships moving up and down the estuary, the sun lighting up Edinburgh and the sky changing the colour of the water.
Outside, the garden has terraced flower beds, extensive lawns and is very private thanks to stone walls, mature trees and the high hedges which Sandy thinks might be as old as the building.
The house sits right in the centre of its land, so has grounds on all four sides.
It is approached through stone pillars with electric gates which lead to the parking area and there is access to the large garage which has room for four cars – useful when the couple’s children, Claire and Ross, both lived at home.
Now Sandy and Jackie want to spend more time with their first grandchild, so it is time to downsize.
Tigh Na Mara is a very impressive house, with amazing far-reaching views and the Mitchells have added a great deal in their time, while generously leaving some potential – for the most amazing second floor master bedroom suite – for the next owners.
Tigh Na Mara is priced at offers over £795,000, contact Savills on 0131 247 3700.