‘WE TOTALLY fell in love with this house,’ says Steph Middleton of her home at 2 Albert Terrace in Musselburgh. “We had been looking extensively and couldn’t find anywhere in our budget that offered the same amount of space, with all the original features that we love.”
Not only did the Victorian terraced house set over three floors tick all the period-property boxes for Steph and husband Niall, a publican, it also had stunning views over Musselburgh racecourse to Levenhall Links beyond.
Steph, director of PR company Fairground Communications, Niall and their son, Calum, now eight, moved in in June 2006. The family has since grown with the arrival of Archie, five, Niamh, one, and rescue dog Carson, the friendliest Staffordshire bull terrier around.
Over time, the couple have made changes, including creating a large, open-plan family room, installing a new kitchen, replacing the shower room and bathroom, stripping the floors and redecorating.
“The previous owners had kept the house in really good order,” says Steph. The kitchen and living room had been two separate rooms. “We opened it up because we felt this had real potential to make a big, open-plan family room.”
Light now floods in from both sides, with the cooking and dining area at one end of the space and a relaxed living area at the other. The couple laid oak parquet flooring all the way through, visually linking the spaces, vintage-style radiators were added and working shutters frame the front windows.
The living area easily accommodates a chunky sideboard, L-shaped sofas and wall-mounted TV, while canvas prints of the children add to the feel of this being a real family space.
The couple invested in the kitchen, which is a vibrant mix of white and orange with hardwearing Corian worktops and a glass tile splashback. “We wanted a change from the usual stark white,” says Steph. “I like colour, it’s more vivid, more alive.”
Luckily the renovations went smoothly. “It was just the mess involved, it was unbelievable,” Steph says. “When I had Archie, the kitchen worktop was being fitted the day I got back from hospital.”
Proving that style and life with young children do mix, Steph has teamed a chunky dining table from JB McLean’s in Murrayfield with Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost chairs. Moths glow through the Timorous Beasties shades suspended overhead. “I wanted something that would reflect the light through as we’ve got dimmers on all of these lights, so they create an atmospheric feel.”
A utility room behind the kitchen houses the washing machine and further storage comes in the shape of extensive cellars. The south-facing, walled garden has also undergone a transformation. Removing overhanging trees has opened the space up, while Steph designed the patio. “It’s like a suntrap. It can be blowing a gale at the front, but it will be calm here. We’ve got the hammock, which is our favourite spot because that gets sun for most of the day.”
Upstairs the revamped shower room features a Crosswater/Impey walk-in shower. The Duravit fittings came from Victor Paris and Steph found the Hansgrohe taps online. The striking blue carp bathroom wallpaper came from the United States.
The master bedroom on the first floor features another stunning wallpaper, this time from Osborne & Little. “I love wallpapers,” Steph admits. The bold pattern works well in the high-ceilinged space, while an inherited armchair has been reupholstered in a toning Osborne & Little fabric.
The couple customised Ikea units that run the length of one wall. “We fitted them together and fixed them to the walls, so we’ve got a real mix of hanging space and shelves. Room for all my shoes,” laughs Steph.
The second sitting room is also on this floor. This “adult room” has beautiful cornicing, an open fire and stunning, ever-changing views. “We use this room all the time in the winter,” says Steph, and despite it being a bright spring day, it’s not hard to imagine it bathed in the glow of firelight.
An ornate ceiling rose is the perfect foil for a light fitting that looks designer, but turns out to be from BHS. “It’s a Kelly Hoppen design I saw in a magazine,” says Steph, who clearly has a great eye for mixing and matching quirky finds, family pieces and modern classics.
Like the rest of the house, this room is full of artworks. The large-scale snow scene represents the couple’s love of skiing, while Steph had the racehorse commissioned by artist Gregory Rankine for Niall’s 40th. “We’d seen an exhibition of his before and he specialises in racehorses, and because we live by the racecourse it seemed perfect.”
Throughout the house thought has gone into maximising living space without sacrificing style. The bathroom highlights the couple’s clever use of space, with Steph sourcing a wider than usual bath. “It’s not very long at this side of the room, but the bath’s extra wide. It’s really comfy and it’s had all of us in it,” she says. The fittings again are Duravit, with a waterfall-like Crosswater tap on the bath.
The top-floor landing is a light-filled space known as the boys’ domain. Steph points to the far wall. “There had been a stud wall here and it was used as a box room.” The couple removed the wall and opened the space up. With light flooding in from two skylights and a huge Ikea map of the world on one wall, it’s a great play area. In Calum and Archie’s bedroom “kapow” stickers above the beds match the superhero prints – a TK Maxx find – on another wall. “We wanted to create that kind of cartoon, superhero look,” says Steph.
A further double bedroom is used as a guest room. Bodie & Fou’s contemporary Birds on a Wire roller blind perches at the window, while the beautiful walnut furniture has been handed down from Steph’s grandfather.
Moving to this coastal area from a city flat brought with it a lifestyle change. “We’re both city folk really, but when we moved here I remember feeling a kind of sense of relief. It’s like being out in the country, but you’re still close enough to town that it’s no problem getting in. There is a huge park and ride nearby and it’s a 10-minute train ride into town, so it’s really easy. As soon as we came into this place, we had a sense of feeling really settled and happy.”
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