WHILE Danny Brown was viewing this house on 9 Arnwood Drive seven years ago, his wife, Vicky Featherstone, was in London for meetings. “I rang Vicky and said, ‘I’ve seen a nice house,’” Danny recalls. “By the time she flew back, I’d bought it.”
Danny had no choice but to act quickly as this semi-detached, six-bedroom house in the Claythorn district of Glasgow’s West End had a closing date set for the day he viewed the property.
Vicky and Danny, a screenwriter whose credits include The Hustle for the BBC, had relocated from London to Glasgow six months earlier after Vicky was appointed artistic director of the National Theatre for Scotland. The couple and their two children, Sonny, 12, and Merle, 10, were living in a self-contained annexe of a hotel in the West End while searching for a house.
Arnwood Drive ticked all the boxes: it was in a great location, it was a great size, had a garden and it presented a project.
The couple tackled the house in two phases. First, they opened up what had been a separate dining room and sitting room, removing the dividing wall to create an open-plan living and family room that stretches the depth of the house.
An antique French wood-burning stove was installed at one end of this space, which Danny sourced through Glasgow Architectural Salvage, and the couple added a modern wood-burner at the other end of the room, creating two cosy seating areas.
The house needed a new heating system and new electrics, the walls were stripped and replastered, the family bathroom and en-suite shower room were re-fitted, and today’s dining-kitchen was created by knocking together two rooms – a major undertaking.
The family moved into the hallway during the summer while the work was being done. “We lived in the hallway with a microwave and did a lot of barbecuing,” Danny recalls. While the style of today’s interior is contemporary, Vicky and Danny also wanted to be sympathetic to the age of the house, which dates from 1928, and to their eclectic aesthetic which favours vintage and quirky finds.
When choosing tiling for the bathroom, en-suite, and for the splashback behind the range cooker in the kitchen, the couple opted for white subway tiles, arranged in a brick formation and detailed with grey grout in the bathroom and en-suite. Limestone tiles add contrast in the bathroom and en-suite, while the vanity unit in the latter is an old baker’s cupboard that Danny stripped back, with limestone tiles forming the top.
The deep, handle-less drawers give the kitchen a streamlined look, while the vintage cabinet remains, creating that old-new mix. Likewise, the dining table is partnered with classic Eames chairs, and wooden seats that were part of the set from a play Vicky directed.
Over the years, Danny has also had to learn how to wire light fittings. “Vicky’s a bit addicted to lights,” he says of a collection that includes a Michelin man acquired from a friend’s truck and made into a lamp; a bowling pin; and a porcelain horse that’s become a lamp base.
One of the things Vicky and Danny have enjoyed most here is space, from the room outside to the flexibility of the layout.
As the family prepares to relocate back to London, as Vicky becomes artistic director of the Royal Court Danny agrees that this will be a difficult house to leave. “I don’t think we’re going to get this space again.”
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