THERE are always compromises when moving home. Having enjoyed living in a new build in Perth, Gavin and Gayle Robertson wanted to hold onto the privacy of a detached home, but also wanted more space when returning home to Renfrewshire. They had initially ruled out living in a flat, however they kept coming back to 1D Calderhaugh Mill in Lochwinnoch during their property search.
The three-bedroom ground-floor apartment is set within a converted silk mill, but is one of only two properties with direct access to a communal garden and offered the couple more space than their previous home.
“We had lived in a detached house and simply had not considered buying a flat,” admits Gavin. “We had discounted this property twice, but we kept coming back to how big the rooms are. When we came to see it we realised we could not get rooms of this size in a house within our price range in this area. It was the space and layout that attracted us, plus our entrance is only shared with two other flats, so it is still fairly private.”
The building was converted around 25 years ago and this apartment was in its original condition. The couple decided to re-work the main living space to make it open plan, taking the opportunity to modernise the flat. As well as updating the electrics and plumbing, they installed new radiators, got every wall and ceiling re-plastered, laid oak flooring in the central hallway, fitted new oak doors, facings and skirtings, installed a bespoke kitchen, as well as boutique hotel-style wet room bathrooms with underfloor heating.
“We basically stripped the place back to a shell so we could modernise it,” says Gavin. “There was originally a wall with a hatch in it that separated the kitchen from the dining area so we decided to take that down to make this whole space open plan to the living room. The work took us about two years to do as we were living in it. In hindsight we should probably have handed the keys over to a builder and it would have been done in three months.”
Gayle adds: “We wanted to do the work though, plus we did actually enjoy the whole process. It was before our son Ben was born so we could do the work during the weekends and in the evenings. I have patience, so one of my jobs was to sand and paint the windows. It took me three days just to paint the living room.”
The couple’s hard work and efforts have paid off. The communal lobby has a sun room feel to it thanks to the wall of glass at either end, while the entrance hall is a haven of clean white walls and rich oak tones. Every room leads off the hallway, with the ‘living’ quarters benefiting from French doors that open out onto the lawns. The living room is open plan to the official dining area, which now houses a breakfast bar and bespoke drinks cabinet, and the large kitchen.
A colour palette of white, grey and black has been applied throughout the flat with soft grey carpet in the living room and white walls leading through to the kitchen, which claims a mix of black and white gloss units, black granite worktops and black Porcelanosa floor tiles illuminated by low-level lighting. The couple sourced everything online and got a local joiner to fit the kitchen, which has a bank of units concealing a built-in coffee maker, dishwasher, oven, combi microwave oven, as well as an American fridge freezer.
“We got the fridge plumbed in so we could dispense ice – I work for a drinks company so we make cocktails quite a lot,” laughs Gavin. “We also chose an extendable tap and an Insinkerator instant hot water tap so we don’t need a kettle.”
In the living room, they removed an old electric fire and instead built the wall out in order to conceal the electrics for the wall-mounted TV, in-built DVD player, Sky box, integrated speakers and amplifier. The oak, glass and chrome dining table, side tables and hall tables were all sourced online, while the couple turned to one of their favourite makers, Natuzzi, for the grey sofas. Gavin also managed to find space for his prized Charles Eames lounge chair and ottoman.
The couple either removed or re-worked the fitted wardrobes in each of the bedrooms, and added double oak doors to the main hall cupboard to give full access. However, it is in the main bathroom and the en-suite that they have fully indulged their passion for boutique hotel living. The main bathroom has a TV installed over the freestanding bath, which is digitally controlled to ensure a permanently perfect water temperature. There is a heated mirror, niches for towels, a rainfall shower and separate power shower, underfloor heating and double ‘his and her’ sinks. The en-suite – which is off the bedroom currently used as 14-month-old Ben’s nursery – similarly has rainfall and power showers, double sinks, illuminated niches and stylish tiling.
“A lot of our budget went into the bathrooms,” admits Gavin. “We have spent a lot of time away in hotels where everything is where it should be, which makes life easier. The digital shower in the bath is great as we know the precise temperature for Ben’s baths. We have learned a lot from hotels, even down to having light switches at each side of the bed for turning off all the lights. Everything here has been done to make our lives easier. Even being in Lochwinnoch has made life easier as I just have a 15-minute journey to Glasgow airport when flying to London with work.”
Nevertheless, as Gavin mainly works from home the couple are now selling in order to get more space for their family. Gayle admits that they are all going to miss Calderhaugh Mill.
“We really are spoilt here as everything is exactly the way we wanted it,” she says. “We enjoyed doing the refurbishment and it was just amazing when it was all finally done. We hope to stay locally as we enjoy village life, but are still close to the city.”
1D Calderhaugh Mill, Lochwinnoch, is for sale at O/O £195,000 through Corum (01505 691 400, corumproperty.co.uk)