NICKY Bannerman had been interested in Montague House at 14 Hyndland Road in Glasgow for years before the opportunity arose to buy this ground and garden-level flat in 2007.
Turn the clock back ten years and Nicky had been living opposite and had just sold that flat to move to the Bearsden area when a property developer started work on Montague House, which had previously been the Coach House Hotel. “I remember thinking that these were gorgeous flats,” she reflects.
When Flat 1 came on the market five years ago, PE teacher Nicky wasted no time. “I wanted to get back to the West End,” she explains. “The couple who had this flat before me had fabulous taste, and when I came to view it with my sister, we got as far as the dining room and we both went, wow. I loved the high ceilings and the fireplaces, and the cornicing and the frieze in the living room are just fabulous. The interior was very neutral, but the previous owners had added lots of colour to it. I just loved what they’d done.”
This handsome stone-built townhouse forms part of Montague Terrace, which has an elevated position on Hyndland Road, and Flat 1 is arranged over the ground and garden levels, with an enclosed rear terrace accessed from the master bedroom and a private parking space.
Simply describing this property as a two-bedroom flat doesn’t begin to do justice to the space here. At more than 28ft long the bay-windowed living room is impressive in itself, but even more so when you factor in the adjoining dining room and kitchen, which are open-plan. With the doors open between the two areas, the combined living, dining and kitchen space extends almost 53ft from the front to the rear of the property.
No wonder Nicky was impressed. As she says: “I don’t think I’ve ever been into a property that’s had a better entertaining space.”
Likewise, the two en-suite bedrooms on the lower level are both generous and particularly the master bedroom, which opens into the en-suite dressing area and bathroom.
Although the property was in great condition, Nicky did discover that there was scope to improve things during her first winter. “The blinds could be blowing on a windy night,” she says, so she had the windows overhauled by Ventrolla. “It’s made an enormous difference to the warmth.”
Nicky also created additional storage in the master bedroom, and both the wardrobe and dressing table here were handmade and feature carved circles that pick up on the circular details that form a motif throughout the flat – an element included by the developer, who picked up on an original architectural detail in the buildings opposite. The motif also crops up in the dining room, where the wallpaper on one wall features a circular patterned frieze. Nicky echoed the theme further when choosing the circular mirror that hangs over the original stone fireplace here.
Nicky also upgraded some of the kitchen appliances and installed a new boiler on the lower level. “A lot of what I’ve done to the flat has been very practical,” she says.
When considering the interior style, Nicky decided to retain a neutral backdrop with punches of colour in the accessories. “I spent about six months to a year considering what I was going to buy, as I realised early on that everything was going to have to be a lot bigger than the furniture I’d brought with me to the flat,” she reflects. Sometimes her eye deceived her: the first circular mirror Nicky bought for the dining room, which looked ideal in the showroom, was far too small in reality. “Having this kind of space does give you a lot more opportunity to think bigger and be bolder,” she acknowledges.
The sofas and armchair for the living room came from Sofa Workshop, and Nicky picked up on the colours in the existing curtains when adding the soft furnishings. The dining furniture is by Stephen Burgess, while she bought the tan leather armchair years ago and it is now a favoured spot for her miniature schnauzers, Archie and Seamus.
In the bedrooms Nicky added her own stamp with the choice of furniture and accessories, from the pink accents in the guest bedroom, where one wall is clad in Osborne & Little’s gorgeous Asuka print wallpaper, to the slightly richer tones in the master bedroom. As she observes, here the space itself creates that sense of luxury; there was simply no need to clutter it.
Nicky has also added to her collection of paintings – the plaster detailing on the walls in the living room lends itself to displaying artworks – including pieces by Scottish artists Muriel Barclay, Mary Davidson and Gordon Wilson.
Asked what she will miss most about this flat, Nicky doesn’t hesitate: “Without a shadow of a doubt, I’ll miss the upstairs level and having this fantastic entertaining space,” she says.
Nicky has particularly enjoyed the kitchen’s open-plan layout. She took a cookery course at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, and enjoys nothing more than having people round for dinner. “I don’t want to be tucked away in a kitchen; here you can be cooking while talking to your guests,” she says.
Nicky is only moving now as she wants a garden for Archie and Seamus, and acknowledges that this will probably require downsizing in terms of the property itself. “When people have come to view the flat they’ve said, what a fabulous room,” she says of the interconnected living spaces. “It’s reminded me of what I first felt when I came here. One viewer said that this flat has a really peaceful feel, and I think he probably hit the nail on the head. This flat can be cosy as well as being quite grand.”
Offers over £355,000; contact Corum West End (0141-357 1888, www.corumproperty.co.uk)