Edwardian splendour in Bearsden: an arts and crafts architectural gem hits the market

Roman Court in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, which has just come on the market, is one of the very best examples of arts and crafts architecture north of the border.

The beautiful interior detailing of Roman Court's hall

The arts and crafts movement emerged in the latter half of the 19th century as a reaction against the overly ornate style of the mid-Victorian era and the growing trend of mass production.

Proponents believed in showcasing the innate beauty of materials and the work of skilled craftsmen, inside and out. The style took root across the world but Scottish examples have a charm all of their own.

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In the case of Roman Court, as well as brimming with meticulously maintained original features it has been sensitively updated over the years to make a comfortable family home.

The conservatory

Alan and Helen Henderson bought the house 19 years ago and describe being custodians of it in the time since as a privilege.

Alan explains: “Practically, we were looking for a bigger house because we had a growing family and this offered all the space inside, as well as a big garden.

“But it was really the visual impact it had on us that really sold it. It is a unique home.”

Roman Court was designed by the Glaswegian Alan G MacNaughtan and dates from 1913. MacNaughtan was an architect noted more for his public buildings – he designed Marr College in Troon and most famously the Glasgow University’s student union building on University Avenue.

Built in 1931, the stunning union building remains a glorious example of the style and a key piece of the city’s historical architecture.

Roman Court's kitchen

But MacNaughtan also took on domestic projects; Roman Court was completed for a builder named Dickie, and another of MacNaughtan’s homes, Cuilvona, similar in design to Roman Court, is close to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh, in both proximity and accomplishment.

Henderson says of his home: “The scale of the house is big, but unlike Victorian houses it feels surprisingly modern in its layout and its cosiness. There are no high draughty ceilings and it is always warm.”

The terrace at the back of the house

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After moving in with their three children the couple embarked on an upgrading project, renewing heating and plumbing and replacing kitchens and bathrooms, but always with an eye for what fitted with the rest of the house. Alan says: “Helen has an interest in interior design and was keen that nothing should clash with the way the house should feel.

“We took inspiration from a number of different sources.

“A hotel we visit in the south of France dates from the same era, so we were inspired by that, but it was really a case of going to antique sales and picking furniture from the right time and style.”

With such an approach you can’t go far wrong with arts and crafts.Just as the fitted cabinetry and woodwork and details such as panelling, doors and light switches throughout the house follow the ideas of beauty and practicality, so does the furniture which fills the house.

The sitting room

Helen has experimented with colour too. While the dining chairs adhere to the strict time period in style, she has covered the seats in a mixture of fabrics to add a taste of modernity and fun.

The colour palette throughout is bold with a rich blue drawing room, a moss coloured sitting room and beautiful pale pink walls contrasting with black and white floor tiles in the dining kitchen.

Alan says that against the backdrop of natural wood the interior is particularly eye-catching in winter.

“You get used to guests wanting a tour on their first visit, or even their second or third.”

The classic arts and crafts exterior of Roman Court, Bearsden

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The house is extensive, measuring nearly 4,000sq ft, with five bedrooms and a family room and large conservatory, as well as the drawing, dining and sitting rooms.

The half acre of gardens, facing west at the back with a beautiful terrace are a further enhancement.

Alan says: “When the children were smaller, it was a bit of a football pitch, but as they’ve grown and left home we’ve been able to devote more time to gardening and it has given us a great deal of pleasure, both in the planting and as a place for barbecues and entertaining.”

• Offers over £1.175 million, contact Rettie & Co on 0141 943 3150