Midlothian home that is off grid but not far off the beaten track

Ba’ad Park is a charming home which has spectacular views over Harperrig Reservoir, just 12 miles from Edinburgh.

It was the secluded and quiet location that first attracted Gillian Knight, who bought itBa'ad Park, Midlothian with her late husband, Jeremy Webber, in 1998 – exactly 200 years after the original cottage was built, according to its engraved datestone of 1798.

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The front of the house. Picture, Strutt and Parker

Webber wanted to live near water while Knight wanted to be near hills, so Ba’ad Park was a perfect solution.The couple were also looking for a project and Webber, a theatre and festival lighting engineer, was also keen to see if they could create a sustainable house.Their son, Oscar, was born at the start of the project and has grown up with it, eventually lending a hand himself in work that has taken the best part of two decades.

The sitting room. Picture, Strutt and Parker

The site was originally two cottages with stables, but it has become one main house with an attached contemporary annexe of stone and cedar, designed by conservation architect Daniela Dobrescu-Parr.During the process, they have dug down to create space for an extra storey, built upwards and extended outwards.

The view from a first floor balcony. Picture, Strutt and Parker

The annexe was originally designated a workshop, but the beautiful contemporary design led to a rethink and the plans were amended to include two bedrooms with a kitchen-living area with a balcony. It is from here that the best views are found.Knight says: “It is a very modern building, but it reflects the traditional style and it really links the house with the water.”

Master bedroom. Picture, Strutt and Parker

A radical overhaul was required for the original part of the building, taking it back to the original stone walls before replastering with traditional lime plaster.Lime mortar was utilised on the outside walls and, where possible, original materials and reclaimed items were used. Where windows had to be replaced, like-for-like sash-and-case were installed in keeping with the age of the house.Webber in particular was keen to source materials from reclamation yards.

The kitchen with the floor reclaimed from a school gymnasium.Picture, Strutt and Parker

He found the oak flooring, used in the first floor kitchen and living room, from a sports hall – complete with marking tape – in a demolition yard in Glasgow. Knight says: “We planned to sand it down, but decided to keep the colours for character. It adds a really quirky element.”Much of the work was carried out by Webber and Knight in between their day jobs – Knight works in clinical research – which explains the length of the project. Their designs were driven in part by an ambition to be off-grid and to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Today, the power comes from a wind turbine, set away from the house in a corner of the garden. As a back-up there is a generator, but Knight says it is switched on rarely on very still days perhaps once every few weeks, and even then it will mainly work from energy stored in its batteries. The feed-in tariff pays about £1,100 a year but a new owner could opt to connect to the National Grid.The kitchen has a wood-burning Rayburn, which assists in the hot water production along with solar water heating panels and an oil-fired boiler.

But this is a warm and light house. There are very high levels of insulation and the ground floor has underfloor heating .As for the location, Knight says that they have enjoyed having the reservoir on the doorstep. “You can get a fishing permit for trout, and we go kayaking. You can also swim in it because it isn’t a drinking-water reservoir.”There is an abundance of wildlife to watch, from geese to osprey and otters.

Harperrig Reservoir was built to feed the paper mills in North Edinburgh, via the Water of Leith, in the 1850s.It is close to an old drovers’ road and Knight says the whole area is perfect for walking. “I can leave the house and walk straight up into the Pentlands.”The house has a mature walled garden at the back which has a lawn bordered by broadleaf trees and a stone dyke, with a large area of naturalised land. There are two outbuildings, one housing the generator and the other being used as a log shed to feed the wood-burning stoves.It really is a rural idyll, so secluded and set up for a real country life. That it is within half an hour of Edinburgh city centre is only one of Ba’ad Park’s wonders.

Offers over £550,000, contact Strutt and Parker on 0131-718 4595.