Prestige property: A-listed superstar for entertainment

Northbar House in the village of Inchinnan, near Renfrew, is a striking A-listed structure in extensive grounds that dates back to at least 1742.

That is the date on the coat of arms which decorates the front of the house, but it is thought that parts of the building date back further –markings on a stone staircase inside indicate that this portion was constructed in 1692.

It is remarkable then, that this is only the second time Northbar House has been on the market – the first being 27 years ago, when its current owners, Bill and Esther Cairns, snapped it up.

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Esther explains: “It had been in the same family for 300 years. It had passed down to Lord and Lady Blythswood, and we bought it from their grandson.”

Northbar House and driveway

Lord Blythswood was Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire from 1904 to 1908 and acted as an aide-de-camp for Queen Victoria.

Esther and Bill are local, they own a neighbouring farm and run an award-winning cafe in Inchinnan, The Farm at No. 12.

The Cairns also operate a tree surgery business, so as well as the main building, the five acres of grounds that surround Northbar House were a real attraction.

Surprisingly for a building of its age, the Cairns’ new home did not need any structural work. Esther recalls: “The house was in immaculate condition when we bought it and, over the years, we have fitted new bathrooms and a new kitchen, replaced all the flooring, redecorated and maintained it. But the fabric of the building is absolutely solid – it has been standing for 300 years, so it is not going anywhere.”

The decking area and discreet hot tub
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The house is packed with original features, from the fireplaces to the aforementioned stone staircase, and eye-catching wood panelling.

Esther says: “We haven’t changed any of that, it is so beautiful that it would be a shame to have done so. We have just tried to bring it into the 21st-Century levels of comfort without taking anything away.”

It has been a fantastic family house for the Cairns; the couple brought up their three children here and they now have nine grandchildren, so the house has always been full.

The Byre’s open-plan living area
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Part of the adaptations the Cairns have made reflect this. The top floor, which is a huge loft conversion with circular windows at either end of its 40-foot expanse, has a pink bar area with disco ball at one end and a seating area at the other – perfect for parties, or to keep the children entertained. A decking area outside the kitchen is home to a hot tub and seating area, and is a real sun trap.

The Byre, which is a separate building, has also been converted in spectacular style. Traditional and quaint on the outside, it opens up to a double-height living room, kitchen and bathroom, with a spiral staircase leading to a bedroom above. Esther says: “We’ve never rented it out, but it has been useful over the years. If the kids were in the midst of buying houses and there was a gap, they would always move in there and it allowed them to live independently – it acts like a separate guest house.”

The garden of Northbar House is also impressive, and the Cairns have faithfully kept the ornamental shape of the curated yew trees on is lawn. The acreage includes woodland walks and the mature trees that surround the boundaries ensure total privacy. Esther says: “It is low maintenance, you just need to mow the lawn, but the rest more or less looks after itself.”

The kitchen

One of the benefits of the property, according to Esther, is its central position: “It is three miles to everywhere – Braehead, the airport and the M8, so it is really handy for travel.”

Esther and Bill now plan to move to the farm to be closer to their cafe business. She sums up: “This house really needs a family, but we have certainly enjoyed our time here.”

Northbar House, Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, is priced at offers over £830,000.

For more information, contact Corum on 01505-691 400.

The sitting room in the main house