Prestige property: Capital asset with extra interest
It’s a well trodden path to improve a period home with an extended kitchen and garden room, but the house at 40 Frogston Road West in Edinburgh’s Fairmilehead is a great example of getting it right.
The former manse dates from 1937 and has beautiful Art Deco styling redolent of the era. It was being sold by the Church of Scotland when James and Melanie Dobie bought it in December 2000.
The house had been the manse for the Fairmilehead Parish church and Melanie explains that although the couple could see the potential, the property hadn’t had an awful lot of money spent on it.
She recalls: “The first project was the kitchen, which was small, with a maid’s room, a scullery and a coal cellar attached, so we made into one room.”
The result is a sizeable dual-aspect dining-kitchen fitted with solid maple wall and base units and handmade Fired Earth tiles and integral appliances. There is a separate utility room and the former kitchen is now the adjoining dining room.
The house dates from 1937 and retains plenty of charming original features in its picture rails, coving and cupboards, which are very 1930s in style.
A family living room is to the rear, with views over the back garden, as is the study, with French doors, while a large elegant sitting room has an open fireplace, and views of both the front and back garden.
Melanie, who is an accountant, has always enjoyed interior design and says the decor of the house is a hobby she has pursued over the years. “The colours are fairly neutral, but the idea is to create flow throughout the house.”
The garden room was built in 2005. Melanie explains: “We really wanted a library in a gardenroom – a space that would work with the existing house and the outside, but somewhere where we could keep our books and have a reading room.”
Edinburgh-based architect Alexander Philip designed the extension. The room faces onto the property’s garden which is very private, so that aspect can be completely open, but there are also high windows above the bookcases, so plenty of natural light for reading.
The garden was another big project for the Dobies, it was completely redesigned at the same time as the extension was added.
Melanie recalls that the original space was mainly grassed with very little planting, although it is fringed with mature trees so the house is not overlooked.
For the landscaping, the Dobies chose Gillian Polley of Polley Garden Design. Melanie says: “The design she created added mystery and intrigue – now you have to walk round the garden to discover it all.”
The exterior brief included a new terrace leading from the house, lawns and planting beds, a second sunny sitting area in the garden and a separate semi-screened play area for the couple’s children. There is natural paving and the planting is decorative and aromatic with structural plants, climbers, a pergola and trellising dividing the different areas.
The reimagined garden has had a decade to settle and mature and is looking its best, as the pictures above, taken last summer, show. The Dobies have a gardener who visits once a fortnight, but it is relatively low maintenance.
The couple’s children, Nicola and Thomas, have now left home and James, a solicitor, is semi-retired, so the plan is to split their time between a cottage in the Borders and a smaller place in the city.
Unsurprisingly, 40 Frogston Road West has already attracted a flurry of viewers in its first few days on the market, but it is that kind of house that almost every family buyer wants. The glorious outside space has been made all the more usable by the stunning garden room.
40 Frogston Road West, Edinburgh, is priced at offers over £950,000.
For more information, contact Rettie & Co. on 0131-220 4160
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