Prestige property: Stargazers should view this unique Arts and Crafts home

Netherkirk House near Perth is a truly unique dwelling. Set on the edge of the small conservation village of Rait, it is a relatively new build, but its design has taken its inspiration from the home’s picturesque location.

Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth
Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth

Rait contains thatched cottages, some of which are thought to date back to the 1700s, a rarity for Scotland, so creating a new house –particularly one of Netherkirk’s scale – took sensitive design.

In a recent Scottish Government appraisal of the village’s conservation status, Netherkirk House is approvingly described as: “An interesting historicist composition reminiscent of Arts and Crafts style architecture with excellent quality materials and detailing.”

It was completed in 2006 from a design by architect Ulrich Lawson, who is known for creating romantic buildings in a traditional style.

Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth

Richard and Barbara Lerski bought Netherkirk about 14 years ago. The former recalls: “I worked in Dundee, but we were looking to move to the country. When we first saw it we were amazed by the uninterrupted view to Dundee, the Tay, and the rail and road bridge. It is on the edge of the village but looking outwards.”

The couple were also drawn to the interior. He says: “It is amazing how much focus has been on individual bits of design, such as the deep coving and the staircase, which is handmade of Dunkeld elm.”

An old churchyard nearby inspired the name Netherkirk, but also the Gothic touches such as arched windows, stone detailing and the interior door shapes. The oak front door is curved to sit in the single-storey circular entrance with its conic roof.

Richard is a retired medical physicist and Barbara a retired teacher, and they have added their own improvements to Netherkirk over their years here.

Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth. Image: Square Foot

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Richard says: “We added a sun room by Mozolowski and Murray for a space to look over the garden that we could use all year round.”

In addition, there is a large dining kitchen with Aga and utility room, a sitting room with stone fireplace, and an ensuite bedroom on the ground floor. Upstairs is a stunning master bedroom, with full-height ceilings, a seating area, and a dressing room and ensuite, plus two further double bedrooms.

Richard comments: “Between us, we have seven grandchildren, so although it is a big house for two people it is excellent for entertaining or having friends and family to stay.

Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth

Perth-based landscapers Gardens Galore totally transformed the external space, which the Lerskis felt had too much hardstanding.

The rear garden is south-east facing and the covered terrace with its stone pillars and archways has elevated views.

There are now areas of lawn, a vegetable garden, mature trees, shrubs and borders, plus an attractive summer house and workshops, all with electricity.

Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth. Image: Square Foot

A surprising and unique feature is Richard’s observatory, a little green domed building in the garden housing telescopes, computers and photographic equipment.

He explains: “I’ve always been interested in astronomy, so when I retired I decided to take it more seriously. It’s all south-facing, which is ideal, and I have an 11-inch telescope to search and photograph planets. It links to computers in the house, so you don’t have to be out there to be observing.”

The observatory building will be staying when the Lerskis sell up and ship out, although Richard will be taking his telescope.

A move to the sea is on the cards for the couple to be closer to family but also to further pursue their hobbies. Barbara is a keen swimmer, while a coastal sky is going to allow Richard much more scope for stargazing.

For more information, contact Galbraith on 01738 451 111.

Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth. Image: Square Foot
Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth. Image: Square Foot
Netherkirk House, Rait near Perth