Prestige property: Victorian villa is blooming wonder

Glen Flora on Gillespie Road in southern Edinburgh is a striking period property, set in its own private grounds in one of the city’s most desirable areas.

It is close to the centre of Colinton Village, but such is the screening provided by the mature trees on the boundaries of its one-and-a-half-acre garden that the house can’t be seen from the road.

David and Maggie Robinson bought it 26 years ago. He recalls: “Our two children were about nine and 12 at the time, and we were feeling the squeeze in our last home. This has all the space we needed and a really good sized garden, and the views are magnificent.”

Hide Ad

The outlook is over the tops of the boundary trees to the Pentlands including Allermuir Hill. David says: “I stopped the car as I was driving out of the drive this morning and took a picture of the sunrise. Because we are set high up we have a fabulous big sky too.”

Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm
Hide Ad

Glen Flora was built in 1890 and extended in 1910. Its impressive verandah, however, is original. David says: “The story is that the man it was built for was previously in India, so that would explain the look. For us, the verandah is a place to have breakfast in the morning sun.”

The distinctive structure runs on two sides, from the south-east to the south-west of the house. Inside, the principal rooms make the most of the sunshine too – there are three bright public rooms plus a large dining-kitchen, which has the advantages of a larder, wine cellar and a utility room.

Hide Ad

There is a solitary downstairs ensuite bedroom, while five good-sized bedrooms are situated on the first floor – and the top floor of the turret has two more rooms. The house needed work when the Robinsons bought it, most of which the couple have tackled themselves.

One major project was to remove the battleship-grey paint on every wooden surface of Glen Flora. It all had to be stripped back, including the staircase and every door.

Hide Ad
Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm

David adds: “The house was mostly open fires, so we upgraded the central heating system and added 20 radiators. But we kept the fireplaces in the sitting room, dining room and in the drawing room –which has two.

Hide Ad

“The size of the drawing room means there is space for a grand piano at one end, and we’ve played badminton in there, over the sofas.”

Both Robinson children held their pre-wedding parties in the generous drawing room, with 70 or 80 people gathering to celebrate at each.

Hide Ad

The garden of the aptly named Flora Glen is a testament to the skills of both David and Maggie, who designed and landscaped the grounds, including some beautiful additional touches. David explains: “After we moved in, we discovered that there was a spring in the garden so we captured the water for the cascade.”

Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm
Hide Ad

This spectacular water feature includes a square lily pond, which feeds water down stone steps to a larger circular pond below. The mature trees provided a backdrop to plantings of shrubs and smaller trees and Maggie and David also created a kitchen garden to supply themselves with vegetables, fruits, berries, and herbs.

The house and garden represents a tremendous amount of work for a busy working family – Maggie was a chemistry lecturer while David worked as an actuary. Now semi-retired with the children having flown, they didn’t keep their empty nest for long, having invited a family of Ukrainians to stay. David says: “It’s nice to have the space for it.”

Hide Ad

On selling Flora Glen, he adds: “We are very sad to leave it but we aren’t moving far away – we’ve always felt that this is the best place to live in the city.

“It is four minutes from the Water of Leith and from there the path leads up to the Pentlands, which is great to have on your doorstep.

Hide Ad
Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm

“But it will be a wrench to leave the house which has been a wonderful place to bring up a family.”

Hide Ad

Glen Flora, Gillespie Road, Edinburgh, is priced at offers over £1.75m.

For more information, contact Knight Frank on 0131-222 9600.

Hide Ad
Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm
Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm
Hide Ad
Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm
Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm
Hide Ad
Glen Flora, Gillespie Road. Image: Square Foot/Angus Behm