Prestige viewing: Happy ending for Victorian plot

Hard work and imagination has paid off with the stunning restoration of a property and grounds in rural Midlothian, writes Kirsty McLuckie

Elmbank, Polton Road

Elmbank is an exceptional home offering space, privacy and a rural feel.

You could say that it is the perfect set-up for a family that lives together but dreams of having their individual space – not an uncommon inclusion on wishlists in post-lockdown times.

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Approached through a private drive running through abundant woods, the main house is a substantial Victorian property, dating from 1850, with elegant symmetrical proportions.

Elmbank, Polton Road

Inside, it has bright, airy rooms which have been refurbished to a high standard. It has five bedrooms and a morning room, sitting room, study and a beautiful sunroom.

A detached coachhouse to the rear of the property has been transformed into a very chic and pretty cottage, with varied roof heights and sage woodwork.

Nestled amongst the landscaped gardens is a large treehouse, while a quaint Victorian summer house overlooks the lawn.

Murdo and Ruth MacLennan bought Elmbank nine years ago, looking to move out of the centre of Edinburgh with their two children and join forces with Ruth’s parents.

Elmbank, Polton Road

She recalls: “We made the decision to live as a multi-generational family, so one of the greatest benefits was the coachhouse which was designated to be their home. However, it was completely dilapidated and so that was our first big restoration project.”

The resulting cottage could be described as the nigh-perfect downsize property, with the interior space comprising living, dining and seating areas in a glorious double-height room with an atrium and mezzanine level.

The main house is more traditional, but it also required work. Ruth explains: “The previous owners had lived here since 1943, and then it had been empty for two years. It had great bones and was a beautiful house, but it needed an awful lot done – not all of it glamorous.

“We put in a damp proof course and replaced the drains. There was only one bathroom, so we replaced that and added two more.”

Elmbank, Polton Road

The old orangery on the side of the house had to come down, but it was replaced by a garden room which is much more substantial. It now has a slate roof, meaning the family can comfortably use it all year round.

Once the work inside the house was complete, the MacLennans tackled the garden which was totally overgrown.

Ruth says: “Again, it was a lot of work to get it to the easy-maintenance stage it is now, but that was really down to my parents who have worked tirelessly on it.

“Having parents living next door has been ideal, we never needed babysitters and there is always someone in to take in deliveries. We can have dinner together when we choose, but both houses are private so we have our own space.”

Elmbank, Polton Road

The MacLennan children are now 16 and 22. Ruth says: “The treehouse was put in about six years ago. The two boys love it and it has probably had more use in recent years than when they were little.

“It has two rooms and it just became a real party house for them, and really great for us to be able to contain groups of teenagers without having them in the house. The garden is so big that 30 or 40 of them can be milling around without disturbing us too much.”

Inside the main house, the garden room is a favourite spot for family gatherings but, when she’s in a more solitary mood, Ruth says that the room she will miss most is the ensuite, with its bath overlooking the garden and basking in the glow of an open fire.

With such amenities, Elmbank could be said to be the perfect house for family harmony.

As Ruth says: “Although it is time for us to move on, it has been a very happy home.”


Elmbank, Polton Road

Area There is a supermarket at Eskbank, and retail parks at Straiton and Kinnaird Park. The local village of Lasswade has three excellent restaurants and pubs, which are all in a few minutes’ walk away.

Schools In the catchment for Lasswade Primary School and Lasswade High. The nearest independent schools are Merchiston Castle, George Watson’s and Loretto.

Interior The main house has five bedrooms plus morning room, sitting room, study, dining kitchen and garden room. There are two bathrooms and a walk-in shower, plus utility room. The cottage is a spacious one bedroom, with ensuite bathroom, breakfasting kitchen, and sitting and dining room, with an open-plan mezzanine above.

Exterior Lovely landscaped gardens boasting a two-roomed treehouse with power, and a Victorian summer house. Large lawns, ornamental ponds, a wooded area and borders.

Elmbank, Polton Road, Lasswade is available for offers over £1.275 million.

For more information, contact Knight Frank on 0131-222 9606.

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Elmbank, Polton Road
Elmbank, Polton Road