Drem Farmhouse in East Lothian is a spectacular village home with some extraordinary features, including a ruined chapel, a village green and a productive grapevine.
The house is B-listed, and dates from the mid-1700s, although the more formal rooms are all contained in a significant extension which was completed in the Georgian era, and gives the house its pleasing symmetrical facade.
The wall of a Knights Templar chapel and a stone pump house in the grounds are even older – dating from the 1500s – and are reputedly connected with the semi-militaristic monastic order of St John. Both are scheduled ancient monuments.
Hugh Smith, who bought the house 20 years ago with his wife, Marlene, says: “We think the village green belongs to the house because it used to be a mill pond for the farm. We keep it mown but it is open to the public.”
The vine, meanwhile, produces abundant sweet black grapes – some 30kg last year – and there are currently 21 bottles of Chateau Drem 2020 waiting to be tasted.
The Smiths didn’t have far to move when they first took on the farmhouse, the couple had lived just across the field for the preceding 20 years, but bought the property for its equestrian facilities.
The pair’s daughter, and now their granddaughter, keep ponies in the paddock and the old stable block has been replaced in the Smith’s time with a more modern building which includes loose boxes and a tack room.
Another potential attraction, as well as the house’s obvious attributes as a large family home, is the potential to run the farmhouse as a hospitality business.
There are six bedrooms, three of which are ensuite, plus two more bathrooms, laid out over two distinct areas.
Downstairs, there’s a huge amount of entertaining space too – a kitchen and open-plan sitting room, drawing room, dining room, morning room and a vast garden room with its own kitchenette.
In addition, there is a self-contained two-bedroomed annex attached to the house and a two-bedroomed lodge house at the gate of the treelined driveway. The gatelodge may be sold separately.
Hugh says: “We refurbished the annex and have offered that as an Airbnb, and the lodge house is currently let. Marlene ran an outside catering company, and also offered bed and breakfast in the house, very successfully.”
Meanwhile, Hugh appreciated the ease of commuting from Drem railway station – less than quarter of a mile away – into Edinburgh, where he was a partner in a law firm until his retirement.
The house is packed with original features. The drawing room has a broad west-facing full-height bay window, with a panelled surround incorporating an opening casement out to the terrace and garden.
The dining room has its own fireplaces, panelling and cornice, and is west and south facing, while the morning room faces south and east as its name suggests.
The garden is beautiful. Hugh says: “We were lucky in that the elderly lady who lived here before us was a very keen gardener. From there it has been a case of maintaining the mature plants and adding more.
“It is divided into lots of different areas. The orchard is particularly productive as is the kitchen garden and guests were always treated to fresh strawberries and raspberries for breakfast, as well as jams from the fruit trees.”
The couple now plan to downsize, but hope that the next owners appreciate living here as much as they have. Hugh says: “It has wonderful equestrian facilities and has been very successful as a hospitality business as well, but most of all it has been a wonderful family home.”
Area Drem lies in the heart of the East Lothian countryside and is close to the coast. It is 40 minutes from Edinburgh by car.
Schools Excellent local primary schooling at Athelstaneford and secondary at the High School in North Berwick. The Compass School in Haddington is an independent primary school and prep schools are at Loretto in Musselburgh and Belhaven Hill, with secondary private schooling available in Edinburgh.
Interior The house has a morning room, drawing room, dining room, breakfasting kitchen and garden room, six bedrooms, three ensuites and two further bathrooms. Two-bedroomed annex. Two-bedroomed gate lodge, which may be sold separately.
Exterior Well-maintained and colourful gardens, three acres of paddocks with a field shelter Traditional courtyard with loose boxes and a tack room, garage, workshop and wood store.
Drem Farmhouse, East Lothian is priced at offers over £1.6m in two lots. For more information, call Rettie & Co. on 0131-624 9087.
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