Space for all the family in Edinburgh's West End

Flexibility of accommodation is a feature that a lot of families are looking for in a home, but you don't often get it in a traditional city townhouse.

David and Judith Cruickshank with sons Ben and Archie
David and Judith Cruickshank with sons Ben and Archie

The ground and garden apartment at 33/1 Palmerston Place in Edinburgh has it in spades however.

David Cruickshank who with his wife Judith bought the property at the beginning of 2010 says: “We were moving from a smaller property in Dublin Street and wanted more space, plus a garden for the children.

“The flat at the time had an internal apartment with its own entrance. We didn’t need it so re-instated it as one apartment, but all the fittings and plumbing have been left under the floor so it would be easy to turn back.”

The front of the terrace

Like most traditional West End ground and garden flats, there are two ways in, at ground level into a communal hall, and down basement steps to its own front door.

The one-bedroomed apartment was on the street side and was made up of an open-plan living room and kitchen, a double bedroom with an ensuite, and its own courtyard space at the front.

The Cruickshanks took out the kitchen, and the bay windowed room now acts as their dining room although it could equally make a fifth bedroom.

David says: “It could make for a good letting flat if you didn’t need the space and you would still keep your privacy.”

The dining kitchen opens out onto the garden

The couple were drawn to the house because of the amount of space offered.

On the lower floor is now two bedrooms, two bathrooms, the dining room and a large open-plan kitchen which opens out on the private walled garden at the back.

On the upper floor, which is at ground level, is the bay windowed drawing room, and two further bedrooms. The master has its own ensuite.

David says: “The main bedroom is huge and overlooks the garden, with high ceilings and large window. It is a real luxury.”

The terrace and the garden

The couple, who both work full time, David as a partner in a law firm and Judith at the Royal Bank of Scotland, didn’t want a project and so have not changed much apart from incorporating the flat. They have replaced a bathroom and the double doors which lead to the garden.

Were they staying, they may have been tempted to explore the possibility of extending into a sunroom at the back as neighbours have done.

David says: “You wouldn’t lose much garden and it would be a nice addition.” With a young family, their daughter Hannah is ten, while twins Archie and Ben are six, they were happy to settle into a low-maintenance home with an easy enclosed garden.

As well as the terrace, just outside the kitchen, steps lead up to the lawn which is bordered with shrubs and acts as the children’s play area and a spot for their cocker spaniel Mack, to mooch around.

The drawing room

David says: “We have access to the shared garden opposite and being so close to the Water of Leith has meant there are dog walks on the doorstep.

“After spending our working lives beforehand in London and Singapore, this has just been such a great city house which you could only get in Edinburgh.”

The house is packed full of beautiful original features such as the grand entrance hall with Victorian mosaic tiles, working shutters, wood panelling and traditional fireplaces.

David also points to the exceptional storage offered by what is – although it doesn’t feel like it – essentially a flat.

“As well as the two under-pavement cellars at the front, there is a loft, unusual in a ground floor property, but it has been created from an exceptionally high ceiling in the hall. A pull-down ladder leads to a big space that is almost head height.”

The next owner will have the choice of utilising the separate flat if they wish but they will also have another advantage, according to David.

The kitchen

He says: “The West End is a great area of the city to live in but I feel that we have done the hard work in weathering the years of tramworks.

“We really felt like the area got a bit of a kicking in those years, but the village feel is returning. The Haymarket development will make it feel even smarter and shops and restaurants in places like William Street are thriving again.

“We rarely have to drive anywhere as living here it is all on the doorstep.”

Offers over £695,000, contact Strutt &

Parker on 0131 226 2500.

The front of the terrace
The dining kitchen opens out onto the garden
The terrace and the garden
The drawing room
The kitchen