NESTLED among mature trees and open lawns, it is easy to see why Derek and Linda Chapman fell for Maplehurst’s charms when they bought the eight-bedroom property in Galashiels five years ago.
Maplehurst has a romantic and alluring history that is still felt around the house today. Built by local mill owner Andrew Fairgrieve in 1906 for his Canadian-born bride Carrie, the couple took inspiration from the Canadian and Scottish Arts and Crafts movement of the time, as well as ideas gained from a visit to a New York Expo. The result is the aptly named Maplehurst, which features Canadian maple leaves on every stained glass window, Canadian-inspired high windowsills and Voysey detailing on the oak banisters.
The house is set over four floors, with the basement housing the “working” rooms – boiler room, laundry, wine cellar and storage rooms.
However, on entering the house at ground-floor level you are treated to a feast of architectural and tactile detailing that is simply breathtaking – from the arched stained glass window crowning the front door, to the oak panelling that was uniquely cut against the grain and adorns the walls.
An original sliding door leads into the reception hall, which boasts colourful early 1900 tapestries above the oak panelling. Arched stained windows frame the fireplace, which still has its original tiling intact. Double sliding doors lead into the drawing room, with its vast bay window and additional turreted bay bringing striking views of the gardens into the house.
The drawing room in turn leads into the formal dining room. A black Aga dominates the kitchen, where cream-painted units circle the room. A family room, butler’s pantry, scullery and WC with quaint original marble sink are also found on the ground floor.
The Chapmans are only the fifth owners of Maplehurst. They discovered it in 2008 when they had sold their farm in Aberdeenshire and were scouring Scotland for a new home that they could also run as a boutique guesthouse.
“Derek had always wanted to run a B&B or guesthouse,” recalls Linda. “We looked at lots of different properties in lots of different areas. We came to see this house during a house-hunting trip to the Borders – Derek and I just fell in love with it. The house had been so well cared for and had its character and stained glass intact. We bought it from people who used it as a family home but a previous owner had successfully used it as a guesthouse. It suited our needs as bedrooms already had en-suites so we could use it as both our home and a guesthouse again.”
Nevertheless, the couple still wanted to put their own stamp on it to create a home and garden that met their needs and those of visitors.
Within the first six months of moving in they created a new en-suite for the Mackintosh bedroom, upgraded other bathrooms, installed a new multi-flow system to ensure all the showers had sufficient water pressure, got the house hard-wired for fire safety, and decorated all four floors from top to bottom.
They also brought a garden designer in to terrace the grounds immediately outside the house and create a substantial patio. They opened the house for business at the start of 2009 before embarking on a mission to find a more eco-friendly and economically viable source to heat the house – last year they finally installed a thermo dynamic water heating system and air-to-air heat pump, which meets both remits.
During the past five years Linda has painstakingly furnished the house with appropriate Arts and Crafts furniture and décor, buying pieces from Michael Vee Designs of Melrose and Birch House Antiques, as well as the Old Dairy in Ford. With Michael Vee’s help, she has chosen a range of William Morris, Zoffany and Sanderson vintage wall coverings for various rooms, as well as commissioning triple-lined curtains throughout and a mix of Farrow & Ball paint tones. The result is a home that truly celebrates the very best of the Arts and Crafts movement.
“It was so apparent to me that to create this feel in the house and be sympathetic to the period then I had to be quite clever and mix and match furniture,” admits Linda. “There is an eclectic mix. If I see something that I think will work then I just buy it. We have various Arts and Crafts pieces, including a Monart glass lamp in the drawing room, as well as Voysey curtains.
“I searched for two years for the drawing room curtain fabric, and for two-and-a-half years for the flocked Persian Tulip Zoffany wallpaper in the dining room. I wanted to get it right.”
A baby grand piano sits in the bay window of the drawing room, while a newly reupholstered Lutyens library chair fills the turret.
The house has eight bedrooms, but they use four for guests – the Mackintosh, Moorcroft, MacNair and Morris rooms – which are all on the first floor along with their own bedroom, dressing room and en-suite.
The second-floor level has three further bedrooms, along with a shower room and small kitchen – they generally let friends and family use this floor when they stay. Each bedroom features hand-picked furnishings – in particular, the Morris room has William Morris wallpaper, curtains and fabric-covered headboard, as well as Morris tartan-covered armchairs.
While the reception hallway is a comfortable sitting room, Linda has created another seating area within the first-floor landing – a tweed-covered sofa and leather armchairs have been strategically placed around a bespoke dresser which was made to conceal a fridge to house refreshments for guests.
Linda has clearly cherished every minute of giving Maplehurst new life and sharing it with others. It is therefore reluctantly that the couple are now selling.
“We have had some heart-wrenching discussions, especially as we are busier this year than ever before,” admits Linda. “We have worked very hard and have loved every minute of it here. We have had people from all walks of life stay with us, from top London judges to the leader of the opposition in Hong Kong. We will miss the house, but also the people.”
Maplehurst, 42 Abbotsford Road, Galashiels, is for sale with a guide price of £875,000, Macpherson Property (01896 820 226, www.macphersonproperty.co.uk) Maplehurst Guesthouse (www.maplehurstguesthouse.co.uk)