Prestige viewing: Pleasant surprise in the Edinburgh suburbs

A successful blend of the old and the new by way of an eye-opening glass extension has elevated this family home out of the ordinary, says Kirsty McLuckie

6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh

The home at 6a Merchiston Park is a beautiful main door lower villa in the Edinburgh suburb of Merchiston.

From street level, it looks like a straightforward single-storey addition to the adjacent main house, but on entering there are surprises.

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It was actually built at the same time as the larger property, in 1870, to act as servants’ accommodation.

6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh

When the two homes were split, 6a was allocated half of the ground floor of the two-storey property, so the sitting room and fourth bedroom have much grander proportions and built-in features than the rest of the villa.

But the real eye-opener is the beautiful modern extension, which connects the interior of the house with the garden.

The sheer glass box adorns the back of the property, giving space for a dining area off the kitchen and a seating area reached by French doors from the sitting room.

The garden is very generously sized and bordered by a beautiful stone wall.

6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh

Freelance photographer Bethan Hughes and her partner, Will, bought the house 12 years ago, looking for a garden for their young family after living in a flat in the West End. Their two boys are now aged 15 and 11.

Bethan says: “The garden was the main attraction, it is just so safe. And it is big, considering how close we are to Bruntsfield Place.”

The previous owner was award-winning Edinburgh architect Allan Murray, who completed the glass extension some time around 2000.

The house has been updated in Bethan and Wills’ tenure – the kitchen is five years old and the bedroom ensuite was replaced two years ago. But the garden was their main project.

6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh

She explains: “There wasn’t much there before, but we’ve put in raised beds, the greenhouse, a sunken trampoline and a sandpit with three tonnes of sand in it.”

Of the unusual layout of the interior, Bethan says: “Because we have the extra two more formal rooms, our living room has a gorgeous parquet floor.

“It is beautiful, with really high ceilings, but the extension is lovely in a different way. The juxtaposition of the new and old is really what makes the house unique.”

The glass extension is open plan to the kitchen on one side. Bethan says: “It is nice that it all opens up at the back and there is just a really pleasing flow to the whole house.

6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh

“Even though we have so much glass, we have the high walls in the garden so it is private.”

The walls mean that the garden is sheltered from the elements too. Two trees, which had been overshadowing the space, have been taken out to allow everything else to thrive.

Bethan is originally from West Wales and says: “As a country girl originally, that connection to the outside space is really important to me.”

The location is a real attraction for families, the catchment schools are the highly-rated Bruntsfield Primary and Boroughmuir, but the house is also very close to George Watson’s College and Merchiston Castle school for boys.

Equally, 6a would be an ideal downsizing property, as it is all on one level and has the outside space to occupy the most green-fingered retiree. The area does tend to be one in which residents want to stay.

Bethan says that the plans is to definitely stay local, but to look for something slightly larger. “It will be a wrench to leave here as it has meant so much to us – our younger son was born in the house.”

6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh

It is the connection to the outside that she will miss most. “When the sun is shining it is stunning, but even on an overcast day, you are really aware of the weather changing and the whole house is always flooded with light.”

The property at 6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh, is priced at offers over £895,000.

For more information, telephone Jamie McNeill at Savills on 0131-247 3770.

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6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh
6a Merchiston Park, Edinburgh

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