A Victorian Perthshire home has changed dramatically over 18 years to suit the needs of a modern-day family
GREENWOOD is a handsome late-Victorian sandstone house sitting majestically within sprawling grounds in the pretty Perthshire town of Crieff. It has been home to Gail and Iain Boag, and their daughters Holly, 19, and Hannah, 16, for the past 18 years ago. It is a house that is bursting with laughter, music and chat. However, the perfectly manicured lawns and Farrow & Ball painted walls within Greenwood, on Gordon Road, are a far cry from the property the couple bought back in 1997.
“It was very dated,” recalls Gail. “It had not had anything done for a significant number of years. There were even two separate electricity supplies in the house. Two spinsters had lived in the house but they did everything separately, even down to having their own electricity supplies so they paid their own bills.”
She adds: “When we bought the house our daughter Holly was just one-year old so we did not have massive amounts of cash. We initially just had to do the basics in order to make it liveable and then spent the next 18 years doing what we wanted.”
Within the first six months of living at Greenwood, the couple, who both work in the IT industry, got the house rewired, re-plumbed, installed new central heating, laid new carpets and did an initial round of decorating. Since then, and as their family has grown, the house has evolved. Within the first couple of years Gail decided that the wall separating the drawing room and dining room should be knocked through to create a large entertaining room – French doors were installed, which now lead from the dining room out to the rear garden.
Ten years ago the couple decided to use the large attic as an additional level, converting it into two bedrooms and a shower room, which turned the house into a six-bedroom, three-storey home. Four years ago they embarked on another round of work when they knocked out the back wall to create a 22-foot-long family room, which opens off the kitchen and which was upgraded at the same time. The family room features a vaulted ceiling with skylights and continues out onto a covered veranda, which in turn flows onto a large deck that is lit at night and overlooks the garden.
The layout and flow of the house has changed dramatically in 18 years. The entrance porch still opens into the main reception hall, off which lie the sitting room and the newly created drawing room and dining room. A door now leads to a small study, with another into a TV room which in turn opens into the kitchen. This room now leads naturally into the family and dining space. The ground floor also has a WC and utility.
Stairs lead up to four bedrooms and a family bathroom – the master bedroom has an en-suite – and a further set of stairs continues up to the attic level to the two additional bedrooms and shower room.
While the sitting room is a cosy space with its deep red walls and original white marble fireplace, the drawing room has a distinct gentleman’s club feel thanks to the cherrywood floor, tweed armchair, brown leather Ralph Lauren sofas and library books wallcovering, which has been hung within a niche beside the fireplace. An archway leads into the dining area where a piano finds its natural home.
“We knocked these two rooms together to make a more liveable space,” says Gail.
“We do a lot of entertaining so this is the room where friends and family all congregate. I wanted a library feel in here. I found the Ralph Lauren sofas in an antique sale and tried to recreate the Ralph Lauren look with the wooden floor and library wallpaper.”
The TV room has evolved over the years from the girls’ playroom, into a den and now family TV space. Doors can have this room closed off from the kitchen or opened up to be part of the open-plan space at the rear of the house. The couple employed The James Denham Partnership to design the new family room, which has created a contemporary cooking, eating and living area within this old house.
A mix of granite and solid wood worktops has been fitted in the kitchen over cream matt units which rest on a Karndean covered floor. As well as an Aga, the couple installed underfloor heating in the kitchen and family room, which is furnished with a large dining table, scarlet sofa, leopard print covered footstool and red leather recliner.
“The kitchen and extension have transformed the house both from the way the house looks and in the way we live our lives,” says Gail. “This is where we cook, watch TV and do homework. It is fantastic. We like to entertain and have lots of barbecues, so we decided to get the veranda and decking strengthened underneath. Iain got it concrete reinforced to take the weight of between 150 and 200 people. We have tested it – we have had around 120 people out here at the one time for barbecues. It is a great party space.”
Upstairs, the wet room-style en-suite, which now also has underfloor heating, is finished with Italian stone tiles, a rain shower and features an original cast iron bath that has been re-enamelled. The family bathroom has a nautical blue and white finish, while the shower room has a stone tiled floor.
Having loved Greenwood for the past 18 years, the family are now on the move, though are happy they have brought fun and laughter into the house.
“It has been a fabulous home to bring a family up in,” admits Gail. “As much as I love old property, they don’t always suit modern lifestyles, which is why you have to change them sometimes. The house has evolved and now the living space, and the way it enables us all to be together, is great. It is just a lovely way to live.” n
• Greenwood, Gordon Road, Crieff, is for sale at O/O £695,000 through Rettie (0131-220 4160, www.rettie.co.uk)