A smart townhouse has served its time as a summer haven for returning Scots, discovers Kirsty McLuckie.
For many ex-pat Scots, keeping a home in Edinburgh although their working life is largely spent abroad is seen as essential for both practical reasons as well as sentimental ones.
For Jim Walker, whose career has taken him all over the world, this is definitely the case.
Working as an economist in Hong Kong, he says that his house at 13 Claremont Crescent is a haven each summer when he and his wife Connie come home to escape the heat of the Far East.
“We tend to time it when the Festival is on and for a few weeks we really enjoy living an Edinburgh life. It is all about having somewhere central to access the city, and big enough so family and friends can come and stay.”
The smart Georgian townhouse is certainly a quintessential Edinburgh property. Part of a substantial and handsome crescent, the house is in a tranquil spot, but only a short walk from the city centre.
The Walkers bought it in 2014 after it had been the subject of a comprehensive refurbishment project managed by Quantum Forth.
Jim says: “It was exactly what we wanted, we didn’t want to have to do anything to it and it was fully restored with some lovely period features but all the fittings were brand new.”
The couple were impressed particularly by the upstairs drawing room. “You get a wonderful view of Claremont Gardens,” says Jim.
The three floors of the house measure nearly 4,000sq ft in all and combine contemporary, modern touches blended with the fine period features, such as the elegant sweeping staircase running up the centre of the house which is lit by an original cupola.
Window shutters are all in working order and features such as the Doric columns, extensive cornice work and the ornamental wrought iron balconies have all been restored as has each of the large sash and case windows.
The reception hall on the ground floor leads to an informal sitting room with space for dining and a fireplace.
This has a set of large double doors leading through to the spacious, state-of-the-art kitchen breakfast room and utility room beyond so it can be both open-plan or closed off.
Designed by Colin Wong, of Development Direct, who is regularly named UK kitchen and bathroom designer of the year, these parts of the house are indeed impressive.
The kitchen is not only elegant but has a full range of Hacker units with integrated Neff appliances including an oven, an oven/microwave, warming plate, induction hob, extractor, wine cooler, a fridge freezer and instant boiling water tap.
The design has Silestone work tops with mirror splash backs and a large island unit with pull-out drawers, a breakfast bar and pop-up power sockets.
Jim says: “It is pretty impressive and definitely one of the things that attracted us to the house.”
On the first floor and overlooking the front of the property there is a grand, formal L-shaped drawing room with three, full-length, south-facing sash and case windows and an attractive fireplace.
The room is a reminder of the elegant lifestyle that townhouses such as these would have afforded when they were first built, but they still lend themselves to entertaining on a grand scale.
The master bedroom is also on the first floor and takes up the whole of the back of the house with a chic ensuite bathroom leading through to a fully fitted dressing room.
On the second floor there are three further generous double bedrooms, two with ensuite shower rooms and one with an ensuite bathroom, so the house is well laid out to cater for guests.
While Jim and Connie haven’t spent a huge amount of time here, their son, Rowan, who runs the Bearded Baker in Rodney Street with his fiancée Julia Wayper, has lived here in their absence.
It is their move to Drem which has prompted the sale. Jim says: “When we bought it we were contemplating coming home but while we have enjoyed the luxury of having so much space on our summer visits, it is really a family home and we feel it should used as much as possible.”
13 Claremont Crescent is on the market for offers over £925,000 with Simpson & Marwick