A recent office conversion in a Georgian building has created a beautiful and practical home, discovers Kirsty McLuckie.
Not all Georgian Edinburgh New Town townhouses were built as grand five-storey homes.
Some were designed on a more practical basis, for those buyers whose pockets weren’t quite as deep as the residents of Charlotte Square or Moray Place.
Lying north of George Street in the heart of the New Town, North Castle Street is now an enviable location in one of Edinburgh’s most desirable residential areas.
Darren and Susan May live at number 42, a double upper apartment and Susan says: “When these houses were built apparently they were designed so that a family, perhaps a wealthy merchant, could use the lower three storeys as a townhouse and then rent out the top two floors – so we basically have a purpose built flat dating from 1793.”
As such, the apartment has not been “chopped up” and the layout lends itself very well to modern living.
Susan says: “The layout was definitely one of the attractions. We like that it is on two floors with the main living space and the master bedroom on the lower floor and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.”
The location was another major plus, with the house being close to the centre of town, but not in a main thoroughfare.
But the third attraction was the finish. The whole house was undergoing a conversion by Sundial and Dundas Estates when they bought it and they were able to have a hand in the decision making of the finish.
Susan says: “We got the benefit of excellent central heating, really good top-end appliances in the kitchen and high quality bathrooms but you’ve also got the lovely features and proportions of a Georgian apartment.”
Situated at the top end of North Castle Street, with the main rooms overlooking the back of the building, there are also some lovely views.
The sitting room looks to Charlotte Square and the dome of West Register House.
Because it is facing west the view delivers fantastic sunsets while from the ensuite bathroom the views are of the castle.
Susan says that the time before they moved in, when they worked with the developers on choices for finishes, was very enjoyable and gave them the feel of having a hand in the refurbishment.
“The kitchen is by Countryside Kitchens with Smeg appliances and has some nice features such as the Caple wine fridge.
“The shutters are by Thomas Sanderson and were custom-made because obviously the windows aren’t a standard size.
“In the sitting room we opted for electronic thermal insulating blinds which disappear up into the woodwork during the day.”
The main bathroom and the ensuite are by Villeroy & Boch with the latter having a free standing bath from which to appreciate the city scape.
The building served time as offices for property agent Ryden and Susan says that fortunately original features were boxed in rather than removed, so cornicing, while not the of the grand style of the lower floors, was intact.
“Our sitting room fireplace was original to the building, although it wasn’t in our property.
“Another buyer, of one of the lower apartments wanted a more modern look so the fireplaces was taken out, stripped of its layers of white paint, restored and moved up here.”
The Adam era design is a beautiful centrepiece to the room.
Other aspects to the home are more modern. Susan says: “All the plumbing, wiring, lighting is new which is a real comfort.
“There are built-in wardrobes everywhere, which are quite quirky because they have followed the line of the roof in the coombed ceilings upstairs but it is an example of how the space has been used beautifully.”
Keys to access Queen Street Gardens, on payment of a very modest annual fee, have been a bonus too giving them access to the Water of Leith and the network of green spaces across the city.
Susan, who is a writer, commutes to her sunny office on the upper floor, while Darren works for a major utility company and they have enjoyed their short time at the apartment.
A change in family circumstances means it is now time for them to move on, but the purpose-built Georgian flat, in a New Town townhouse with a very 21st century finish is a very attractive proposition.
Flat 5, 46, North Castle Street is on the market for offers over £600,000 with Strutt & Parker