Historic townhouse lies in picturesque Old Aberdeen
Historic townhouse mixes ancient and modern.
RICH in history and elegant in character, this Old Aberdeen property is a true classic. The home at 111-113 High Street dates back to 1730 and sits opposite the recently-restored Old Townhouse. In 1820, a new section was added to the B-listed townhouse for Lady Hay – and was built using stones from a redundant tower at nearby St Machar’s Cathedral. The house has a plethora of unique features and is of historic interest to many scholars. But for the King family – it has simply been “home”. Mike King and wife Aileen bought the four-bedroom house seven years ago, interested in the potential for opening a shop in the basement. “The house was incredibly beautiful with lovely niches and quirky little touches,” said 66-year-old Mike, who has just retired from his family kilt hire and tailoring business Philip King. “Probably the most fascinating feature is the ‘priest’s hole’ in the hall – it was a secret hiding place for the priest at St Machar’s Cathedral hundreds of years ago. “It’s still there today, although it is now covered over by a display niche.” Along with a dramatic curved wall, the hallway boasts a stunning alcove painted in a “trompe l’oeil” style. It is guarded by an ornamental cheetah, which the family have affectionately-named “Dorothy”. They decided not to go ahead with their shop but have certainly made the most of their luxurious home. Mike and 64-year-old Aileen spend much of their time relaxing in their lovely drawing room – part of the “modern” extension and featuring high ceilings, large Georgian windows and a magnificent period fireplace.
The large dining room, as well as a spacious open-plan kitchen with a dining area, means the house has been perfect for entertaining. And the Kings have held many family Christmases here. Although the history of the home is evident in its many period features, it is also a comfortable house for modern living. Mike and Aileen have decorated most rooms, updated the heating system to make it more efficient and put in a new kitchen and bathroom. The many nooks, crannies and
alcoves have been ideal for showcasing the antiques, paintings and statues they have collected over the years. The couple are looking for a smaller property in Aberdeen and hope to enjoy their retirement spending the winter months in Malta. Mike said: “We’ll miss the location. We love looking out at the Old Townhouse and hearing the church chimes during the day. I’ll also miss our walled garden where I’ve spent a lot of time over the years.”
MOVING ON: Mike King will miss the Old Aberdeen home.
SHOWCASE: The lounge and, inset, the kitchen and alcove with cheetah Dorothy.