His­toric town­house lies in pic­turesque Old Aberdeen

Evening Express (City Final) - Home Life - - FAMILY LIVING - By Marie-Claire Jones

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.

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