Cou­ple to­tally trans­formed run-down prop­erty

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

Old school­house re­vamped into ideal ru­ral home.

WITH views of lush green coun­try­side and beau­ti­fully land­scaped gar­dens, it’s no sur­prise that Mar­ion McDon­ald spends ev­ery mo­ment she can out­doors. Mar­ion, 51, and part­ner Kevin Marr, 44, bought Glen­croft at Ythanbank near El­lon in 2005. And af­ter strip­ping the prop­erty back un­til it was an empty shell, they spent two years trans­form­ing it into the stun­ning five-bed­room cot­tage it is to­day. “We be­lieve the prop­erty was a school at one time and we have kept all the orig­i­nal stonework,” said Mar­ion, who gave up her job in the fur­nish­ings depart­ment at John Lewis a few years ago, in or­der to con­cen­trate on the house. “But, other than that, ev­ery­thing is new. We spent two years build­ing the house up from scratch, work­ing on it al­most 24/7. “It looked like a beau­ti­ful lit­tle cot­tage from out­side but was badly need­ing done up and we were able to vi­su­alise what it could be­come.” Mar­ion and Kevin – a plumb­ing and heat­ing en­gi­neer – moved into a static home while the work was be­ing car­ried out. They had a list of fea­tures they wanted to in­clude, like a wet room and big open kitchen with its own fam­ily area. Mar­ion has also en­joyed plan­ning the colour scheme, which is mainly neu­tral, with soft pas­tel touches in blue and green. And even sev­eral years af­ter com­plet­ing the work, Mar­ion can’t be­lieve her luck to have ended up with such a beau­ti­ful home. “Ev­ery day I wake up in that big bed­room and take a walk through all the rooms and feel very grate­ful. “It’s a very peace­ful house but it’s got lots of space and has been per­fect for fam­ily par­ties. “I’m al­ways chang­ing things around and I en­joy pick­ing up pieces of fur­ni­ture at mar­kets, sand­ing them down and paint­ing them.” The out­side space, which is per­fect for the cou­ple’s three cats, has also been a labour of love. Mar­ion spends such a lot of time work­ing in the huge gar­den that she thinks she cuts a fa­mil­iar fig­ure to most lo­cals. “I’m sure the peo­ple who live in Ythanbank all know me as the woman with the yel­low wellies who’s al­ways out push­ing her wheel­bar­row around,” she said. “I try to spend as much time work­ing out­side as I can, and I can al­ways find some­thing need­ing done. “We’re sur­rounded by moor­land here which is ideal for walk­ing and cy­cling. “And we get lots of wildlife too, in­clud­ing deer, pheas­ants, bad­gers and rab­bits.” Mar­ion and Kevin are keen to work on a new pro­ject and are get­ting ready to move on from Glen­croft.

Mar­ion added: “There’s just two of us here and the house is very big for us – a fam­ily would be well-suited. “We’re so close to El­lon that ev­ery­thing you need is nearby, and Aberdeen is close enough to com­mute to for work.”

GAR­DEN FAN: Mar­ion McDon­ald at Glen­croft.

“Ideal for walk­ing”

STUN­NING: The lovely liv­ing room and, left, the ex­te­rior. Be­low, the kitchen and fam­ily room.

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