Couple totally transformed run-down property
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.