A rare chance to buy an ex­ten­sive B-listed home set in de­light­ful grounds on the edge of Ed­in­burgh

The Herald - Scotland's Homes - - Front Page - Ann Wal­lace

THE Burn­side fam­ily have lived in a few far-flung lo­ca­tions, from California to Aus­tralia. But their ideal lo­ca­tion was al­ways much closer to home. “Ed­in­burgh is our dream place to be,” smiles Kat Burn­side. “We have loved liv­ing ev­ery­where life has taken us over the past few years, but this was the city we wanted to come back to. “Ed­in­burgh has ev­ery­thing – his­tory, cul­ture, art, coun­try­side close by, sport … it’s per­fect. There is some­thing for ev­ery­one and it’s all within easy reach. “So when we spot­ted North­field for sale, it seemed the per­fect place.” North­field, in the con­ser­va­tion vil­lage of Balerno, around seven miles south west of Ed­in­burgh city cen­tre, is an ex­cep­tional fam­ily home. It was built in 1910 by renowned ar­chi­tect Wil­liam Crum Wat­son but, as Kat agrees, it looks much older. “It’s built in the Ba­ro­nial style, with many fine old fea­tures and a grand ex­te­rior,” she says. “We looked at lots of houses but this was so dif­fer­ent, and so un­ex­pected, that we loved it in­stantly. “It’s like hav­ing your own lit­tle cas­tle.” The Burn­sides rewired the prop­erty and up­dated the bath­rooms and kitchen when they moved in six years ago, and sub­tly changed the dé­cor.

“It needed a lit­tle work when we took it on – the hall­way, for ex­am­ple, had black-painted floor­ing to make it look Ja­cobean, and the walls were very dark,” says Kat.

“We painted the walls a more neu­tral, pale cof­fee colour and re­turned the floors to a warm, wooden look, which was much more cheer­ful.”

The main house is spread over the ground and first floors, with a self-con­tained “guest” apart­ment or granny flat on the sec­ond floor.

The en­trance hall­way – one of the first things Kat and her hus­band

It was one of the first houses to have gas light­ing. A gen­er­a­tor piped it to the li­brary and din­ing room

Chris ad­mired about the house – is spec­tac­u­lar, with an Ailsa Craig gran­ite column and arches lead­ing to the stair­way.

The lovely li­brary is also use­ful as a sec­ond sit­ting room, with its carved oak Rose and This­tle stone fire­place; and the el­e­gant din­ing room, com­plete with floor-mounted bell con­nec­tion to the kitchen.

Kat explains: “There are bell pushes in a few of the rooms – the gen­tle­man who owned it orig­i­nally had ser­vants, of course, so if he and his guests wanted to sum­mon the staff they would sim­ply press the bell but­tons on the floor.”

She smiles: “Our chil­dren – Ellie, who is 12, and Finn, who is nine – and their friends have great fun press­ing the bells. There’s even one in the bath­room.”

There are other re­minders of North­field’s dis­tin­guished past – the fire­places are the same as the ones in the Palace of Holy­rood, and the wrought iron banis­ter fea­tures a Scot­tish this­tle de­sign in­cor­po­rat­ing the ar­chi­tect’s ini­tials.

“It was also one of the first houses in the area to have gas light­ing,” says Kat. “It had its own gen­er­a­tor in the gar­den, which piped gas in to the li­brary and din­ing room.”

The kitchen, with a va­ri­ety of pantries and stores, can be found on the western side of the build­ing and houses a four-oven gas fired Aga.

On the first floor, along with three dou­ble bed­rooms and two fam­ily bath­rooms, there is also a beau­ti­fully pre­served draw­ing room with oak pan­elled walls, a bar­rel vaulted ceil­ing and su­perb views over the gardens to the north, south, west and east.

“This is a fan­tas­tic room, per­fect for Christ­mas time, or for par­ties,” says Kat. “You can see in all di­rec­tions from this space, the views are fan­tas­tic.”

The sec­ond floor in­cludes two dou­ble bed­rooms, a bath­room, sit­ting room, kitchen, WC and am­ple stor­age in the at­tics.

Out­side, spread across around 1.26 acres, are in­ter­est­ing fea­tures, such as a ha-ha, oak tree, yew hedges and a daf­fodil walk.

There is also the pretty Knot Rose Gar­den and the fam­ily’s very own blue­bell wood.

“The blue­bell copse is beau­ti­ful in the spring­time, and the Knot Rose Gar­den is very spe­cial,” says Kat. “The gardens are per­fect for hide and seek, as my chil­dren will tell you. There is plenty of space to play and ex­plore.”

The Burn­sides are mov­ing on once again – but this time, just a lit­tle bit closer in to the city it­self.

“It’s what we feel is right for us now, al­though we have ab­so­lutely loved be­ing in this house,” says Kat.

“The lo­ca­tion is per­fect, re­ally, whether you want to get out and en­joy the Pent­lands, or go horserid­ing on the quiet coun­try roads; or whether you need to be close to the M8 for work in Ed­in­burgh or Glas­gow; or just sim­ply en­joy be­ing near to all the cul­ture and so­cial scene of the city.”

GRAND SCALE: The grounds have sev­eral in­ter­est­ing fea­tures, while the first floor in­cludes a self-con­tained ‘granny’ flat.

PARTY SPACE: The three-floor lay­out pro­vides many op­tions for en­ter­tain­ing while the grounds are ideal for chil­drens’ hide and seek.

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