Live in se­cluded Ba­ro­nial splen­dour

The Herald Magazine - - 34 - ANN WAL­LACE

“It was a time when we re­ally should have been think­ing about down­siz­ing,” smiles Charles.

Charles and Susan Young bought the West Loth­ian prop­erty 13 years ago, just as their youngest daugh­ter was leav­ing to start univer­sity.

“But we saw Or­mis­ton, and thought it would be an in­ter­est­ing project. We liked it im­me­di­ately but it needed a lot of love and at­ten­tion.”

In fact, the house had been run as a small ho­tel, and the Youngs were keen to re­store it to its for­mer glory as a fam­ily home.

“There were fire exit signs ev­ery­where and au­to­mat­i­cally-clos­ing doors, so we wanted to get rid of all that and re­turn it to what it was orig­i­nally – a beau­ti­ful, Scot­tish coun­try house.”

Or­mis­ton House, near Kirknew­ton, is an im­pres­sive B-listed prop­erty built in 1851. It stands on land which was for­merly part of the Or­mis­ton Hill Es­tate owned by key Scot­tish En­light­en­ment fig­ure Wil­liam Cullen.

Built for Archibald Wilkie, af­ter whose fam­ily the nearby vil­lage of Wilkieston is named, the house still has the Wilkie fam­ily crest over the front door.

In Wilkie’s time, there used to be a pri­vate rail stop across the field for Or­mis­ton House.

Or­mis­ton House was built to de­signs drawn up by well-known Scot­tish ar­chi­tect David Bryce whose works in­clude the for­mer Ed­in­burgh Royal In­fir­mary, Fettes Col­lege and ex­ten­sions to the Bank of Scot­land head of­fice build­ing on The Mound in Ed­in­burgh.

Charles and Susan painstak­ingly re­fur­bished the seven-bed­room home, main­tain­ing and restor­ing a wealth of pe­riod de­tails such as Cor­bie-step gables, tur­rets with con­i­cal roofs, par­quet floors, ex­quis­ite cor­nic­ing and mar­ble fire­place sur­rounds.

The cou­ple also changed the lay­out, in­stalling a Clive Chris­tian kitchen and putting in new bath­rooms, adding con­tem­po­rary style and lux­ury to the tra­di­tional charm and pe­riod fea­tures.

“We up­graded the heat­ing sys­tem, too, adding wood­burn­ing stoves to one of the draw­ing rooms and the hall,” says Charles.

“It is a warm and cosy house in the win­ter. We opened up the kitchen area, to make it the real heart of the home and that open plan feel has been fan­tas­tic – es­pe­cially when our chil­dren de­scend upon us with crowds of friends, or we are host­ing fam­ily gath­er­ings.”

The ground floor in­cludes a mag­nif­i­cent

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