Mo­ray the mer­rier in this true gem of

The Herald Magazine - - 34 - ANN WAL­LACE

IT took Gill and Lau­rence Hay­ward a few at­tempts to find their dream home. But when they did, the cou­ple re­alised they had stum­bled upon a true Scot­tish gem. Ardgilzean, a stun­ning coun­try house on the edge of El­gin in Mo­rayshire, is a mar­vel­lous mix of Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tec­ture and con­tem­po­rary lux­ury.

Built in 1879 and set in around 27 acres of land, the house boasts a num­ber of tra­di­tional fea­tures in­clud­ing wood pan­elling, ceil­ing cov­ing and fire­places, all beau­ti­fully main­tained over the decades.

Gill ex­plains: “There are many orig­i­nal fea­tures. The only rooms we changed when we moved in were the kitchen, where we took down a wall to en­large the space, and a bath­room, which we also made big­ger.

“We had made a few un­suc­cess­ful trips up to Scot­land from east Sus­sex, to view a num­ber of houses, be­fore we fi­nally found Ardgilzean 20 years ago.

“It had an im­me­di­ate ‘fam­ily’ feel­ing to it.”

The cou­ple moved in with two of their six chil­dren – Olivia, 13, and nine-year-old William (the other four were work­ing or at univer­sity) and Ardgilzean be­came a happy home for them, and ex­tended fam­ily, over the years.

“It is an amaz­ing house for Christ­mas, and for par­ties,” smiles Gill. “I will stay in the area, how­ever - the coun­try­side here in Mo­ray is won­der­ful,” she ex­plains.

“Ardgilzean is set in the mid­dle of 26 acres, which makes it spe­cial.”

The in­te­ri­ors of Ardgilzean House – in par­tic­u­lar, the won­der­ful re­cep­tion hall­way - are im­pres­sive too. Dis­tinc­tive wood pan­elling in the hall­way is a re­minder of the prop­erty’s Vic­to­rian past, with a lovely stair­case and large wood­burn­ing stove in the cor­ner adding to the dra­matic ef­fect. It is warm and wel­com­ing, how­ever, and full of char­ac­ter, lov­ingly pre­served by the Hay­wards and pre­vi­ous own­ers.

The two large, front-fac­ing prin­ci­pal re­cep­tion rooms – a draw­ing room with a bay win­dow and a fire­place and a for­mal din­ing room with an ar­ray of tra­di­tional fea­tures – are airy and bright.

To the left of the re­cep­tion hall lies an in­ner hall­way, lead­ing to a sit­ting/tele­vi­sion room with a large open fire and beau­ti­ful leaded glass win­dows.

Fur­ther along the cor­ri­dor lies a mag­nif­i­cent bil­liards room which also en­joys fan­tas­tic views over the gar­dens.

A sec­ond hall­way leads to the kitchen, com­plete with Aga, and a sep­a­rate in­for­mal din­ing area. The ground floor also in­cludes two pantries, a util­ity room, a boiler room, stor­age cup­board and a boot room/wc.

The stun­ning, be­spoke stair­case leads up to the first floor where a land­ing leads to the spa­cious mas­ter bed­room which has an en suite bath­room, and there are six fur­ther

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