Moray the merrier in this true gem of
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