Beautifully restored family home hits the market in sought-after Edinburgh location

Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:33 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 1:45 pm

A dank lower ground and basement has been transformed into a bright family home, which is now on the market.

The apartment at 4A Fettes Row is a light and airy place laid over two floors of a traditional stone-built Georgian townhouse.

It has its own private front door, approached through a courtyard and inside it oozes traditional features married with modern touches.

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Picture: Strutt and Parker

That is a far cry from what it was five years ago, when Jenny and Iain Shillady bought it.

The couple, who were just about to get married, decided that a dark and dank lower ground and basement flat was just the place to start married life.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

Jenny says: “Our parents came to see it and Iain’s mum cried because she couldn’t believe that we were prepared to live in such a place.”

The property hadn’t had much done to it since the 1960s and had been empty for over a year, which didn’t help.

Jenny says: “When we first saw it, we were told that they had to install a sink to make it technically mortgageable, which tells you what kind of state it was in.”

Highlights included a shower located behind a curtain at the end of a hallway, and a maze of small rooms on the lower floor, all of which had little light.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

Their decision to buy was helped by the fact that Iain is an architect and has his own practice, Staran Architects, round the corner in Cumberland Street.

The transformation to the beautiful family-oriented property that it is today was completed in three stages, first the ground floor, then the lower floor and finally the garden.

Jenny says: “We made a the ground floor habitable before moving in, but then we hit the pause button on the lower ground, partly to give us time save up more money and partly because we had our first child, Archie, four years ago.”

Along the way, they gutted, replumbed, rewired and damp-proofed.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

But living with “the dungeon” as they referred the basement was depressing. Jenny says: “That year for Christmas my present was a temporary door to the stairs so I didn’t have to look at it but when Archie was about a year old we started again.”

It is testament to Iain’s design vision that the apartment is now suffused with light throughout, but he didn’t just work out the best design, he was hands-on with the dirty work.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

Jenny says: “He took down the lath and plaster ceilings on the lower floor that were crumbling and found the alcove for the range and the fireplace in the sitting room, both of which had been boarded up, by tapping and then going in with a sledgehammer.”

Picture: Strutt and Parker

The house has offered up other hidden treasures. The beautiful parquet flooring in the kitchen and the wooden floors in the sitting room are original, but were hidden under four layers of carpets.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

Steel beams replaced walls in the ground floor to allow three small rooms to be knocked into what is now a playroom.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

The kitchen came up from the lower floor to the ground to have access to the garden, while the adjoining sitting room and dining room run the whole length of the property, from front to back, making sure light penetrates straight through.

Jenny says: “I think every single room has changed purpose, but the layout now is perfect for family life.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

The sitting room has a large sash and case window, a shelved press and grand wooden fireplace. The kitchen has a breakfast bar, large Smeg range cooker and a Belfast sink.

Also located on this floor are two double bedrooms, a family bathroom with underfloor heating, and a utility room.

The basement floor has a further two double bedrooms, a shower room and storage. There is direct access from the kitchen via double doors out to the beautiful south-facing private garden.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

This was the last project, as the couple had to wait for a garden wall to be put in by a developer building mews homes on the other side.

It now has a decking area, grass and shrubs and is a luxury for a city home.

Picture: Strutt and Parker

With their family expanding with the apartment - Emily, their daughter is 14 months - the house is , eventually , perfect but a job move means they are reluctantly selling.

As Emily says: “It has been a real labour of love, proper blood, sweat and tears, but it was where we started as a couple and it has expanded with our family so it has been very important to us.”

4A Fettes Row is on the market for offers over £625,000 with Strutt & Parker.

Words: Kirsty McLuckie