Prestige property: Victorian villa in Morningside reveals its glory
Southleigh, on Hermitage Drive in Morningside, Edinburgh, is a glorious expression of late-Victorian architecture in a lovely location, and the sort of house to which almost every Capital house buyer aspires.
The property is set in a generous private plot, shielded from the road by mature trees and the house itself is spacious, bright and elegant with some splendid original features.
It was designed by Edinburgh architects, Sydney Mitchell & Wilson and completed in the 1890s. The firm was responsible for some well-known Capital buildings of the time, including the grand Harrison Memorial Arch at the entrance to Observatory Road and Blackford Hill, and parts of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
Southleigh has the benefit of large and grand public rooms on its ground floor. The dining room has a bay window and plenty of room for a grand piano, while the dual-aspect sitting room has a very pretty circular window. There is a sizeable home office on this floor as well, and the kitchen boasts an informal dining area, an Aga, a utility room and a butler’s pantry.
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Off the dining room is a large garden room which has windows on three sides.
Upstairs are four bedrooms on the first floor, with bedroom three having the same turret-style bay window with a window circular seat. There is also the former maid’s room, accessed by a private stair.
Rob McGregor, who is marketing the property for Gilson Gray, believes Southleigh is something of a rarity. He says: “The clients have been there for 46 years, so it will be painful for them to leave – it has been a lovely happy family home for decades.
“It has only had four owners in its history from the late-1800s, so it hasn’t passed through many hands and it has been well looked after. The current owner had an architectural practice for many years, so his architectural eye has meant the house has been well maintained.”
McGregor observes that the name Southleigh is descriptive of the views from the house. “It has a southerly outlook and because of the size of the plot all you see is mature trees and long-range views to the hills beyond.”
The view also takes in Edinburgh Castle, three miles away, so it is a great vantage point for the fireworks. It is the finishing touch to what is a quintessentially Edinburgh property.
On likely buyers, McGregor reports that his office is fielding enquiries from London, expats returning from abroad and city centre buyers looking for a garden.
It is homes like Southleigh that tick all the boxes at the top-end of the Capital market. McGregor adds: “It is the type of property that everyone aspires to – the EH10 postcode is really sought after – but what people mean by that is this part of the postcode, where there are wide residential streets in a quiet spot.”
The half-acre garden is incredible this close to the city, and it is stocked to provide year-round colour and shelter, with lawns and patios. There is a lovely summer house and a workshop.
Beyond the gates there are three golf courses within five minutes’ walk, Blackford Hill for a brisk stroll, and the shops and cafés of Morningside Road.
There is potential to adapt the house, according to McGregor: “A buyer may want to remodel the kitchen area to create an open-plan living space.”
It is a large family house already, but he says it could be extended further to better suitmulti-generational living. “Where the garage is on Hermitage Drive, there is an unused corner of gardenwhich could be used to make a ground-floor granny flat. You could build from the kitchen and the maid’s room above for adouble-height extension. The attic offers more space too, if anyone needed it. It is already a big house.”
Southleigh, 9 Hermitage Drive, Edinburgh is priced at offers over £2.2 million. For more information, contact Gilson Gray on 0131-516 5366.