Prestige viewing: For space and peace, retreat from the city
This detached Georgian villa with beautiful walled gardens is a great buy if you are happy to look beyond the bypass, discovers Kirsty McLuckie
Hillhead Park near Bonnyrigg, which has just launched on the market, is a lovely Georgian house with a great deal of family-friendly space inside and out.
It dates from the 1820s and would perhaps have been the only house in the area when it was first built.
Current owners, Bill Kemp and wife Ingrid Palmer, bought the property in 2000, but it needed work. Palmer recalls: “The previous owner had lived in it for 40 years. It had one bathroom, no central heating and still had old three-point plugs. We were living in a new-build, so this was a big change – but, with four children, we really wanted some more space.”
The house was rewired, a shower room created and a wall taken down in the kitchen. Palmer says: “There was a tiny maid’s room at the back – and you have to feel sorry for the poor maid who slept there, back in the day – but by combining this with the kitchen, it has made it the whole area work better. At Christmas, there can be 16 of us around the table.”
An original pantry was retained, however, and Palmer reports that it is still useful: “We hardly need a fridge, as the pantry is very big, and cold, so we keep all our food in there. The utility room means that all the practical stuff is kept out of the kitchen too, which makes it just an entertaining space.”
The house layout is a classic Georgian style, with a living space, drawing room, sitting room, large office and the dining-kitchen area, on the ground floor.
Period features abound, with original cornicing in all the formal rooms, beautiful fireplaces, working shutters and some eye-catching examples of stained glass.
Upstairs, there are five bedrooms. The master was clearly designed as a drawing room, with its grand bay window and fireplace.
Over the years, the house has been redecorated but the fabric and structure has remained largely the same. Kemp and Palmer replaced the living room fireplace, which dated from the 1930s, with one from the Georgian era.
The Victorian conservatory is in need of some refurbishment but, nevertheless, it is an impressive edifice with its own grape vine, and the family successfully grows tomatoes and other vegetables in it.
Outside, there is an apple and plum orchard at the bottom of the back garden, and a pear tree is currently in blossom at the front.
Palmer says: “Our youngest children were seven while the older two were approaching their teenage years when we came here, so the garden has been fantastic for them, whether it was as a football or rugby field or whatever they fancied. It is walled so completely private and secure, but it has never been a precious garden, just great fun.”
The location has also been important to the family. Kemp and Palmer both travel in their careers, him in financial services training and her in the third sector. Palmer says: “The airport run is a doddle and getting into Edinburgh is really easy – the bus stop is just down the road.”
She says Hillhead Park has been a perfect house for her family’s needs, with such character and privacy: “Every window you look out gives a view over greenery.”
Hillhead Park, 8 Hillhead, Bonnyrigg is priced at offers over £740,000. For more information, call Simpson & Marwick on 0131-581 5700.
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