Fiona Reid on Georgian Houses
In a guest post, property journalist and blogger Fiona Reid takes a look at the enduring appeal of Georgian houses.
What is it about Georgian houses that make them so appealing? For me – as I have to begin by acknowledging a long-term love of Georgian architecture – it’s about the balance and symmetry that is so characteristic of Georgian architecture. You can arrive at a Georgian house anticipating great proportions and fine period detail, and all wrapped in an elegant shell.
Which brings me to Tullynessle House in Aberdeenshire. Located just outside the town of Alford and about 29 miles from Aberdeen, this B listed former manse sits in around 2.7 acres of grounds including woodland and a burn.
Even before considering what this house looks like inside, I’m sold from the exterior. It’s a cliché to say, “it’s the kind of house a child would draw,” but this property really is when you consider the symmetrical façade, with the front door approached up a set of steps. Tullynessle is a handsome looking house.
In Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie an Illustrated Architectural Guide, which was published in 2006, authors Ian Shepherd and Charles McKean described the former manse as ‘a fine example of the prosperity of the rural clergy of old.’ The house spans four floors and includes a very large games room and cellar space on the lower ground level – you’d imagine there could be scope to do more with this area. There are seven bedrooms and three bathrooms, creating an ideal family home that also has ample space for guests.
Highlights include the drawing room with its open fire and with working shutters framing the tall windows, and the sitting room, which again has a bright double aspect and a cosy feel thanks to the woodburning stove.
The rear of the ground level includes a large dining-kitchen with cabinetry by Drumoak Kitchens and an Aga, and a utility room, along with a formal dining room. The bedrooms on the first and second floors are all beautifully proportioned, and four of them include open fireplaces. Tullynessle looks like it would be a very easy house to live in.
Tullynessle House is for sale with the Aberdeen office at offers over £665,000.
Ferrymuir House at Cupar in Fife offers Georgian living on a grander scale. Simply describing this house by its accommodation - with three reception rooms, five bedrooms and three bathrooms – doesn’t even begin to explain the size and elegance of this Georgian mansion.
If Tullynessle sold itself from the façade, Ferrymuir already has me hooked on approach as this house has a wonderful secluded setting within large wooded grounds just off Westfield Road. The tree-lined garden includes a pond and a garden house, while the south-facing views stretch over the surrounding countryside to the Hill of Tarvit in the distance.
And the grounds offer the perfect backdrop to this, again, very handsome property. The original part of Ferrymuir dates from 1810 and here you’ll find a grand drawing room and dining room, with the bedrooms on the first and second floors above.
The detailing is beautiful, from the ornate cornice work to the original timber panelled doors and dado, and there are open fireplaces and working shutters.
The house is flanked by pavilions on the east and west. The pavilion on the west creates a vast sun lounge while the other contains the kitchen and a number of utility spaces. I’d want to reconsider this area to create a really big kitchen-dining-family zone to complement the more formal rooms elsewhere. Although the interior does now require some modernization, the bones of this house are wonderful.
There’s also a very large basement and this area - subject to all the usual consents and permissions - could be reconfigured and redesigned to create a new garden level of accommodation. This house feels like an incredible project for someone with the vision to breathe new life into it.
Ferrymuir House is for sale with the Cupar office at offers over £770,000.
I have another confession to make: not only do I have a ‘thing’ for Georgian houses, but this week’s third choice, St Helens, is one of my current favourites. Located on St Andrews Road in the conservation village of Ceres by Cupar in Fife, this B listed property was built in 1849 as a Free Church Manse, and sits in a walled garden of just under half an acre.
The current owners have carried out significant improvements to the house since arriving here twenty-six years ago and have worked through the building in phases. The windows have distinctive ‘lying’ window panes, and these were refurbished along with the working shutters, while the owner used her experience as an antiques dealer when sourcing features that would restore this house to its original elegance – features like the white marble fireplace in the drawing room.
The house has three reception rooms and five bedrooms, and an additional small bedroom was used to create a large en-suite for the master bedroom. Every detail has been considered, from the sympathetic Farrow & Ball colour palette to the light fittings chosen to suit the age of the house.
The final phase of work was undertaken four years ago when the existing kitchen was extended to create today’s large dining-kitchen, with bi-fold doors opening onto the garden. Montgomery Forgan Associates designed this extension and the result is an outstanding family and entertaining space.
Rooflights flood the room with light while the roof beams add to the drama and character. Underfloor heating warms the Travertine-style tiling, while the timber kitchen cabinetry was finished with a slightly aged patina that makes this new addition sit so well on this fine old property.
St Helens is for sale with the Cupar office at offers over £575,000.
Fiona Reid is a freelance journalist writing about property and interiors for a number of publications including Scotland on Sunday. She blogs at www.copperline.co