Brief and Response
In London terms this house would be considered modestly priced. In terms of houses in Scotland it stands near the top of the market. Located in a quiet and leafy street in the Grange district of Edinburgh it is a solid Victorian detached house with a well sized garden. The house had been refurbished by a boom-time developer and could be described as more style than substance. Our building survey identified a raft of shortcomings. We tackled the first phase of the project as building surveyors and dealt the main fabric and services. A new roof covering lifted the appearance of the house dramatically and put an end to leaks. We brought in Mountain Stoneworks who are artists with a stone repair medium called Lithomex. Their work transformed the appearance of the stonework.
Some of the vertically sliding timber sash and case windows were decayed so they were replaced and all the windows were overhauled and fitted with draught stripping. Internally the heating and plumbing was upgraded. The second phase was more of an architectural project. The layout of the ground floor was unsatisfactory. The floors stepped and the rooms overlooking the garden were disconnected from each other and from the garden. The decision was taken to take out the floors, amalgamate the rooms and rearrange the layout of the back of the house. The previous owner had converted the garage on the side of the house into an ugly looking separate flat. This did not work for our client who needed a granny flat that was better connected to the house.
The garage conversion had resulted in there being no garage with the house but there was, more or less, space for one on the other side of the house. A cleverly designed garage with front and back up-and-over doors fitted the space available. It was constructed in stone with a slated roof and the two extensions now balance each other. The objective of this project from the client’s point of view was to fit in with the original Victorian house – not “modernism” or a “contemporary” intervention. The client was not out to make any sort of statement in the neighbourhood, just a high quality but low key alteration and extension that made the house work to suit their lifestyle.