Looking around Neil and Liz Marchant’s beautiful home tucked away in a picturesque setting in Craigmyle near Torphins, is rather like reading a book.
Each room at South Lodge has a different tale to tell thanks to interesting artefacts and art work – whether it be about the couple’s love of sailing, the countryside and shooting, or their beloved German short-haired pointers Roxie and Dita.
The C-listed home dates back to around 1880 and started life as one of the original lodge houses on the Craigmyle estate. Neil and Liz viewed the house when they decided they wanted to swap city living for a life in the country 12 years ago.
“We fell in love with the house because it was old and it was quirky. It really had charm,” said Liz, who runs her own communications firm from the house.
Unfortunately, when you fall for a house you can often forget to check certain things – something Liz admits they were guilty of at South Lodge.
“We didn’t take into consideration the fact that the house had solid fuel heating – which basically meant it had none at all.
“We both worked in town when we came out to see the house so we viewed it in the evening when the fire had been on all day and it was nice and warm. When we moved in we soon realised it took all day to get any warmth in the radiators at all and had to change the heating system.”
Today, it’s clear to see the couple have worked hard to give the whole house their own personal stamp. The once dusky pink dull interiors in the impressive living room have been replaced with bright colours, a wood burning stove has been installed and woodwork has been handcrafted by a local master craftsman.
“All the little touches make such a difference,” said Liz. “We’ve brightened up the room and the colours are certainly ‘us’.”
South Lodge – on sale for offers in excess of £390,000 – was first extended in the early 1970s, and the couple added another extension in recent years providing even more rooms including a utility room, shower room and a fantastic contemporary sun room with two sets of large glazed doors which lead out to a curved balcony and terrace.
“We always felt we need to extend to give us more room to hang our art work,” Liz said, laughing. “We love our sailing and had the decking done like the deck of a ship – people say it’s like looking over the bow of a boat when they stand out there.
“The room itself is great and we quite often relax there with the Sunday papers. The sofa is huge and we can lie back and relax.”
The vast amount of space on offer at South Lodge has also ensured it’s been the perfect size for entertaining – and the home has certainly played host to a number of guests over the years.
“This house has been a great entertaining house,” said Liz. “It’s seen plenty of dinner parties – we love our cooking.
“We actually had our pre-wedding shin dig here the night before we got married and held Neil’s 40th birthday party here too.”
Upstairs, Liz is extremely proud of the beautiful bathroom, which was completed in 2009.
“The bathroom was horrible when we moved here,” she said. “It was tiny so we knocked the original bathroom into the small fourth bedroom. The bedroom was long and skinny and we actually called it ‘Narnia’ as it was stuffed full of coats.”
Outside, the lovely garden grounds are home to a variety of wildlife including the resident woodpecker and red squirrel; and The Creamery, an award-winning architecturally designed building which was built in 2005 can also be found.
Formerly a cheese-making facility, the large building is an extremely versatile space that could be utilised for a variety of different uses.
“I have my office at one side and the part that was formerly the creamery could be used for almost anything. There’s also a small kitchen area and shower room,” she explained.
Talking to Liz makes it extremely evident that it has been a hard decision to put the home the couple love so much on the market, but she explained they would like to try out life somewhere else and feel now is the right time to do it.
“There are so many things that we will miss. I love the tranquility of the country and we also have the best set of neighbours here.
“The more people who come to see the house and like it makes me realise just how much I love it here.
“We’ve made the house what it is today and we’ve put our stamp on the house and love it.”
Contact: Strutt & Parker on 01330 826800.