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Susi shows us inside her dream country home near Bridge of Don

Susi McWilliam and her family swapped the city lights for clear starry country nights when they moved from Aberdeen to Belhelvie.

The country home near Aberdeen
Susi McWilliam says her home enjoys an idyllic location close to Aberdeen.

Moving to the countryside was one of the best moves Susi McWilliam and her husband Stuart have ever made.

For the past six years, the couple have lived out there rural dream at their wonderful home near Belvelhie while remaining within reach of Aberdeen.

With an exciting new chapter ahead, they reflect on their amazing property and the work they have done to make it their home.

Howlands, Whitecairns

Who: Susi McWilliam, 44, a writer, meditation and spiritual coach and podcaster, her husband Stuart, 60, a recruitment and business consultant and their daughter Lili, 14, plus pet horses Monty and Tash, chickens Betty and Becky, Sal the tortoise and Teddy the dog.

What: A traditional three-bedroom detached granite farmhouse set across two levels. Outside there is a large cabin which is currently used as a wellbeing centre, four stables, a hay barn, tackroom, workshop, home office and 10 acres of land.

Where: Beside Belhelvie, close to Bridge of Don, Balmedie, Newmachar, and Ellon.

Susi and Stuart McWilliam with their daughter Lili
Susi and Stuart McWilliam, pictured with their daughter Lili, have loved everything about their wonderful home near Bridge of Don. Image: Susi McWilliam

As told to Rosemary Lowne. 

“Previously we lived in a new build five-bedroom Cala home in Grandholm.

We used to drive around the local area visioning what types of homes and locations we may like. Randomly we drove past our house not knowing it was on market.

Then we came across the advertisement not realising it was the same home.
When we first viewed the property we couldn’t believe the views and the vastness of land especially as it’s so close to Aberdeen.

The cottage really gave off country holiday cottage vibes and it felt like the right place for us to settle next.

A conservatory-style room with a leather sofa and short, wide wooden bookcase - a perfect reading nook.
Curl up with a good book in this cosy retreat. Image: Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace

We could visualise the horses on the land and the possibility of creating a space for teaching meditation.

Big plans for cottage

We made the decision to follow our dreams and create a lifestyle we loved so we bought the property six years ago and moved in December 2017.

We had big plans to create a space for people to escape modern day life and find peace and tranquillity through meditation and holistic health.

The cottage was very traditional so when we first moved in we replaced the boiler and reinsulated the property.

Th living room in the home, with two grey sofas, a rug, a dining table with three chairs and a large window, letting in plenty of natural light
Crisp whites and greys make the living room a relaxing escape. Image: Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace

Outside, the land was all arable so we went right back to basics and planted the grass from seed and fenced all the land for livestock.

In 2020 we started a rewilding project which involved replanting hedgerows, and over 1300 native species of trees.

The wellbeing centre (The Sanctuary) was built in 2018 and opened that year. It was exciting watching all our dreams come to fruition.

A bedroom in the country home near Aberdeen, with matching grey furnishings with wood accents. There is a wardrobe, unit of drawers, wall mounted mirror and bed.
Wake up feeling refreshed and invigorated after a good night’s sleep in this bright bedroom. Image: Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace

For us it truly was a lifestyle choice and our main focus was to spend more time in nature, planting vegetables, fruit trees and spend time with our dog and horses.

If you’ve watched the TV programme Clarkson’s Farm, that was us.

We have learned so much and have made so many incredible friends and contacts to support us in this process.

Every day has been a learning day and it’s been amazing.

The hallway with a white bannister going down the stairs, the walls are painted a shade of rose pink
Pink tones add vibrancy and energy to this hallway area. Image: Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace

I would describe our home as having cosy cottage vibes and everyone who comes says how lovely and relaxing it feels.

After moving from a new build home, we purchased many items from upcycled sources and also some new traditional farmhouse pieces such as our dresser, traditional wardrobes and bedroom furniture.

While there have been no major structural changes, we worked with an architect to create a home that would be sympathetic with the surrounding area.

Country home a bus ride away from Aberdeen city centre

For us, we love the sunrises and sunsets here – they truly are magical.

A monochrome bedroom with slanted ceilings on one side of the room.
Silver and grey shades work beautifully in this spacious bedroom. Image: Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace

The starry night skies are so clear as we’re away from the city lights.

We also love the clean air and the fact that you can nip to Marks & Spencer or hop on the bus to Union Square and still be in the countryside living the good life.

Stuart loves the proximity to many incredible golf courses including Royal Aberdeen, Trump and Cruden Bay.

Moving here has brought our family closer together and has really given us a better quality of life which we couldn’t have foreseen.

The garden of the country home near Aberdeen, with plenty of grass, trees and greenery. There is a tire swing and trampolin
Susi and Stuart have worked tirelessly to transform the outside space. Image: Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace

My advice for anyone who is moving into a new home would be to take your time and live in a property before you make any changes.

What you may envisage you will do initially will undoubtedly change as you experience living there.

Follow your dreams and visualise what is possible.”

Howlands, Whitecairns, Aberdeen, is on the market for offers over £360,000.

For more information check out the website or for more on Susi, check out her website and Instagram @susimcwilliamspiritandsoul