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How cattle steading was transformed into stunning Aberdeenshire countryside retreat

Balblair Steading, Midmar, Aberdeenshire
Balblair Steading, Midmar, Aberdeenshire

Mondays come round all too quickly and the screech of the alarm clock signifies the start of another working week.

But what if you were actually eager to open the curtains and drink in the view, with a good chance of spotting deer or red kites?

This idyllic scene has been the reality for Tracey and Ian Crossland, whose bedroom overlooks gorgeous open countryside in Aberdeenshire.

Balblair Steading can be found at Midmar and is only a 25-minute drive from the Granite City.

The six-bedroom steading conversion comes with three and a half acres of land, with plenty of amenities in Midmar village. It has been the perfect family home for the past seven years after a clever renovation project.

Tracey and Ian have three daughters and have decided to take on a fresh project, as their girls are now teenagers.

They hope to stay in the area, having previously lived overseas due to Ian’s work in the oil industry.

The gorgeous pad near Westhill has been ideal for Tracey, who works part-time at an equine vet practice.

She has been able to indulge her love of horses, and rosettes are proudly dotted around the house.

The family’s three horses are stabled within walking distance and Tracey attends competitions with her girls most weekends.

It is difficult to believe that the stylish dining kitchen was once a cow shed, and bedroom quarters were formerly a garage.

“Balblair Steading was about two-thirds complete when we arrived,” said Ian.

“We weren’t daunted as we have done previous renovation projects before, some from the ground up.

“This was the perfect blank canvas where we could create a family home which suited us.”

There have been dozens of changes, which has seen the accommodation drastically extended with traditional charm maintained.

The exterior has also been remodelled with a well-established hedge now offering more privacy.

The family tends to gather in the country-style kitchen, complete with dogs Angus and Dougal. This room has been fitted with terracotta floor tiles and offers bespoke cabinets with a breakfast island.

There is also a Belfast-style sink, cherry red AGA and De Longhi cooking range.

Glazed doors provide access to the gardens and terrace.

“This is where everyone congregates at the end of the day, complete with school bags and coats dumped down,” said Tracey.

“It’s a great room for family meals.”

Ian enjoys cooking and creates both experimental and traditional dishes, whilst Tracey is the baker in the family.

The east wing offers versatile living space which has been carefully altered, with a traditional feel still intact. Split levels create different dining and seating areas and you can still drink in the lovely views.

A Scandinavian Rais wood-burning stove offers a cosy touch over the winter months. The open-plan layout lends itself to busy family life and provides the ideal spot where you can unwind after dinner.

There is a galleried landing area above, alongside the sixth bedroom, which is currently in use as a gym.

“The girls do their homework up here and it’s a really versatile space,” said Tracey.

“We can see the horses from the gym and it may well become a home office again.”

There is also a family bathroom on this level, which features a stylish free-standing roll-top bath.

The remaining five bedrooms can be found at the opposite side of the house, where there is also a fully tiled wetroom.

One bedroom has a dressing room containing the necessary plumbing for an en suite.

The master bedroom offers the ultimate wow factor, with a high ceiling and exposed beams. There is an en suite shower room with under-floor heating and a dressing area.

The stunning views add the finishing touch and there is access to the garden.

“Often we look out and see deer and I’ve also spotted badgers,” said Tracey.

“It’s just a gorgeous place to live.

“Spring is particularly lovely when all the greenery comes through.

“There are plenty of walks on our doorstep and the girls have always loved the outdoors.

“They’ve been able to enjoy horse riding and the community is also fantastic.

“It is very welcoming and friendly here. We love how quiet it is but you can easily go into Echt and Westhill.

“It’s the best of both worlds and leaving is going to prove difficult.”

Offers should be made of more than £590,000.

Contact Savills on 01224 971110.

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