Magical memories of their children splashing about in the pool, enjoying tennis tournaments and Easter egg hunts in the garden will be cherished forever by Helen Langlands and her husband Allister.
For the past 18 years, the couple have put their heart and soul into creating a warm and loving home for their sons Nicol and Cairn, and Craigentoul is testament to that.
And when they purchased the exceptional property back in 2003, it was the first home in Aberdeen to sell for £1 million.
Although the stunning property in Hillhead Road, Bieldside, is made for entertaining – with its swimming pool, tennis court, plus over three acres of grounds – what was more important to Helen and Allister was creating a happy haven for all their friends and family to enjoy.
“We have hosted many large gatherings and parties over the years, celebrating special occasions with friends,” said Helen.
“But although Craigentoul is a great entertaining house, it is brilliant when all the extended family and grandkids come to stay.
“Craigentoul has a variety of outdoor entertaining spaces and we have had fabulous fun having Easter Egg hunts in the garden or Hallowe’en and fireworks parties over the years.
“It’s a full house with nine grandkids, but it’s easy to keep them all entertained with swimming, tennis and the garden to play in.”
Dream family home
After 18 happy years, it is with heavy hearts that the couple have put their exceptional seven-bedroom home on the market.
But they are content in the knowledge that it will bring joy to another family.
“We have been very lucky to be living at Craigentoul during the last 18 months of lockdowns during the Covid pandemic, with its great space, leisure facilities and the secluded garden,” said Helen.
“Craigentoul is a wonderful family home and we very much hope a young family can enjoy it as much as we have.
“The house, although large, retains a homely, welcoming feel, and provides fantastic family and entertaining space on the ground floor, while also offering plenty of sleeping accommodation to host large family gatherings, especially at Christmas.”
Home for sale in the P&J
It was love at first sight when Helen and Allister spotted the magnificent home for sale.
“We saw an article in the Press and Journal featuring the house while on a trip to Dublin and quickly secured a viewing – phoning during the taxi ride from Dublin airport into the city,” said Helen.
“We loved the traditional style of the house – the large bright, airy rooms and the flexibility of the living spaces which all make for a great family and entertaining home.
“But it was the secluded garden that really caught our attention; it has the wow factor with its mature trees and beautiful shrubs.
“We were also willing gardeners, so have really enjoyed growing our own fruit and vegetables.”
Home part of the Murtle Estate
Built in the 1880s, the home is thought to be originally part of the Murtle Estate.
“It was further extended at the beginning of the 1900s and we believe the original pool was added over 50 years ago, but it has undergone several renovations and improvements since then,” said Helen.
The couple restored the home to its former glory, stripping all the doors and windows back to the original wood as well as redecorating and updating all the bathrooms and the kitchen.
“We decided in 2013 to extend the house to include a large entertaining kitchen, dining and garden room, laundry, wine room, pantry and utility area,” said Helen.
“We upgraded the pool area adding a gym, sauna, spa, steam room and changing room.
“We also remodelled the top floor of the house, which was originally used by us as a large playroom for the boys, changing it into a bedroom with a Jack and Jill shower room which can be also accessed by the other bedroom at the top of the house.”
Award-winning local experts enhanced the property
Helen and Allister say their home wouldn’t be what it is today without local experts including architect Mike Rasmussen, of Michael Rasmussen Associates.
“You now see panoramic views of the front and rear garden, as well as the pool – a really inspired design which we are absolutely delighted with,” said Helen.
“All the building work was undertaken by Alan Grant Builders, who were based in Alford, and had a superb team of guys.
“Their quality of work and attention to detail was amazing.
“We also engaged Kirsty Mclean, the local award-winning landscape gardener, to design all the patio areas around the house and to plan the planting.
“The new beds have now matured and are looking great.”
Anyone for tennis?
Helen and Allister also commissioned Doe Sports to install a tennis court.
“Allister and I are keen tennis players and erected the tennis pavilion just afterwards so we could host games with friends, and it’s a place to have a glass of Pimm’s on those hot sunny afternoons,” said Helen.
“The boys, during their teens, used the pavilion as their den, with friends coming to play pool and darts, and a place to just hang out.”
Private gardens and woodland walks
For those who are looking for a private yet central location, this home is perfect.
“The house is in a fantastic location on a quiet road with easy access to many great walks,” said Helen.
“Countesswells Woods, The River Dee and the Deeside Way are all on our doorstep, as well as many great cycle routes which the kids love.
“The house is also near the new bypass, so there’s easy access to both the airport and all major roads.”
New chapter for owners
Despite being sad to leave, the couple know it’s time to move on.
“Allister and I have decided the time is right for a change,” said Helen.
“Nicol and Cairn will both be finished university over the next two years and all the children and grandkids are now living in the Edinburgh and Glasgow area, so the plan is to move to Edinburgh in due course to be closer to them.”
The couple will be forever grateful to David Geddie, a property specialist in Aberdeen for the past 40 years, who helped them to sell their old house and purchase Craigentoul.
During his 40-year career, David says he’s never seen a property quite like it.
“It’s a once in a generation house,” said David.
“Effectively it’s one of my top-three houses, arguably the top one.”
Craigentoul, 16 Hillhead Road, Bieldside, Aberdeen, is on the market for offers over £3,000,000.
Craigentoul in pictures
Take a virtual tour of Craigentoul
To arrange a viewing contact Ledingham Chalmers on 01224 408408, or for more details go to the website.