When Fred Carruthers fell dangerously ill with septicaemia, he vowed to make some major life changes and start enjoying his retirement once recovered.
He never imagined that it would take blood poisoning to change his path in life, but along with his wife, Hazel, he is now preparing to sell the couple’s gorgeous four-bedroom converted steading in Udny near Ellon and move down south.
Fred, who is semi-retired from the oil industry, and Hazel, who is a nurse, hope to spend more time with their daughters, who both live in England alongside their grandson.
They’ve also got plenty more adventures planned in their land cruiser and have already travelled to far-flung places thanks to four wheels.
On Fred’s own admission, leaving Rannieston Park House behind after 14 years is bound to be emotional – and the couple fell in love with the tranquil location.
Their home is tucked away down a track and the surrounding fields have been perfect for Archie the dog and the two felines in residence, Ella and Poppy.
“We knew straight away that this was the place for us; I remember looking around and thinking this would be our home,” said Fred.
“On moving-in day, Hazel was actually away in India, but I managed to get everything done.
“It has been home ever since; both the girls had left home, so this was a chance to do something for us.
“That doesn’t stop them fighting over who gets which room when they come to stay mind; we had 12 people round the table last Christmas.
“When we bought the place, we saw no reason why we would leave and I think Hazel will be particularly upset when we go. I think when I ended up in hospital it was a wake-up call in a way.
“We love this house, but we also want to make the very most out of life and see our grandson more regularly.
“I worked in the oil industry and once we move, I think I’ll retire properly.” Fred believes that the steading used to be a mill and dates back to roughly 1905.
The sympathetic conversion means Rannieston Park House has a lovely countryside feel, and the heart of the home is the stunning open-plan lounge come dining room.
Well-placed windows mean this room gets plenty of light, whilst exposed granite wall and a feature beamed ceiling are lovely features.
French doors open out on to the garden, whilst a cast-iron stove gives that extra cosy touch during the winter months.
This room is on a split level with the dining area where there is a pine balustrade, and plenty of space for a large dining room table.
“We were very lucky in that the conversion was complete, but we made a few changes as well,” said Fred.
“We installed central heating as it was electric, put in double glazing, and made lots of little aesthetic changes as well,” Fred added.
“We love the lounge because it’s just so light and there’s plenty of space when everyone comes for dinner.”
Fred also fitted a new kitchen which was custom built and offers plenty of work unit space alongside a dining area.
Glazed Georgian doors open out to the conservatory which is a real gem.
This room offers stunning views across open countryside, and is the perfect spot for your morning coffee.
“We love sitting in here watching the wildlife, we get deer in the garden and there are hares in the field – we’re very lucky,” said Fred.
Completing the ground-floor accommodation are two generous double bedrooms, both of which offer plenty of storage alongside a bathroom with overhead shower.
“These rooms are ideal for guests because of the bathroom and we’ve loved having so much space,” said Fred.
“When we first walked into the house we loved the mezzanine hall; we’ve chosen to put pictures from our travels on the wall and it’s lovely to walk past them,” said Fred.
Head upstairs to the galleried lounge which features a traditional beamed ceiling. This is a stunning space which is very versatile, and could easily house a pool table or be used as a further relaxation area.
“We haven’t made nearly as much use of this area as we should have done, but it has been a brilliant addition,” said Fred.
“You can be tucked away up here and I’ve got my office in the corner.”
Completing the upstairs accommodation is the master bedroom, which is en-suite, and a further double bedroom.
Head outside where there is a traditional stone-built outhouse, which consists of a garage and two workshops. “I’ve insisted that wherever we end up, there has to be a workshop,” said Fred. “Coming in here is my therapy, I do wood turning and I’ve made quite a few items for the house as well.”
There are well-established gardens consisting of half an acre, and there is a paved seating area for alfresco dining.
“We go into Ellon for everything, but coming down the track after a long day at work is just paradise,” said Fred.
Offers should be made in the region of more than £393,500.