19th-century home with a twist

Gardeners Cottage, Knockleith, Auchterless, Turriff.

When it comes to staying true to a vision, there is no better example than Gardeners Cottage in Knockleith near Turriff.

It’s hard to believe that this fabulous five-bedroom eco-friendly family home started off life as a humble cottage, before it caught the eye of Lorna and Kevin Thomson.

The pair were repeatedly told that their dreams of an extension were simply not possible until they met with Annie Kenyon Architects.

Their son, Calum, was only one day old when the family sat down with the team to make their vision a reality, and they have created endless versatile space with the original cottage still intact.


Calum is now seven and his sister, Evie, is nine – and they have grown up at Gardeners Cottage after moving in four years ago.

Lorna is a teacher at Meldrum Primary School whilst Kevin is an operations director, and they have no regrets on going all out for their dream home.

It has been ideal for entertaining and there are fabulous walking routes on the doorstep for Daisy the labrador.

The family are now hoping to move to Oldmeldrum but will never forget just how hard they worked to make their home come to life.

“The thing I’ve loved about Gardeners Cottage is the fact it’s not fussy, we don’t like clutter so we have created a home which is very simple and streamlined,” said Lorna.

“It has been a great place to bring up the kids with all the space on offer, and they have been able to enjoy lovely big bedrooms.

“We wanted to live out in the countryside and had been looking for ages when we came across Gardeners Cottage.

“It was just a little cottage at the time but we knew it would be perfect – the trouble was finding someone to help us with the extension.”

Thankfully Lorna and Kevin remained undeterred and slowly but surely, work got up and running.

“There was the really bad winter of 2012 which slowed things down and it took a lot of organisation to get tradesmen to work to schedule,” said Lorna.


“It was certainly a case of blood, sweat, and tears, but we’re so glad we battled on.

“We wanted that experience of building a family home and we couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”

It’s not hard to see why and the period features of the cottage which originates from 1885 blends effortlessly with modern day space.

The bright lounge offers engineered oak flooring and french doors provide access to the garden.

Attention to detail means Italian tiling, wooden floors and beautiful carpeting can be found throughout, not to mention larch which can be found at the entrance and was sourced from Inverness.

Lorna adores her dining kitchen which was fitted by Laings of Inverurie, and includes Caesarstone work surfaces alongside a lovely kitchen island which boasts Miele appliances.

“The kitchen is at the heart of everything in our home, it is perfect for entertaining and we’ve hosted a great many parties here over the years,” said Lorna.

“We love the buzz of entertaining and we can easily fit 40 people in at Hogmanay, I love standing by the oven and seeing everyone having a good time.

“I know I couldn’t live without my hot water tap either, having boiling hot water available might sound like a simple thing but I can’t believe I ever waited for a kettle to boil.”

There is ample space for large dining furniture in the kitchen, and an archway leads through to the gorgeous south-facing sun lounge which boasts a cathedral style ceiling.

This would be the perfect room to unwind in the warmer months and is ideal for more informal entertaining.

An inner hallway leads to a family room which could also be used as a bedroom.

The master bedroom formed part of the original cottage and has been tastefully modernised – and includes a dressing room and en-suite.

An open solid wood staircase leads to the first floor gallery where a play room come sitting room can be found.

The staircase then splits and leads through to a double bedroom on one landing, and two further double bedrooms and bathroom on the other.

“The design has suited family life and enabled us to spend time both together and apart, the kids can do their own thing,” said Lorna.

“We have really enjoyed the location and there are lots of other young families close by and there are great walking and cycling routes in the area too.

“Calum wants to be a professional footballer so he loves a kick about in the garden, and we’ve designed it with low maintenance in mind.”

The detached double garage houses a games room on the first floor whilst the driveway provides further ample parking.

Turriff is only a short drive away and offers a wide range of amenities including playgroups, nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Offers should be made in the region of more than £465,000.

Contact Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace on 01467 629300.