Holly Sandison has something not every home owner possesses – an ability to see something looking far from its best and imagine how it would look if transformed.
She’d use this skill each time she passed one old cottage in Macduff. The semi-detached property at Number 12 High Shore may have looked rather like a ruin to some, but to Holly, it was beautiful. Her dream was to rescue and restore it.
As you’ll see from these pages, hard work and lashings of TLC allowed her to realise her dream.
Sea Holly Cottage, named after the beautiful blue coastal plants of the same name which grow happily within the cottage garden, is now a charming beautifully restored and fully modernised, three-bedroom home.
Close to the seafront and just a short walk from Macduff’s harbour and amenities, it comes with a tranquil garden ideal for sunbathing or alfresco dining, and would make an ideal family home, a house for professional couples or holiday accommodation.
“I believe the house dates back to 1876 and while I don’t know its full history, I understand that for many years it was used as a holiday home by a couple who lived in London. But it hadn’t been used for years and was beginning to fall into disrepair.
“But from the first time I saw it I knew I had to have it one day.
“When I got the keys to view inside I found it was almost semi-derelict. There was no usable kitchen or bathroom. In fact, part of the ceiling was in the bath.There was an outside toilet, walls which had been stripped back to bare stonework, plaster falling off and, with no heating, it was pretty cold and damp.
“It took a lot of imagination to see the potential.”
Holly bought the cottage in 2012 and devoted lots of time to its transformation.
“I tried to keep as many original features as possible, such as one of the original fireplaces, wood panelling and big cast iron bath. I even managed to keep the original front door which I’ve pained tiffany blue.
“I used professional workmen but, as I enjoyed the renovation process, did some work myself.”
On the market at offers over £140,000, the accommodation begins with a front hall giving access to all the ground floor accommodation while stairs lead to the first floor.
The lounge/dining room has partial original wood panelling while large, dual aspect windows make it a lovely bright room.
“This is my favourite room,” said Holly, who is mum to one-year-old Violet. “It’s such a light space and I love looking out to sea from the dining table. The view is constantly changing and can range from the calm and peaceful to the stormy and dramatic, each so fascinating to watch from the comfort of the cosy cottage.
“This was also the area of the house where I felt the renovations had the biggest impact, creating a nice flow through the cottage from hallway to living room/dining. Quite often you can be sitting at the table enjoying breakfast while watching dolphins swimming outside.”
Next to the lounge is the fully-fitted modern kitchen which has plenty of units, an integral dishwasher, fitted electric oven and cooker hood and an induction hob.
This floor also has a shower room and a double bedroom with stylish fire surround, built-in cupboard and dual aspect windows. The room could alternatively be used as formal dining room, second lounge or home office.
Moving upstairs, large Velux windows flood the upper hall, which has decorative traditional wooden ceiling beams, with natural light. There are two double bedrooms and a stylish bathroom with three-piece suite and over-bath Mira power shower.
Outside, the front garden is ideal for alfresco dining and entertaining as it features a patio surrounded by bushes, shrubs and Belfast sink planter. There’s a chipped stone seating area and pathway leading to a secluded area to the side of the property. “I love that we can just step out the front door into the garden and from there look out to the sea,” said Holly, 31.
The cottage also comes with an outhouse complete with cute original cast iron fireplace, light and power. It is plumbed for an automatic washing machine, and there’s a sink, worktop and WC.
“I lived in the cottage and also let it out as a holiday cottage for a year or two and for most of that time we were fully booked.
“We had guests from all over the world who loved the location, with many returning several times. As my partner Steven and I now live in Ellon, we have been visiting the cottage on weekends.
“Our daughter Violet loves the aquarium across the road and the ice cream in nearby Portsoy helps the adults cool down. Our wider family also love staying and enjoy the fresh local fish from the shop just a short walk away.
“I feel sad about selling but once you have a baby life changes.
“I’m really glad I got the chance to own the cottage.
“I feel like if I hadn’t bought it it would have been left to rack and ruin – I think I’ve brought it back to life.”
Contact: Peterkins, Keith, on 01542 882537.