Modernist gem of a property
Monday, September 6th, 2004
on behalf of Alistir Wood Tait Antique and Fine Jewellery
JEWELLER and gemmologist Alistir Tait is selling off one of his most precious assets – the distinctive city property he has called home for the past eight years.
As one of the country’s best-known jewellery experts it is normal for Alistir to discuss settings, though he is usually talking about a suitable mount for a Scottish sapphire or ruby.
However, he knows only too well that setting is just as vital in terms of estate agency and is confident his own four-bedroom home will provoke widespread interest because of its unique location.
The detached house, which is listed in the Edinburgh Architectural Guide, is a modernist gem and was designed in 1974 by one of Scotland’s leading architects of that decade, Sir Anthony Wheeler, who also designed Edinburgh College of Art’s prestigious Hunter Building.
Set in the heart of the Dean Village, Hawthornbank House, is spread over three floors with four bedrooms, a garage and a sizeable garden rolling towards the banks of the Water of Leith.
Alistir, who owns Alistir Wood Tait Antique and Fine Jewellery in Rose Street, said: “I will be extremely sad to leave because it is a marvellous place to live, but it’s simply too big for me.
“The location is wonderful because it is on a quiet cul-de-sac and the only traffic through here is people on foot taking a walk through one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful green spots.
“You are in the heart of the city, but there is no traffic noise. In fact the only sound is of the Water of Leith, which is very pleasant indeed.
“It is also a very quirky and individual house. The ground floor could easily be set up as self-contained accommodation – what used to be called a Granny Flat but nowadays would more likely be known as Au Pair Suite. It has a large bedroom with en-suite facilities and a kitchen.
“The first floor is the main living area and has a lounge and dining room, separated by sliding doors which can easily be used as one extremely large room with picture windows along its entire length with stunning views of the Dean Village and the Water of Leith as far as the Dean Gallery.”
The first floor also benefits from a WC and a kitchen, while the top floor has a further three bedrooms and a semi ensuite bathroom.
Alistir added: “It is very light airy space which I have decorated very neutrally to allow it to be used to best display works of art. For the same reason I keep the sofas close to the walls and the rest of the space uncluttered by coffee tables or the like.
“I really do love this house and thought very long and hard about selling up. However, when I first bought it my children were much younger and were regularly here to stay with me.
“My son has now graduated from university and has his own flat in Glasgow, while my daughter is at university and is having far too much fun to come and visit too often.”
Another key feature is the garden, which is the width of the house and stretches towards the banks of the Water of Leith.
Alistir added: “I commissioned the most beautiful wrought iron gate which was handmade to emphasise the flow of the river, so it designed with curves, waves and bubbles.”
The house is being sold for offers over £420,000 by A & WM Urquhart Solicitors, 16 Heriot Row, 0131 556 2896.