WHAT Detached Victorian villa
WHERE Brookfield, Bridge of Weir
PRICE Offers over £525,000
CONTACT Cochran Dickie 01505 613 807
A small community was founded when a Victorian architect built this house in Renfrewshire ... and it’s still on the up, writes Ann Wallace.
WHEN you have lived in and loved a home for almost four decades – especially one as beautiful and as grand as the Victorian villa Branscroft – it is undeniably hard to leave.
That is probably why Alistair and Jeanette Steel are only moving next door….
"I’ve built a new house in part of the garden," explains Alistair.
"We didn’t want to move far. We have lived here for 38 years but now that our family has grown up and moved out, it’s a rather big house for just the two of us."
Branscroft is a five-bedroomed detached family home in the hamlet of Brookfield, not far from the Renfrewshire villages of Bridge of Weir and Houston.
Alistair was brought up in Paisley and admits until he saw Branscroft was for sale, he had never heard of Brookfield.
"Even though it’s just a few miles from Paisley I didn’t know it existed," he recalls.
"It’s a lovely, small village for all the world in the countryside, and yet so close to Glasgow.
"Initially, I was attracted to the house because it came with such a huge amount of ground. Even though we have now built another house on the land, there is still just under an acre of mature wooded garden grounds left at Branscroft."
Branscroft was built around the year 1900, by a local architect who wanted to create an imposing home for himself and his family.
Alistair explains: "It was the first house in the village – in fact, he really considered himself to be the proprietor of the village.
"He owned all the ground which gradually he sold off for other houses to make the village what it is today."
The traditional Victorian villa on the site has been extended over the years to create an extensive, spacious family home.
The first sight, as you approach up the tree-lined driveway, is impressive and imposing, but inside, the welcome is warm and homely.
A broad reception hallway with an attractive period staircase, complete with rich red carpet and warm wooden balustrade, leads into the dining room and a formal lounge, with its box bay window and access to a covered courtyard, lies off to the left.
The Steels have re-imagined a useful walk-in storage cupboard as a bar – perfect for parties, in a house which has seen its fair share of fantastic family gatherings.
A rear hallway leads to the attractive breakfasting kitchen, which has been extended to create a comfortable, modern space, full of natural light, which is easily the heart of the home. Also accessed from this rear hallway are a WC and handy utility room, which provides access into the garden.
The interesting layout, with its quirky shapes and abundance of windows, means the kitchen also accesses the dining room and a comfortable sitting room which has a staircase up to the main bedroom.
Both sitting room and bedroom are spectacular rooms, situated in the turret at the heart of the building. The former has its own fireplace and western turret, while the main bedroom comes with its own luxury en-suite with shower and separate bath.
The staircase in the main section of the house leads to bathroom on a half-landing and three further double bedrooms.
The Steels have made considerable sympathetic improvements over the years, including re-roofing the property and improving heating and electrics and while a degree of modernising is required, with the period features still in-situ the majority of the work needing done is decorative.
"One of the first jobs we did was to take all the white paint off the internal doors, skirting and windows, to reveal some lovely, top quality timber," says Alistair.
"All of the wooden furniture I made myself from timber grown in the garden – I love doing this type of work." The wooded gardens to the front and side of the house are perfect for relaxing or exploring, giving the new owners a taste of rural life within easy reach of plenty of urban benefits.
While Brookfield is a small village, it is home to a great social scene, including a local tennis club and a bowling green, and its proximity to the M8 motorway provides easy access to the surrounding towns and villages.
Nearby Johnstone provides excellent rail links to Glasgow and beyond.
"Jeanette and I have loved living here," smiles Alistair. "It’s the ideal family house – a great place to bring up children because you feel like you are in the country, but you are so close to everything thanks to a great motorway connection just a couple of minutes away."