The Art of living in the country

The Art of living in the country
Ardfruoch adapts well to family living

How a stunning home in Kilmacolm, designed by James Austin Laird, has been updated for modern family living. By Ann Wallace

WHAT: Arts and Crafts-style detached home

WHERE: Kilmacolm

PRICE: Offers over £999,000

CONTACT: Robb Residential 0141 225 3880

JAMES Austin Laird, the renowned architect who lived in Kilmacolm, had very high standards when it came to designing properties in his home village.

A contemporary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Austin Laird was incredibly talented, apprenticed to an architect when he was a young man and already designing and building houses in his early twenties.

He designed houses to be part of the natural landscape, taking great care over the detail. He would have been delighted, therefore, to see the care and attention lavished on one of his finest creations by current owners.

Ardfruoch is a distinctive detached house in the Arts and Crafts style, with Austin Laird’s signature red roof, and it has been extended and modernised sympathetically in recent years.

Current owner Bill Gordon, who moved in seven years ago explains: "The house appealed to us for a number of reasons, not least because it was hugely charming, with wonderful views.

"It seemed like a great project, too. It had already had considerable work done to it, but we also carried out some renovation work. We stripped back the wood, removing the black lacquer which made it look quite foreboding, and that made a real difference. It really brightened up the house."

The biggest transformation for the Gordons, however, was the upgrading of the attic space into a stunning, flexible space that could be used as a fifth bedroom suite, an office, a cinema room, a fitness suite, or a playroom.

"It has been a very useful room – especially for the kids," smiles Bill.

"When their friends come round and they can all disappear off up there. It gives them a bit of independence and it can be used for many things."

Ardfruoch’s broad open plan reception hall leads through to a comfortable sitting room, with restored walnut timbers and a claygate fireplace with a log burner, and a fine drawing room, full of space and light.

Both rooms are decorated in subtle shades with splashes of colour with a contemporary Scottish feel in the use of muted tartan fabrics and rich colours.

The ground floor also includes a useful home office, or study, and the spacious kitchen includes a fantastic island unit and breakfasting bar. French doors lead out on to the terrace, extending the space into the outdoors and allowing light to flood in.

The elegant dining room, with its oak floor and box window, is a quieter, more formal space. Its simple, contemporary styling and large window provide a sense of space and airiness.

The first floor includes the impressive master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, a pleasant morning room, and a dressing room. This floor also features a refitted family shower room, three further bedrooms and a study, and the aforementioned converted attic space completes the third floor. Ardfruoch is one of only two houses in the village to have direct access to Kilmacolm golf course.

It is set in woodland gardens of around two and a quarter acres, close to beautiful Glen Moss Nature Reserve and Whinney Hill wood. The views over the village, across to Windyhill and Misty Law are spectacular.

The gardens are lovely – there are mature trees, colourful rhododendrons, beautiful flowering shrubs and the overall effect is one of privacy and peacefulness, with all year round colour and scent. Kilmacolm village is within walking distance, with local stores, popular village restaurants, coffee shops and boutique stores, and the surrounding countryside boasts walks, cycle tracks , angling and salmon runs.

The village has bus services to Glasgow and there are mainline rail links at nearby Langbank and Johnstone, with Glasgow Airport and its wide selection of domestic and international flights also within easy reach via the motorway network.

Bill and his family have loved their time at Ardfruoch.

"When we came here, our children were at school in Kilmacolm but now that they are grown up we are downsizing and moving on," he says.

"It’s a very comfortable house – relaxing by the fire in the sitting room on a cold winter’s night, looking out on the garden being blown about, is my favourite spot."

"It has been a wonderful family home and we hope the new owners get as much enjoyment out of living here as we have."

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