First published in ESPC News, November 2017

When pub landlords, Jonny and Lyn first acquired this traditional little house in Newhaven, it required full renovation and modernisation. It had very small rooms and was in a dilapidated state, in much need of TLC. The couple had a vision for it however, seeing the potential it contained that others couldn’t see, and falling in love with its unique character. They appointed us in March 2016 to help them make their vision become a reality.

The first stage was to get their ideas into a working design. The “garden” – more of a scruffy patch of land at the back of the property– was over-shadowed by a church and got little sunlight so our clients were happy to sacrifice this in order to extend the property and increase the area inside.  Inside, the property was completely remodelled. Our design involved removing all the interior walls, the upper floor and a large portion of the rear wall, leaving just the shell of the building to contain a new, modern space.

On the ground floor, we opened out the area into a fully open plan kitchen and living space, moving the staircase from its original location as well as relocating the front door to its original position at the front of the property. This maximised floor space in the small area. In the extended area where the kitchen was to be housed, we designed large windows and roof lights in to maximise light coming in and provide a view onto the beautiful stained-glass windows of the church behind.

Upstairs was also completely remodelled. Our brief was to ensure Jonny and Lyn had space for their relatives to stay as well as a home office to run their business from. The couple were keen to extend into the attic and since space was limited and we came up with a design that involved raising the roof to allow this to happen, creating a new mezzanine level for guests to sleep in above an office area. This was a challenge to agree with Building Control: the fact that the third level was not enclosed meant it was difficult to comply with fire regulations. We successfully negotiated however and agreed with the Building Control Officer that a sprinkler system would be installed to be automatically set off in the event of a fire. This allowed us to continue with the open plan theme that Jonny and Lyn were keen to have throughout the house. We also left room on the middle floor for a good-sized master bedroom and a luxury bathroom containing a large walk-in shower which doubles as a steam room.

Completely remodelling the inside of this building was challenging: creating a space within the walls of an existing building can be more of a challenge than a new build home. Furthermore, being of historic interest means the building is listed and we had to apply for Listed Building Consent as well as Planning Permission. The extensive amount of work being carried out, including moving point of access, required lengthy negotiations with the Planning Department. Obtaining the Building Warrant was also a challenge, since we had to ensure the complex design complied with regulations. We were successful however and obtained Planning and Listed Building Consent in June 2016 and a Building Warrant in March 2017.

Works began as soon as we obtained the Warrant and took 3 months to complete the major construction work. In July 2017 we went on to install the kitchen and bathroom. Jonny and Lyn chose a modern kitchen from Richard F. Mackay with a clean, sharp look and all mod cons. The bathroom had a similar feel and modern, high-tech features were used throughout the property. Meanwhile in the living room, the stone work was left exposed, displaying the original character of the building. The couple have an eye for design and the look was finished with a range of modern and traditional furniture pieces which tie together very well with our architectural design.

In August 2017, all work was complete and Jonny and Lyn could move into their home along with cats Minky and Mya. Mya wasn’t so sure and made a dash out the front door one night, migrating back to their old flat a mile away. However, she is now happily safely back with her owners and the four of them are settling in nicely.

Jonny and Lyn are owners of the Roseleaf Bar café in Leith.  They purchased the property for £167,777 in December 2015. A total of £123,000 was spent on the works, including all building works, fixtures & fittings, professional and application fees.  The property has been recently valued by McEwan Fraser Legal. It has an expected home report value of £310,000, with an expected higher sale value due to its high-quality finish.

Update, April 2019
Jonny and Lyn have recently put the property on the market at offers over £340,000.