Just add friends: Granite townhouse ready to party

With their children grown up and moved out, the owners of this house were ready to let their hair down. Now, after an architectural shake-up, it’s time to get the party started

A party house: hot tub, astroturf walls and plasma TV visible from outer space. That’s fine if you’re a hiphop superstar. But what if you are a couple who have outgrown the Snoop Dogg aesthetic but still want a home that is wildly social with an unmistakable wow factor? With their children grown up, Aberdonians Ian and Irene Findlay were ready to live somewhere sophisticated and sleek, with plenty of space for her wine, his cars and lots of guests.
At first sight, the couple’s granite townhouse did not tick any of these boxes. Architect Marie-Louise Dunk recalls being underwhelmed: “It felt like an unloved house. There was a very odd layout on the ground floor, with two big reception rooms knocked together into a space that was not really usable. At the back was a beastly 1970s extension. There was a peculiar kitchen with lots of units but no space for a table. It was a well-proportioned family house, but it was missing a heart.”
Marie-Louise’s strategy was to split up the useless space into more manageable rooms, and flatten the old extension and replace it with a kitchen-dining room. In a conservation area this would, she thought, attract the ire of the planning authorities. She was wrong: the plans were returned without so much as a quibble.
Then came the curve ball. Demolition of the old extension revealed a huge, unused space beneath the property. It was immediately obvious to Ian – and to Marie-Louise, who shares his passion for vintage Audi Turbos – how it should be used. It is now a three-car garage and workshop. They even squeezed in a utility room.

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 112-114, issue 92.

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Words Anna Burnside
Photography Neale Smith
What Construction of an extension, basement garage and kitchen in a two-storey granite townhouse
Where West end, Aberdeen
Architect Jam Studio, 01467 641670
Approximate cost £200,000