The dark, dingy kitchen of this Victorian villa has been transformed by the addition of a spacious glass extension and the creation of a superb wine cellar
Period properties, despite their many attractions, are famously ill suited to the demands of modern living. This Victorian house in Edinburgh’s Morningside was no exception. It had been altered at various points over the past century, including the creation of a kitchen by knocking together several small rooms, but when its new owners Claire and Mark Urquhart bought the property, they weren’t convinced. The kitchen felt dark and unwieldy, with a poorly conceived layout that faced away from the elevated views over the garden.
Next to the kitchen was a single-glazed traditional conservatory with all the usual problems of overheating in summer and condensation in winter. The house also suffered from a lack of flow and focus as a result of having three entry points: there was the main entrance into the hallway and the more formal areas of the house; there was what would have been the servants’ entrance, leading down into the chilly, window-less basement; and there was a third entrance, which gave access to the family room and kitchen area. The last two led into dark corridors and fragmented spaces.
The Urquharts turned to Liz Roxburgh of Roxburgh McEwan Architects. “I thought the house had real potential,” says Liz. “It felt like a real family home, but there was no denying it was old-fashioned and cellular. The basement had an unappealing games room, and the owners were keen to make this a better space for their children. They’d had a spiral wine cellar in their previous house, so they also asked us to think about where something similar could go here.”
Liz quickly realised that the lower level of the house was ripe for converting into a wine cellar. “There was no need for an off-the-shelf wine cellar when the basement offered the best potential. We could transform the space and incorporate it into the rest of the house.”
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