Edinburgh home proves pragmatic design can be powerful

A dazzling townhouse refurbishment is raising the standard in Edinburgh

When Anna Atwal and her husband Haj bought a flat on Edin­burgh’s Great King Street, in the heart of the New Town, they knew they’d found their natural home. And when a townhouse across the road from their flat was put up for sale in 2013, they were quick to make a move for it. “It was love at first sight!” recalls Anna. The couple were smitten by the staircase and the intricate vaulted ceiling. “The Gothic ceiling in the reception hallway and the curves of the stairwell really sealed it for us. It was so unusual to see such features in a Georgian townhouse.”
By a further stroke of luck, the owners of the townhouse’s basement flat were also looking to move on, so Anna and Haj were able to buy this property too and thus restore the four-storey building to its original configuration.
Anna was well placed to oversee the renovations, having recently completed a similar townhouse development in the city’s Stockbridge district. She studied history of art at university and says she has always been drawn to creative projects. She began dabbling in interior design when still a student, transforming her own flat, and went on to work on property development with her husband in the capital. As commissions from clients grew, she decided to formalise her interior design work earlier this year, setting up PAD Lifestyle, an interiors boutique in Edinburgh and an online home and fashion store that also offers an interior design service along with a range of limited-edition furniture.
At Great King Street, the couple lived in the basement flat while the upper floors were being gutted and renovated, eventually moving upstairs in the spring of 2014. “The house had no centre ceiling lights and our electrician told us the wiring was old and dangerous,” recalls Anna. So that’s where they began, stripping back the old electrics and installing a whole new system.
Anna was keen to bring natural light into the house wherever possible, so while she didn’t really change the footprint of the house, she made subtle, modern alterations such as taking down walls that had been inserted over the years (and so were not original to the property) and opening up doorways to integrate adjoining spaces. “The house had been chopped up in the 1990s but much had been preserved and we were keen to make the house one again,” she explains.

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 214-226, issue 104.

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WHAT A multi-storey Georgian townhouse
WHERE Edinburgh’s Newtown
Interviews Judy Diamond
Photography Douglas Gibb