Escape: Well Court Hall, Edinburgh

Innovative architecture and carefully crafted interior design has turned this former community hall into a stylish getaway in the heart of Edinburgh

We’ve all heard the very effective (if somewhat tired) advertising slogan beginning “if Carlsberg did…” Well, it seems only appropriate to use it here: if Carlsberg did a girls’ weekend away, it would begin and end at Well Court Hall.

Well Court is in the heart of Edinburgh’s picturesque Dean Village, which lies between the west end and Stock­bridge and is just a short stroll from both. Commissioned in 1883 by Sir John Findley, owner of the Scotsman newspaper, the building was designed to be social housing. We arrived to find tourists taking pictures of the stun­ning red sandstone exterior (always a good sign). Heading across the central courtyard to the far left corner, we found Well Court Hall, the former community hall, now a three-bedroom apartment complete with its own clock tower and turrets. I half-expected the large blue door and spiral stone staircase to lead up to some sort of Disney princess wonder­land, but what lay ahead was a much more modern masterpiece.

Edinburgh-based Lynsay Bell Architecture was enlisted to transform the interiors (which were being used as offices), and it has made great use of the dramatically high ceilings and original features. The architect has expertly married the old and the new to create a look so seamless it’s hard to imagine it any other way. The retained original 19th-century elements, such as the stained glass, timber panelling, fireplace and mezzanine, are only enhanced by the elements of 21st-century design and clever lighting (the backlit roof trusses on the top level are particu­larly impressive), and the finished look is polished.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 249-251, issue 109.

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Photography Angus Bremner
Words Caitlin Clements