Take a look inside this North Berwick semi-detached haven

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It looks like an ordinary house in an ordinary street. But  Paul Morrice’s North Berwick home transports you to another world

 words Malcolm Jack photography Will Scott

Even the most ordinary house can be made extraordinary with the right amount of energy, pragmatism and expertise. That’s the inspiring example set by Paul Morrice, founder and director of award-winning kitchen design and manufacture studio Archispek, with his marvellously reinvented North Berwick home.

“I think you’re getting better value,” reasons Paul of his 1930s purchase, made in September 2020 for just £250,000 (around half the current average property price in North Berwick).

“You can put more of a touch on it. There’s a lot of new-build homes gone up here, but I think this is much better.”

This North Berwick semi-detached home has been absolutely invigorated with the new design work both in around the home.
IMAGE | Will Scott

Together with highly sought-after Glasgow-based architecture practice Loader Monteith, Paul has transformed a functional 1930s semi-detached property on an interwar housing estate into a subtle and surprising triumph of cool contemporary aesthetics and practical open-plan family living.

The sleek and humble kitchen of this North Berwick-based home.
IMAGE | Will Scott

It boasts a gracefully slanting wraparound extension, a smartly reorganised floorplan, and massive windows to draw in light. And it has a knockout kitchen, of course.

The place needed work, but Paul had no shortage of great architects in his contacts book.

Ordinarily, we probably wouldn’t have taken this job on, given its scale. It was only because it was Paul that we were willing to do it.

Asking Loader Monteith, who Archispek has collaborated with since the early days of both firms, was a no-brainer. Iain King, director at Loader Monteith, admits, “In all honesty, ordinarily, we probably wouldn’t have taken this job on, given its scale. It was only because it was Paul that we were willing to do it. It’s a compliment that he chose us to do his own house.”

IMAGE | Will Scott

Loader Monteith’s main role was in masterminding the extension of the house. Working within the limitations of an awkwardly shaped corner plot, the team came up with a roughly L-shaped configuration, which itself tapers to the narrowing contours of the site.

The huge, heavy, fibre-cement-clad front door needs to be handled with care on stormy days (“We have to make the kids go out the patio doors when its windy,” laughs Paul).

Upon entering, you’re greeted with a hall that’s by contrast gentle and bright, its pale oak cabinetry and white walls softly reflecting the natural light that pours in through a glazed panel in the ceiling.

This home boasts unique designs in North Berwick.
IMAGE | Will Scott

“What we wanted to do was ensure that everything inside the house was a complete surprise,” says Iain.

You’ve got this stark, grey exterior, which fits in with the dark-grey skies in North Berwick and the North Sea. Then internally, you have this bright, airy space with warm textures.

The brand-new heart of the home, occupying what was once the living room, is the kitchen. It’s another brilliant example of Archispek’s craft: clutter-free clean lines, bold colours, shapes and textures, and above all, great functionality.

IMAGE | Will Scott

The porcelain island was designed specifically with the children in mind. Like many other things about their new North Berwick home, it has positively influenced the ways in which they all relate and spend time together.

“Before, the kids would be in their rooms. Now, we all come together in the same area because it’s more open. As a family, it has brought us together more.”

Read the full interview about this gem in North Berwick in the May & June edition of Homes & Interiors Scotland – get your copy here.

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