Edinburgh Architects Blend The Old With The New

 

Edinburgh Architects Blend The Old With The New

Edinburgh has a unique landscape. For centuries planners and architects have used the natural topography of the city to their advantage. The post-volcanic ridge running from the castle to the Canongate provides the spine for the herringbone array of closes and wynds, while the contrasting flatness of the land to the north gave us the perfect foundation for Craig’s grand plan for the New Town. The result is that we now have two UNESCO World Heritage Sites side by side. It may be a historic wonder, but it’s not a museum; Edinburgh is a living, breathing city – home to almost 500,000 people. It’s important therefore, when considering architecture and design, that we continue to adapt to modern living while being sympathetic to the past – a balancing act that’s not for the faint-hearted. But, fortune favours the brave as they say and in our next few blogs Mackenzie Hughes would like to recognise the outstanding work from Edinburgh architects who successfully blend the old with the new and achieve stunning results.

St James Church Hall Property Development, Portobello   

The first of these is the St James’s church hall development at Portobello by multi-award winning architect Sonia Browse. The project not only recognises the area’s conservation status but uses it as a prime feature for the benefit of the people who will not only live in the newly built homes, but for others in the community too

Ambitious two-phase development

In 2015 the Church of Scotland decided to sell two of its local churches in Portobello. One of these sites – Grade B listed St James’s church was bought by property developer Pete Turner and so began the process of securing planning permission for a two-phase development. The first phase – to build three mews townhouses on the site where the church hall stood and the second – the conversion of the church itself into four separate houses. Local architect Sonia Browse was commissioned to design the development and in a couple of months phase one will be complete.

Pete Turner said, “From the start we intended this to be a development that enhanced and preserved the style of the area, while being sympathetic to the existing listed church building. The positive feedback we received from our consultation with Edinburgh Council, the church committee and residents’ associations throughout the pre-planning phase affirmed our purpose and design objectives and furthered our confidence that we would achieve planning permission for the site.”

Phase one – Three mews townhouses

 

 

The design of the mews houses is inspired by the ‘linked villa’ style typical of the late-Georgian properties in the nearby Brighton and Rosefield area. The garage of each property is set back from the street, joining houses together in a similar way to the single-story wings which link the properties in the neighbouring streets. Elements of the design borrow from the Gothic ‘perpendicular style’ of the church itself.

Despite being a modest two-storey size, the houses have a vertical emphasis created by separating and modelling the two planes of the front elevation, which draws the eye up to the sky, echoing the soaring arches and gable profiles of the Church. This is further emphasised by the tall windows which give the illusion of being double height.

 

 

Each townhouse features light-filled open-plan living spaces with under-floor heating and wood-burning stoves. Large bi-fold doors on the ground floor lead to the south-east facing private gardens at the rear.

 

 

Each property has four generously-sized double bedrooms with exposed trusses – two of which have large clearstory glazing, whilst the other two bedrooms lead to an upper terrace. A large window from the terrace draws light down the stair in the centre of the plan.

 

 

The outside space meets the Scottish Government recommendations on making ‘streets as places first’. Designed as a quiet mews with no access to through traffic, the common area in front of the houses will provide a social, community space and place for children to play.

The sustainable house designs have been arranged to maximise daylight and passive heat gains while the design of the triple aspect homes allows cross ventilation and good levels of natural ventilation through the home.  The homes will be of a timber kit and fabric construction with good airtightness levels complemented by a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system (MHRV).

Phase Two – Church conversion to four homes

 

 

The conversion of the church itself is an ambitious project to create four separate houses within the original structure.

The unique features of each section of the church such as the narthex, nave and chancel along with the barrel-vaulted ceiling will be integrated to blend the old with the new.  Browse the drawings below or click here to view the full design and access statement for the St James Church Hall project. For more details on this and other projects email Sonia Browse Architects on info@soniabrowsearchitects.com  or call 0131 258 4653.

 

 

 

 

Creating the Perfect Edinburgh Garden

Creating the Perfect Edinburgh Garden

Edinburgh’s New Town, when seen on a satellite image, can appear quite grey. This is no surprise; the city is renowned for its Georgian architecture and the ashlar stone used in its construction adds further uniformity to James Craig’s award-winning street design. However, zoom in closer and the image opens to reveal row upon row of lush and vibrant green spaces. Edinburgh residents, like most people living in Scotland, love their gardens and spending time in a well-designed outdoor space is the ideal antidote for the high-octane pressures of modern life. Here, property restoration specialist, Mackenzie Hughes outlines what it takes to design the perfect Edinburgh garden with help from garden and landscape design studio, silver flowe design.

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Lighting the Art Collection in your Edinburgh Home

Lighting the Art Collection in your Edinburgh Home

When we admire our favourite work of art in a museum we are seldom aware of the intricate work that goes on behind the scenes to show it to its best advantage. Take lighting for example. If exposed to the wrong kind of lighting – both natural and artificial – harmful UV rays will fade a painting and it will deteriorate over time. It therefore takes a close collaboration of experts to ensure it not only looks its best but can be enjoyed by art lovers for years to come. Edinburgh period home restoration specialist Mackenzie Hughes explains how you can apply the same lighting principles used in art galleries and museums around the world to your own personal art collection.

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Tiles For Your Edinburgh Home

Bathroom renovation by Mackenzie Hughes. Image courtesy of Savills estate agents. Photography by Floorplanz.

Tiles For Your Edinburgh Home

Tiles have been an integral component of interior and exterior design for thousands of years, adorning the floors and walls of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Rome. Richly patterned tiles were a sign of wealth and their designs give us an insight into craftsmanship and culture throughout the ages. Beautiful, well-made tiles deliver a wow factor in any home and their practicality, combined with longevity, makes them a wise investment when renovating your property. Builder and property restoration company, Mackenzie Hughes brings you the lowdown on tiles suitable for a range of Edinburgh properties from period townhouses to contemporary new-builds with some added tips for extra pizzazz.

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The Edinburgh Georgian Period Smart Home

The Edinburgh Georgian Period Smart Home

Housemaids in Regency Edinburgh led a hard life – imagine washing dozens of plates by hand after a dinner party with no more than lye or sand to use as an abrasive. By comparison, our modern-day servants live a life of luxury. They simply lie around in wait for our next instruction – “Alexa…dim the lights by 20%.” Edinburgh builder and period home restoration company, Mackenzie Hughes looks at the appeal of the smart home.

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Life as an Apprentice with Edinburgh Builder Mackenzie Hughes

Life as an Apprentice with Edinburgh Builder Mackenzie Hughes

Mackenzie Hughes apprentice joiner, Jack Beecroft

Life as an apprentice with Edinburgh Builder Mackenzie Hughes means every day is a learning day, according to nineteen-year old Jack Beecroft. Following in the footsteps of his father Billy, an experienced, time-served joiner with the same firm, Jack joined Mackenzie Hughes over two years ago. “I attended Bo’ness Academy, but quickly realised that the academic path wasn’t for me,” said Jack. In a time when record numbers of young people attend university, it’s refreshing to meet a young man driven to follow a trade instead. After all, someone needs to build our universities in the first place, or have the necessary skills to ensure that existing ones are continually upgraded to meet the demands of the modern academic world.

 

Edinburgh builder, Mackenzie Hughes is just one of many Scottish businesses to appreciate the value of investing in apprenticeships which contribute to the lifeblood of the Scottish economy. According to the Scottish Government website, as of March 2017, there were 363,235 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs. SMEs accounted for 99.4% of all private sector enterprises, 55.0% of private sector employment and 40.1% of private sector turnover. With so much at stake, Rory Forteath, Mackenzie Hughes Managing Director appreciates how important it is to provide a viable alternative for young people who don’t see themselves applying for university. “There’s just so much emphasis on school leavers going to university, but it’s clearly not for everyone,” said Rory.  “Our education system needs to place as much value on those who aren’t academically inclined and help them explore their potential in other fields including the building and construction industry. Scotland has a rich heritage in building and construction; taking Edinburgh’s 300-year old ‘New Town’ as a prime example, we need to ensure that we pass on our traditional skills, so we can preserve these fine buildings, while at the same time enhancing them through modern technology.”

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The Perfect Bathroom or Wet Room for Your Edinburgh Home

Creating the perfect bathroom or wet room for your Edinburgh home comes down to various factors including lifestyle, space and personal taste. Edinburgh builder Mackenzie Hughes takes you on a tour of some luxurious bathrooms, wet rooms and en-suites to give you the inspiration to transform the smallest – and sometimes not so smallest- room in your home.

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Add Value to Your Edinburgh Property With a Home Extension

Adding a high-quality home extension is more than a lifestyle enhancing decision – it’s an investment. The extra square footage alone is enough to add around an extra 11% to the value of a property. But, what factors do you need to consider when planning your new extension and how can you make the most of the extra space? Here are some ideas from Edinburgh builder, Mackenzie Hughes for a home extension to work around your needs while also adding value to your property.

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Edinburgh Property Refurbishment – the Fine Detail

Edinburgh Property Refurbishment – the Fine Detail

Refurbishing an Edinburgh period property to create a luxurious modern home requires the highest level of craftsmanship and passion. It also takes an expert eye and an uncompromising attention to detail to go far beyond a client’s expectations. Here is a current project from Edinburgh building and restoration company, Mackenzie Hughes, which demonstrates how attention to detail makes the difference between simply creating a beautiful home, and one which is truly spectacular.  We’re only part of the way through the restoration and will publish photos of the end result on the portfolio section of our website, but for now we would like to share some of the intricate work being carried out to demonstrate that the difference the fine detail really does make.

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Cornice Mouldings for Edinburgh Period Homes

Highly ornate Georgian cornice and frieze in Regent Terrace property. Restoration by Mackenzie Hughes

Cornices and other decorative plaster mouldings are a key feature in period homes. Edinburgh builder Mackenzie Hughes explains why they originally became fashionable and how they’ve adapted over time. We’ll also give some advice on restoring your damaged cornice or other interior mouldings to keep them as fresh as possible.

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