Luxury benefits of life in a landmark
The Playfair building at Donaldson’s is without doubt one of Edinburgh’s most notable and distinctive buildings with its palatial appearance making it a landmark in its own right. A category A listed building constructed between 1842 and 1851, it sits in an estate bequeathed to the city by newspaper editor James Donaldson to serve as the setting for a children’s orphanage.
Designed by the great architect of the period, William Henry Playfair, it was originally a hospital for orphans but went on to become a specialist school for deaf children. The school has now moved to Linlithgow, and The Playfair building, in its elevated setting on the edge of the city’s World Heritage Site, is acquiring a new future as the focal point for an outstanding residential project by heritage developer City & Country.
The family-owned business, which has more than half a century’s experience in the restoration and conversion of historic and listed buildings, is creating 110 apartments, which carefully incorporate many of the building’s original historic features and proportions. Three show apartments have now been unveiled, and are certain to attract an exceptionally high level of interest as the developers have received more than 2000 inquiries from potential purchasers.
One of these newly opened show-homes, a three-bedroom property, originally served as the office for the school’s headmaster. In its new form today that is hard to believe. Incorporating a mezzanine level, it features a large dining kitchen, a spacious living area, downstairs bathroom as well as en-suites for two of its bedrooms, including the mezzanine bedroom, positioned to make it possible to lie in bed and gaze at the vast panoramic outlook.
The nearby two-bedroom show apartment also underlines how cleverly former classrooms have been transformed into luxury homes. Its surprise aspect is a study within one of the building’s turrets. Third of the trio of show-homes reveals even more variety. Adding another three-bed, split-level home it has a corner setting so has outlooks to both the south and west.
The west-facing bedroom has a dressing room large enough to be a nursery or bedroom in its own right, but being complete with shelving and hanging space aplenty is very much on course to be a highly prized area for those with a passion for fashion.
There’s also a mezzanine bedroom and the third bedroom, on the home’s lower level, has an en suite with a difference – a vast wet-room which takes full advantage of the building’s angular architecture. And these modern homes pay homage to the building’s architecture. Detailing includes cornicing, generous ceiling heights, wainscot panelling and fireplaces, and renovated doors and windows. Carefully preserved, too, is the war memorial in the magnificent entrance hallway which honours the school’s former staff and pupils who lost their lives.
Not so obvious, but vital for the future residents, is the underground car park. Residents will also have full use of the maintained grounds, and a concierge service. One other acknowledgement to the building’s past life is the school desk carefully positioned within the corridor that provides access to the newly opened show apartments.
Prices for the current release range from £450,000 to £1,250,000. First residents are likely to be moving in later this month.