City & Country sets new record at the WhatHouse? Awards 2023
Stunning former chapel reshaped into exclusive homes, says Paul Drury. For those seeking a stylish sanctuary in the capital, this could be the answer to your prayers- a choice of grand apartments set within a former chapel, the centrepiece of Donaldson’s Hospital, near Edinburgh’s Haymarket. The A-listed building, designed by famed architect William Playfair, has been through a number of incarnations, including latterly a school for blind children, before being converted to a collection of exclusive flats.
Essex-based family firm City and Country saved the best for of last, refusing to rush the creation of the three flats in the turreted stained-glass chapel. Now ready for sale, the two and three bedroom properties merge 19th century ecclesiastical grandeur with luxury modern-day accessories such as the free standing bath located in one of the turreted bathrooms. Great care has been taken in their preparation. You can still make out the Latin motto, Laus Dec (Praise be to God). Etched into the floor-to-ceiling glass.
Listed building consent was required from Historic Environment Scotland to repair and treat original timber panels. Expert glaziers were brought in to replace glass sections and lead in the windows.
Each chapel apartment features these windows, with one of the most impressive homes offering views of the landscaped gardens and parkland from a grand double-height vantage point. This property also includes the chapel’s two historic turrets which have been converted into unique living spaces. A large open-plan kitchen with a bespoke island area provides triple-aspect views.
Residents at Playfair at Donaldson’s will also benefit from access to communal area which have already been restored. These include the grand entrance hall and impressive original staircase, both finished with brass fitting and luxury carpets. The Club room, overlooking a courtyard, offers a choice of refreshments to residents and visitors.
Suzzane Aplin, Sales and marketing director at City and Country, said “The chapel is an incredible space and these new apartments are some of the most distinctive in Edinburgh. The beautiful, large stained-glass windows offer a real wow factor to friends and family but throughout the apartment many other unique features and living spaces can be found. Living in such a striking historic building minutes from the city centre, is an incredibly rare opportunity.”
There are 109 other flats within this imposing conversion. Octagonal turrets adorn all sides of the building. With original windows and eye-catching roof domes of copper, which has oxidised over the years to give their distinctive green colour. Much of the external stone, originally sourced from Binny Quarry, has been left untouched. Where repairs were necessary stone masons had to abseil from the Gothic Towers by rope.