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PROPERTY: Beautiful country home near Gleneagles has upper and lower living rooms, two wood burners, vaulted ceilings and great views

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On the short loop around the small development of luxury houses at Allanfield one home stands out.

Number eight has a roof that is spotless, timber cladding that is freshly sanded and oiled, and a new entranceway.

It’s owned by Louise Gibbons, who specialises in renovating high end properties.

Allanfield sits in the countryside a couple of miles from Auchterarder and Gleneagles Hotel.  Surrounded by fields and woodland, with the Perthshire hills throwing their snow-capped teeth across the horizon, it enjoys idyllic views.

Louise, 51, began renovating homes around 15 years ago. She became so good at it that she sold her recruitment agency business to focus on doing up houses full time.

Her biggest project to date was Uplands, an arts and crafts masterpiece in Bridge of Allan, built in 1907 by renowned architect William Leiper. Louise comprehensively overhauled, modernised and restored the mansion, which sits in three acres of land. It set a new ceiling price for Bridge of Allan when it sold for £1.72 million just over a year ago.

Love of renovation

She is currently preparing to break ground on two new-build houses near Gleneagles and will be renovating a period property elsewhere in Perthshire.

“I love transforming old properties,” she says. “I never do slice and dice – lovely old homes shouldn’t be subdivided into flats. Instead I like to take a tired old home and make it so nice that the next owner won’t have to do anything for 20 years.”

Allanfield is a rare thing in Louise’s life: a modern home. Despite this her approach hasn’t changed much. Although 8 Allanfield was only built in 2008 she has completely overhauled it.

She explains: “I’ve had the roof cleaned and repointed. We sanded and oiled all the external timber. Although the house was only built in 2008 and was really over-engineered for its time, the regulations on electrics have been changed since then so we’ve had the wiring redone.”

Very little expense has been spared. The new kitchen is by German brand Nobila and has quartz worktops. There is new solid oak flooring. Bathrooms are made by Porcelanosa.

New layout

Louise made significant changes to the layout of the property. “It was an ‘upside down’ house with the main living areas upstairs,” she continues. “That has some advantages but in the UK we’ve never really taken to first floor living. No one wants to hump their food shopping upstairs.

“It’s also great to have one living area for the kids and a separate one for the grown ups.”

She kept the upstairs living room but turned the upstairs kitchen into an en suite bedroom. Internal walls were removed at ground level to create a new living room with adjacent kitchen.

Louise even removed the original staircase and had a bespoke new one fitted. “The old stairs stuck right out into the hallway,” she says. “They were all you could see when you opened the front door and you had to step around them to get past.”

Now the front door opens to a view through the hallway to the living room and out the window to the rear garden.

The downstairs living room has two large windows facing the garden and a new wood burning stove with oak surround.

A pair of glazed doors opens into the kitchen, which has a dining area at one end. It’s packed with high end appliances. Louise’s favourite is the Nikola Tesla induction hob which has a clever downdraft extractor. This sucks steam and cooking smells downwards into a duct below the house. “It works better than any extractor fan I’ve ever used,” Louise smiles. “It really gets rid of any unwanted cooking smells.”

There is a ground floor bedroom with an en suite bathroom and a door to the garden. Louise uses this as her home office. The ground floor also has a large WC, a utility room and an integrated double garage.

Amazing upstairs rooms

The new stairs rise up to an incredibly impressive space. Allanfield is built from structural insulated panels (SIPs). This means it’s very well insulated. More than that, there are no joists so the ceilings upstairs leap to full roof height, giving a wonderful feeling of space.

At the top of the stairs is a fantastic upper living room. A bank of eight Veluxes throws light across the room and down the stairwell.

Two triangular windows sit either side of a chimney breast which has a large inset log burner. This 7kW stove provides enough heat to keep the entire upper floor warm.

What was once the upstairs kitchen has been turned into a lovely guest bedroom with French doors to a large balcony. It has a jack n’ jill bathroom which can be accessed from the bedroom as well as the landing.

The principal bedroom is a huge space that feels of luxury hotel standard. It has a very large en suite bathroom and two pairs of glazed doors out onto a spacious balcony.

Both balconies, and indeed most of the upstairs windows enjoy fabulous views across the countryside to the hills of Highland Perthshire.

Behind the living area is another section of landing used for home working. Louise’s daughter’s bedroom is to the front of the house and has its own shower room.

All of the upstairs bedrooms enjoy vaulted ceilings and double-height windows. They all have beautiful custom-made shutter blinds.

The front of the house has enough parking for several cars. The back garden is very large for a new build house and enjoys the sunshine all day long. A patio provides a nice spot to enjoy a bbq in the summertime.

Moving on

Louise is a serial buyer-renovater-doer-upper and seller. Her long suffering husband Ramon, 45, and her children are used to packing their bags and upping sticks every year or two.

In this case they won’t have to go too far. The family are moving to a cottage a stone’s throw from Gleneagles hotel, the site of which will be the site for a pair of new build luxury houses Louise is constructing.

Doesn’t she ever get weary of being on the move all the time? “My husband does,” she grins. “I’m always moving us into a draughty period property then putting it up for sale as soon as it’s finished and everything is looking beautiful.

“With men I’ve always found it easy. I found a great man, I love him and I want to stay with him for the rest of my life.

“I’ve always been more promiscuous when it comes to houses. Perhaps one day I’ll find a house I want to spend the rest of my life in. Until then I’ll keep on doing what I do.”

Number 8 Allanfield is on sale with Savills for offers over £695,000.

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