Grattan Lodge enjoys one of the best locations in St Andrews.
Kennedy Gardens is a quiet little street with a tucked-away feel to it. There is very little passing traffic yet the centre of St Andrews is just a short stroll away.
It’s hard to imagine a more peaceful setting this close to the town centre.
Grattan Lodge dates from 1876 and was originally staff quarters for the adjacent mansion house, which has now been split into flats. It was extended and remodelled in the 1960s and a superb orangery extension was added in 2014.
For the past few years it has been home to Douglas and Lesley Mundie. The couple have lived in St Andrews for several decades and moved to Grattan Lodge from nearby Hepburn Gardens.
When I visit the house Douglas is in the middle of a difficult week. He’s a trustee of St Andrews Harbour, which was badly damaged in Storm Babet and will require a great deal of time, effort and money to repair.
Exploring Grattan Lodge
A pair of handsome stone posts with wrought iron gates opens onto a large gravel driveway. The main entrance to Grattan Lodge is around the side of the house.
It opens into a small vestibule and steps lead down to the orangery, which is perhaps the most impressive room in the house.
Built just under a decade ago, it has huge windows with fine views over the garden. A large roof lantern floods the space with natural light.
Sitting on one of the room’s comfortable armchairs I can look upwards and see fluffy white clouds scudding across the blue sky. It isn’t hard to understand why Douglas and Leslie spent a lot of time in this room.
A wood burning stove is in the corner, making the orangery an easy space to keep warm in the winter time. On the wall behind it are two large sheets of sandstone, which not only look beautiful but act as heat sinks, radiating warmth for hours after the fire has gone out.
In an other nice touch, the original exterior stone walls of the house have been kept as a feature.
Open plan to the orangery is the living room. A set of thermal-lined curtains lets the couple divide the rooms when they want to.
Living room and kitchen
The living room has a large front facing window. The end of the room adjacent to the orangery is used as a dining area, and is where the couple often have breakfast. As well as the stove in the orangery there is a large open fire in the living room.
“If it’s a cold winter’s day sometimes we have the fire and the wood burner on and it gets cosy very quickly,” Douglas says.
Through a doorway is the kitchen, which has high quality units, a utility area and a large gas Aga. Another doorway connects it with the vestibule and front door.
A ground-floor WC has a modern toilet and sink. In a nice touch, the original Victorian butler’s sink has been kept. It’s now used as a planter and the taps still work, making it easy to water the pot plant that sits in it.
A flight of stone steps leads down to a small subterranean room that is used as a pantry. “It stays cool in summer but doesn’t freeze in winter, so it’s perfect for storing food,” Douglas explains.
Original hardwood stairs lead up to the first floor level. Artwork lines the walls and there are photographs of artist Peter Graham, who lived in Grattan Lodge around the turn of the 20th Century and whose work still sells for tens of thousands of pounds.
Bedrooms and views
The main bedroom is very large and has plenty of room for an en suite to be added.
Another large double bedroom has what looks like wall-to-wall built-in wardrobes. Some of these are indeed wardrobes, but open the door of the end unit and it leads through to a cleverly hidden en suite shower room.
A third double bedroom is used as Doug’s study and has built-in bookcases. Both this room and the living room look onto the Wardlaw Building. Part of St Andrews University, this stunning Victorian tower house was the first female student residence in Scotland and one wing is still female-only today.
The suntrap rear garden at Grattan Lodge has an expanse of neatly manicured lawn, along with well-kept borders, beds and shrubs.
“It’s very sheltered, which is good because being on the coast St Andrews can get a bit windy,” Douglas says. “We get the sun from the morning until the evening. The garden isn’t overlooked either so it’s a nice private outdoor space in the heart of St Andrews.”
Moving on from Grattan Lodge
Douglas and Lesley originally intended to stay at Grattan Lodge for many years and as such have plans in place to develop the house further.
“We have permission to put 23 solar panels on the roof and a battery to store the energy they generate,” Douglas explains. “We both drive electric cars and being able to power our cars and much of our house using the energy of the sun really appeals to us.
“We’re in a conservation area so you need to apply for permission for almost anything you do to the house. It used to be that you weren’t allowed solar panels but that has been changed in recent years and they’re more open to it now.”
Douglas, 71, works as a consultant for the Scottish Government, helping to bridge the gap between industry and academia.
Personal circumstances mean Grattan Lodge is no longer suitable for the couple and they’ve reluctantly decided to put it on the market.
“We thought this would be our forever home but circumstances change,” Douglas says. “We’ve bought a house back on Hepburn Gardens so we won’t be moving far. We love St Andrews and wouldn’t want to leave.”