Art Deco Delight; Rare Chance to Buy Home Built in the Spirit of Genius Rennie Mackintosh

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Drury

EVERYTHING about this striking Ayrshire residence is a tribute to the Scottish style icon Charles Rennie Mackintosh, right down to its name.

Hillhome recalls the architect's famous mansion in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, The Hill House, which is arguably his finest work after the Glasgow School of Art.

This house in Portencross was completed more than 35 years after The Hill House and was designed by architect James Austin Laird, a keen devotee of the great man.

Perched just a few yards from the Firth of Clyde shoreline, Hillhome is instantly recognisable as an example of Art deco, a modern 20th Century style which was still all the rage when it was built in 1937.

Present owner Maggie Walker 'fell in love' with the place when she first saw it 12 years ago and set about a restoration programme sympathetic to its original design.

For example, the master bedroom was given an oval balcony, which now affords breathtaking maritime views over the West Kilbride Golf Club's links course.

Said Mrs Walker: 'From a seat on the balcony, you can see Arran, Ailsa Craig and the Arran Ferry going back and forth to Ardrossan Harbour at night.

'It is so peaceful. The main sounds you hear are the sea, when it's rough, and the constant cries of the curlews. The gulls all fly past at night."

For all its enviable position on the coast, Hillhome is ideally situated for anyone keen to commute to the city.

The nearby station at West Kilbride offers hourly trains to Glasgow, which is reachable within around 50 minutes.

Unusually for people about to vacate a home, Mrs Walker and her husband have been in recent negotiation to buy an addition to the property.

Originally built as one house, Hillhome was divided into separate properties in recent years, and it is No 3 that is on the market. However, the acquisition of additional land and buildings would give its owner complete independence on the west side. It's for that reason that Mrs Walker hopes to buy extra land - a little orchard, a garage converted into a holiday home and a big, new greenhouse. …