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Saturday January 25, 2020

Living tiny: The best compact properties in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a compact city, rich in historical architecture and full of charm. But living in Edinburgh comes at a price. Rents are high and property prices can be eyewatering so finding a home can mean compromising on space to get other things on your wish list, be it location, main door access or quirky features.
In this first blog we take a look at the some of the quirkiest property types available in Edinburgh that deliver on location, privacy and X factor…at the expense of a little space. Our second blog in this tiny living series shows how good design can turn any small space into one that is perfectly formed.

Studio Flats

For most people, tenement flats will be the go-to option for living in Edinburgh City Centre. But if you are renting or buying as a single person it can be harder to afford the prime locations with no-one to share the bills with.

This is where studio flats in Edinburgh can be an incredible option. Once considered undesirable and impractical, the rise of tiny living has shown that small multi-use spaces can work really well. And a studio flat will be the cheapest available.
The design of New Town properties, and their subsequent splitting up, has left a good number of basement studio flats smack bang in the city centre. A lot of these tend to have separate kitchens so it’s really only the living room and bedroom that need to co-exist.

Often these flats will have their own main door access which sits below street level. This can be a real bonus if there’s enough space to create a private little outdoor courtyard space. I use the term private loosely as in one sense it is, but then not really as anyone passing by at street level will be looking down at you! It’s a small price to pay though.

If you are really lucky you could even hit the jackpot and get access to a shared garden at the rear! In general basement level living can be off putting as it can be darker with more chance of damp issues. Add to the fact that studio living is also a bit niche means there is less competition for these types of property…aside from folk snapping them up to rent on Airbnb that is!
So, to get affordable and stylish city centre living you really should consider studio life. Be sure to set up a property alert or speak to local agents so you can be the first to know when one becomes available.

Mews House

If tenement life just isn’t for you and you want a house in the city centre then you are going to need some serious cash. That is unless you take a wander around the lanes and discover the charm of mews living.

Hidden amongst the back lanes are cobbled streets lined with picture postcard mini houses that exude individual charm. Pretty pot plants seem mandatory and you get real sense of community amongst these hidden treasures of Edinburgh. It’s no wonder Circus Lane in Stockbridge is one of the most instagrammed streets in Edinburgh.

Now, let’s be real, mews houses are definitely not cheap. But, if you want your own front door, no one above or below…and a garage right in the city centre then they are a bargain and to be honest your only real option. Yes, you can buy a house a little bit further out but you have sacrificed location and will still be parting with a lot of cash.

A city centre townhouse or detached property further out will normally come with at least 3 or 4 bedrooms which shoots the price right up. As mews are usually only 1 or 2 bedrooms, their price is somewhat capped. This makes them a more achievable option and they are only slightly more expensive than a similar number of bedroomed flat in the same location.

Mews living gives you the prime location, private access and quirky features with the obvious compromise being on space. Open plan living is a must in this style of property. It shares a lot of similarities with studio living but with the important difference of private bedrooms.
With few downsides to mews living it’s no wonder these properties are like gold dust. So, get your property alert set and make friends with the premium agencies in Edinburgh so you can be the first to hear when one becomes available.

House boat

If bricks and mortar just doesn’t float your boat….then perhaps you should think of a boat! House boats are the epitome of tiny living and this way of life has been popular decades before ‘tiny living’ even became a thing.

House boats offer the most affordable route into owning your own space to call home. They also offer the chance to live mortgage free if you are prepared to get stuck in and renovate a fixer upper yourself.

A house boat gives you your own front door and is definitely quirky but what about location? Well, the Scottish canal network is extensive and offers many wharfs to rent a berth on but this blog is about Edinburgh city centre living and last time I checked I hadn’t seen any boats in the city centre!
But, tucked away behind the glossy developments of Tollcross is Lochrin Wharf, one of the most exclusive wharfs in Scotland. Situated right next to the waterfront development of Lochrin Basin, residents can enjoy the surrounding cafes and restaurants, supermarkets and entertainment complexes for a fraction of the cost of a standard property.

However, de-cluttering and living minimally is essential for this way of life. As is being conscious of how much power any appliances you bring on the boat would use. It’s only a 32 amp supply so you might not be able to boil the kettle and have your oven on for example. But tiny living is about discovering these quirks and living them because what you gain from this way of life should outweigh the sacrifices if it’s right for you.

Berth’s at Lochrin Wharf are in high demand so you may have to go on a waitlist. To learn more check out Scottish Canals Living on Water website for full details.

So now you’ve found your perfect ‘compact’ space, how do you turn it into a functional and homely space? Simple, follow these top ten design tricks for small spaces.