What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

Our London Street Home From Home – The Story

Sarah, the owner of London Street, was able to see past the dated decorations and poor quality 1960’s ‘renovation’ to understand how she could breathe some magic into this Edinburgh base for her family. It certainly helps that Sarah is a highly talented interior designer, skilled at creating award-winning homes around the world through her company, Barclay Interiors. So, she had the vision and ability to create this magnificent transformation.

In this blog, Sarah kindly answered some questions, so we can share the story of our London Street home from home. We feel very proud to be looking after it and stayed here recently too, so we’ll also share what it feels like to be a guest here.

London Street - Dickins

1. Did the apartment need extensive work when you bought it?

Yes it did! It had been lived in by a lady for decades. Nothing had been done, and whatever had been done in the 1960’s was unbelievably basic. The entrance hall had three large cupboards and was very long and closed off. I wanted to make it much more open and airy and to utilise the hall space in a more useful way as it could be quite spacious. There was a staircase to nowhere….well only four stairs were visible but we knocked down a wall and founds lots more.


The stairs to nowhere were revealed during the renovation. Now it’s a favourite spot of Sarah’s.

The transformation of the kitchen

There was barely a kitchen – two units and an oven and the bathroom was at the back of the kitchen. The garden was deeply overgrown so we landscaped it completely to make it a beautiful low maintenance garden with lovely lighting.

Before…….definite room for improvement.

The original kitchen with a bathroom at the end.

During the renovations when the space was opened up:

The space was opened up during the renovations

After the renovations were complete – what a transformation!

Wow, what a transformation! It’s now a simple and beautiful space with marble worktops and open shelving.

The kitchen is now a beautiful, sleek space with two windows and a glazed door leading onto the beautiful private garden. You’ll find a Nespresso machine, Nutri bullet and lots of cookery books to inspire you here. Locally on Broughton Street there’s a great butcher Crombie and a fishmonger, Something Fishy. There’s also Real Foods for all things healthy and Rosevear for tea.

If cooking isn’t your thing, then you’re very well placed as there’s a superb selection of great places to eat within a couple of minutes walk including The Little White Pig on Dublin Street, Fhior and L’Escargot Bleu on Broughton Street and Le Roi Fou on Union Street.

2. The interiors are beautiful. Do you have a signature style?

The stunning dining area in London Street

Thanks so much. As a designer, I try not to subscribe to any one style as that allows me and my talented team at Barclay Interiors to work on amazingly diverse projects. Recent projects have included a listed Embassy in London’s Mayfair, an estate in Oxfordshire, a townhouse in Kensington and a ski chalet in France.

My personal style is eclectic. My family and I love travelling. I’ve also lived abroad, so I also try to collect pieces in my home which have meaning. I am a serial upholsterer, so I have old chairs and sofas which I upholster regularly because I love them!

London Street Dickins

Sarah Barclay loves upholstery as a way to always keep favourite pieces of furniture up to date.

The sitting room transformation

We do love a before and after photo and as the transformation of this home is so amazing, here’s what the sitting room looked like before Sarah sprinkled her magic over it.

When Sarah bought the flat it looked like this…

The London Street sitting room before the transformation

Then the space was stripped back…

The sitting room being stripped back during the renovations

After the work, this space was completely transformed!

London Street - Dickins

The stunning sitting room after Sarah’s renovations

3. Do you have a favourite spot in the apartment?

I actually love sitting at the top of the stairs with a G&T and a book and looking over the sitting room and kitchen into the garden. I also love my Ercol chairs in the sitting room. I love soaking in the Japanese tub…..deep, warm and lovely. And my bed is very comfortable and cosy. So yes, I have lots of favourite spots! 

London Street - Dickins

Sarah’s favourite Ercol chair

4. We hear that the apartment has been shortlisted for an interior design award…

Yes, that’s right. We thought it would be fun to enter The International Design and Architecture Awards 2020 with a property that did not have a multi-million-pound budget! We are so used to seeing big budget winners but there are so many beautifully and practically designed smaller properties. They agreed and we’ve been shortlisted for next year’s awards in the UK Living category. 

What does it feel like to be a guest in London Street?

We stayed here recently and can definitely confirm that it’s an absolutely wonderful experience. You close that front door and feel that you’ve entered another world – a cocooned haven. Sarah’s interiors are so luxe and beautiful, but they’re also practical and considered. The huge sofa piled with cushions is the perfect place to lie and watch a movie or indulge in a box set. Anything you might need has been thought of from slippers to Epsom salts for the bath and a cocktail tray so you can shake up a Negroni or two!

The location is also superb. Broughton Street is one of Edinburgh’s most loved local streets with good reason. And yet you can walk to St Andrew Square in around ten minutes and you’ll find Harvey Nichols, The Ivy, Dishoom, Lady Libertine and Hawksmoor there. Lovers of art will enjoy being able to wander around the corner to visit The Ingleby Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

There was heavy rain during our stay so I had the perfect excuse to stay in. One of my favourite moments was spending a couple of hours with an interior design book and a cup of tea in this wonderfully comfortable chair. Bliss!

London Street - Dickins

This is a wonderful place to curl up and read a book.

The other revelation is the Japanese soaking tub. I loved it so much I had three baths during my two-day stay! You sit in water up to your chest and literally soak. It’s so deeply relaxing. I’m now wondering how I can get one in my house…

London Street - Dickins

The Japanese soaking tub in London Street is a revelation. The best bath ever!

We also slept incredibly well in the two bedrooms which are very comfortable and have great quality linens. We were surprised by just how quiet they were too.

London Street Dickins

You’ll sleep well in London Street!

This fabulous desk in the hallway was created by local Edinburgh joiners and is perfect if you need to do some work during your stay.

London Street - Dickins

The beautiful desk was created by local Edinburgh joiners.

The weather during our stay wasn’t great, but on a sunny day, it will be an absolute pleasure to spend time in this beautiful garden that Sarah created.

London Street - Dickins

The stunning landscaped private garden in London Street.

We certainly didn’t want to pack our bags at the end of our stay and we feel pretty sure that all guests will feel the same way. This is a very special home from home. The quality of everything here is luxury but it’s also deeply relaxing. Sarah is definitely very good at her job and we think that London Street would be a very deserving winner of the 2020 UK Living interior design award.

To check availability and prices to stay in our London Street home from home, please click here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *