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Former Haymarket deaf school building to become £2.5 million upmarket homes

The former Donaldson's School for the Deaf building, which is being turned into upmarket homes

The former Donaldson’s School for the Deaf building, which is being turned into upmarket homes

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The most upmarket homes being created in one of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks will have a price tag of £2.5 million, developers have revealed.

The former Donaldson’s School for the Deaf building, in the Haymarket area, is currently being transformed into 112 homes, a decade after staff and pupils moved out.

A huge range of studio flats, one, two and three-bedroom apartments will be coming onto the market within weeks, with prices starting at £250,000.

More than 2200 potential buyers have registered an interest in the £53m development, which has been billed as the most exciting residential scheme to come to the market in the city this year.

The Donaldson’s building was originally created between 1842 and 1851 after its benefactor and local newspaper publisher James Donaldson bequeathed all of his wealth to build and found a hospital for children after his death.

It was designed by renowned architect William Henry Playfair, whose other landmark buildings in Edinburgh include the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound, the unfinished National Monument on Calton Hill and Edinburgh University’s Old College.

The building came on to the market after the deaf school decided to relocate to a new site in Linlithgow.

Simon Rettie, managing director of Rettie & Co, who are handling sales of the apartments in the Playfair building, said: “Donaldson’s is such a high profile building within Edinburgh and forms an important part of its history. We’re delighted to work with City & Country on this remarkable project and are confident that an exceptional addition to the city will be created.”

Liz Freeman, interior design manager for City & Country, said: “We have ensured a seamless blend of the historic with the contemporary. We’ve used sleek kitchens and bathrooms to complement the overall layouts and enhance the elegant atmosphere created by the proportions of the historic building. The homes are designed to maximise space and natural light with a fully inclusive specification which is hard to find in modern developments.”

Landscape architect Pol MacDonald said: “It has been a privilege to work with this impressive landscape and to gently reinforce its prominence as an integral part of 21st century Edinburgh. The 19th century landscape of Donaldson’s was one that depicted a rural ‘estate’ providing a protective escape from the city of the time. Although the city limits have grown, the distinctive landscape setting in so many ways still aims to provide this most basic of functions of protection and escapism.’

Housebuilders Cala, who originally purchased the former school site, had to mothball plans for a number of years after the financial crash in 2008. The firm later joined forces on the development with City & Country, with Cala constructing a “sweeping crescent” of new-build apartments behind the existing landmark.

Helen Moore, managing director of City & Country added: “This major development in the heart of Edinburgh’s west end is set to become one of the most sought-after addresses in the Capital.”

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New apartments for sale in Edinburgh – The Playfair at Donaldson’s.

  • Winners of 2018 WhatHouse? Awards – Gold for Best Renovation
  • Winners of 2018 Scottish Home Awards for Apartment Development of the Year 
  • Winners of 2018 Scottish Home Awards for Renovation of the Year
  • Winners of 2018 The Herald Property Awards Scotland for the Judges’ Award

The Playfair at Donaldson’s is an outstanding building of palatial elegance. With its majestic character and architectural heritage, located on the western boundary of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, it is recognised as one of the most important landmark buildings in the city.

Each apartment in The Playfair has been designed to optimise natural light, making the most of the period windows and impressive proportions of the historic building. The contemporary design of the apartments provides a striking contrast to the building’s exterior. The living spaces have been stylishly designed to be practical and functional for modern life.

Ideally located just west of Edinburgh City Centre, the Category A listed Playfair building includes a collection of apartments designed to provide fantastic panoramic views across Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills, on to an attractive internal courtyard, and sweeping lawns leading to period gate lodges.

 

  • Development Plan

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    Donaldson's_Site_Location_Plan_Thumbnail


  • Gallery

  • Availability

  • For Sale
    21 The Playfair Donaldson's (B11)

    21 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B11)

    £460,000

    1 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    89 The Playfair Donaldson's (F12)

    89 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F12)

    £525,000

    1 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    83 The Playfair Donaldson's (F09)

    83 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F09)

    £545,000

    2 Bedroom Duplex Apartment

  • For Sale
    37 The Playfair Donaldson's (G06)

    37 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G06)

    £599,950

    2 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    45 The Playfair Donaldson's (G10)

    45 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G10)

    £625,000

    2 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    17 The Playfair Donaldson's (B27)

    17 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B27)

    £625,000

    2 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    43 The Playfair Donaldson's (G09)

    43 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G09)

    £640,000

    2 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    19 The Playfair Donaldson's (B10)

    19 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B10)

    £775,000

    2 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    93 The Playfair Donaldson's (F14)

    93 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F14)

    £995,000

    3 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    52 The Playfair Donaldson's (G21)

    52 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G21)

    £1,125,000

    3 Bedroom Apartment

  • For Sale
    73 The Playfair Donaldson's (S01)

    73 The Playfair Donaldson’s (S01)

    £1,695,000

    3 Bedroom Apartment

  • Reserved
    11 The Playfair Donaldson's (B06)

    11 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B06)

    1 Bedroom Studio

  • Reserved
    95 The Playfair Donaldson's (F13)

    95 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F13)

    1 Bedroom Apartment

  • Reserved
    33 The Playfair Donaldson's (G04)

    33 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G04)

    1 Bedroom Apartment

  • Reserved
    49 The Playfair Donaldson's (G12)

    49 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G12)

    3 Bedroom Apartment

  • Reserved
    27 The Playfair Donaldson's (G01)

    27 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G01)

    3 Bedroom Apartment

  • Sold
    9 The Playfair Donaldson's (B05)

    9 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B05)

    1 Bedroom Apartment

  • Sold
    15 The Playfair Donaldson's (B08)

    15 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B08)

    1 Bedroom Apartment

  • Sold
    75 The Playfair Donaldson's (F05)

    75 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F05)

    1 Bedroom Apartment

  • Sold
    39 The Playfair Donaldson's (G07)

    39 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G07)

    2 Bedroom Duplex Apartment

  • Sold
    69 The Playfair Donaldson's (F03)

    69 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F03)

    2 Bedroom Apartment

  • Overview

  • History

New Build Availability

  • Availability

  • History

Conversion Availability

  • Donaldson’s

    The Playfair at Donaldson’s is an outstanding building of palatial elegance. With its majestic character and architectural heritage, located on the western boundary of the Edinburgh World…

    Explore

  • Availability

  • History

Interior Design

  • General

    The historic character of this iconic building has been retained and restored where possible, with properties boasting features such as renovated windows and doors, cornicing, wainscot panelling and…

    Explore

  • Kitchens

    Bespoke luxurious kitchens, in a variety of finishes, have been carefully designed to suit the unique layout of each property. All apartments are sold with a fully inclusive specification including:

    Explore

  • Bathrooms

    The Playfair residents benefit from contemporary bathrooms which are both modern and understated, featuring Sanitaryware from Villeroy and Boch and Brassware from Hansgrohe and Crosswater. 

    Explore


  • History

  • Facilities

Facilities

  • Landscaping

    Residents of The Playfair enjoy 16 acres of private parkland. Clipped box hedging and parterres add a formal arrangement whilst balustrade terraces, sweeping lawns and mature trees provide…

    Explore

  • The Factor

    The factor at The Playfair at Donaldson’s provides services relating to the day-to-day running of the development. They ensure; alongside the on-site concierge, that all communal areas are kept…

    Explore


  • Interior Design

  • Local Area

Local Area

Local Area

Donaldson’s lies to the west of the city in one of Edinburgh’s most coveted residential areas. Excellent local amenities are easily accessible including schools and local shopping while Haymarket Station, the West End and the City Centre are a short walk away.

The area is characterised by elegant stone built family houses in mature grounds. As one of Edinburgh’s most established residential areas there are many excellent amenities close at hand including several sports clubs, golf courses at Murrayfield and Ravelston and pleasant walks along the Water of Leith and on Corstorphine Hill. Some of Edinburgh’s finest schools, including The Mary Erskine School, Stewart’s Melville College, and St Georges School for Girls are within easy walking distance, while Fettes College and The Edinburgh Academy are also close at hand as are those on the south side of the city.

The excellent local amenities of the West End and the City Centre are a short distance away, and nearby Haymarket Station offers easy access to Edinburgh’s main railway station, Waverley, and Glasgow. Local shopping is available at nearby Roseburn while Craigleith Retail Park has a Sainsbury Superstore and a Marks & Spencer amongst other shops and there is a Waitrose in Comely Bank. The Usher Hall, Lyceum and Traverse Theatres are also within walking distance. Stockbridge, with its range of art galleries, cafes, delicatessens, bars, restaurants and speciality shops, is also close by.

There is convenient road access westwards towards the City Bypass, Edinburgh International airport and the motorway links to the North, South and West in addition to bus routes to various parts of the City.

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Lifestyle

Whether it is the luxury of having high culture, fine dining and exclusive shopping on your doorstep; or the opportunity to be immersed in the many festivals, exhibitions and outdoor events that take place in Edinburgh; Wester Coates and The West End has it all. Chic, sophisticated and anything but ordinary, this vibrant quadrant of Edinburgh is home to a diverse range of boutique eateries, coffee shops and bars, with something for even the most discerning of palates.

Edinburgh’s creative heart is just minutes from The Playfair with an ever growing collection of independent shops, cafés, fashion boutiques, vintage stores and specialist restaurants to explore.

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Connections

The Playfair at Donaldson’s is ideally located just seven minutes’ walk from Haymarket station, with its direct services to Edinburgh city centre, Glasgow, London and beyond. It is also within walking distance of the city’s wealth of shops and leisure facilities, so you can immerse yourself in art, culture or retail therapy whenever you feel the need.


By Foot 

  • Haymarket Station – 7 minutes
  • Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Murrayfield Stadium – 15 minutes
  • Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – 18 minutes
  • Usher Hall and Fountain Park Leisure Complex – 21 minutes
  • Edinburgh Waverley – 30 minutes

By Car

  • Haymarket Station – 2 minutes
  • National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Playhouse and Edinburgh New Town – 14 minutes
  • Edinburgh Old Town and Edinburgh Castle – 15 minutes
  • Calton Hill and Palace of Holyroodhouse – 19 minutes
  • Edinburgh Waverley – 15 minutes
  • Edinburgh Airport – 25 minutes

By Train

  • Glasgow Queen Street – 47 minutes from Haymarket
  • Manchester Picadilly – 192 minutes from Haymarket
  • London Kings Cross – 264 minutes from Haymarket


By Plane

  • London Stansted – 75 minutes
  • Birmingham – 75 minutes
  • Paris – 115 minutes

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  • Facilities

  • Location

Gallery

The_Playfair_at_Donaldson's_External

The Playfair at Donaldson’s

Donaldson's_The_view_from_The_Playfair

The view from The Playfair

Donaldson's_Typical_interior

Typical interior

Donaldson's_Typical_living area

Typical living area

Donaldson's_Typical_dining_area

Typical dining area

Donaldson's_Communal_area

Communal Area

Donaldson's_Typical_bathroom

Typical bathroom

Donaldson's_Corridor

Corridor

Donaldson's_Typical_mezzanine_bedroom

Typical mezzanine bedroom

Donaldson's_Typical_bathroom

Typical bathroom

Donaldson's_Typical_view_from_mezzanine_level

Typical view from mezzanine level

Donaldson's_Typical_bedroom

Typical bedroom

Donaldson's_Typical_open_plan_living_kitchen_dining_area

Typical open plan living, kitchen, dining area

Donaldson's_Typical_basement_apartment

Typical basement apartment

Donaldson's_Typical living area

Typical living area

Donaldson's_Typical_kitchen

Typical kitchen

Typical_Basement_apartment_living_area

Typical basement apartment living area







  • Location

  • Overview

History

Donaldson’s was designed by the eminent Edinburgh architect William Henry Playfair and was built between 1842-51. It was built as a Hospital for the instruction of children in accordance with the terms laid out in the will of James Donaldson.

  • 1830

    James Donaldson died in 1830 and in his will bequeathed “all his property, heritable and personal … to build and found a Hospital for Boys and Girls, to be called Donaldson’s Hospital…” The will also listed the trustees named to carry out his bequest. 

    EDI CITY CAC 2006 20 L

  • 1833

    In 1833 about 17 acres of the Lands of Coates, was acquired from the Governors of Heriot’s, as a site for Donaldson’s Hospital. Donaldson’s trustees invited plans for the design of the Hospital, however it was not until 1838 that William Henry Playfair was appointed as architect having produced four schemes for the trust. Playfair’s first design for the hospital was a two storey and attic, H-plan building, with symmetrically planned back and front courts. Variants of this twin cloistered approach were developed in the second and third schemes, however by the time the successful fourth scheme was submitted, Playfair had abandoned this approach in favour of a two storey, quadrangular palace block with double ranges of dormitories.

  • 1841

    The plans underwent further revision at the request of the trustees and the sixth scheme, in which the ranges were reduced to a single width, was finally approved in 1841. The building is planned around a central quadrangle, with single width ranges surrounding it, and is of two storeys with attic rather than the originally proposed three.

    At ground floor, projecting from the North, is the chapel. As with all previous designs, girls and boys were segregated, with boys inhabiting the West of the building, and girls the East. Whilst the exterior of the building is palatial in style, the interior was designed in a much more austere way. Playfair undertook specific interior schemes only for the key public areas such as the entrance hall, dining room and council room.

    Playfair was also responsible for the design of the setting for the building. The original intention was for a central avenue focused on the southern elevation, and the provision of two pavilion buildings to the east and west. However this was altered under the direction of the trustees and the present arrangement of an east and west entrance was adopted.

    Cassells Old and New Edinburgh 1882 83 800X500

  • 2014

    The site was purchased by City & Country.

    External Ewan Anderson HR v2 800x500


  • Availability

  • Interior Design

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The Playfair, Donaldson’s, Edinburgh
West Coates
Edinburgh
EH12 5JQ

  • Location
  • Get Directions
  • Points of Interest

Call 0131 610 6000

  • Sales suite open daily 10am to 5pm


  • Local Area

  • Gallery

Donaldson’s, Edinburgh

General

The historic character of this iconic building has been retained and restored where possible, with properties boasting features such as renovated windows and doors, cornicing, wainscot panelling and fireplaces. From the studios to the penthouses, the apartments within The Playfair at Donaldson’s benefit from an impressive specification. All flooring, tiling and integrated appliances are included as standard.

City & Country’s Interior Design team has made the most of the beautiful period features, whilst creating stylish contemporary interiors. These exquisite

homes have individually designed bespoke kitchens. Bathrooms are modern and understated, featuring soft colours and quality brands.

Electrical

  • Virgin for television and internet up to 200mb**
  • BT for phone and internet only
  • Chrome shaver sockets to bathrooms and en-suites
  • LED downlighters to bathrooms and en-suites
  • Pendant fittings or LED downlighters to living areas and bedrooms
  • Double sockets to bedside with USB charging ports
  • Mains operated smoke detectors

Heating

  • Cast iron style radiators to living/kitchen/dining rooms and hallways when open to the living area
  • Flat panel radiators to bedrooms
  • Underfloor heating to basement and penthouse apartments
  • Nest Thermostat for intelligent temperature control including remote operation via a downloadable app

Floor Finishes

  • Engineered white oak flooring to all living areas, hallways and kitchens
  • 100% wool or non-wool carpets to bedrooms
  • Tiling to bathrooms

Wardrobes

  • Luxury fitted wardrobes with glass sliding doors to most bedrooms without dressing areas*
  • Dressing areas fitted with hanging rails and shelving

*Please ask for further details on your specific plot of interest. 

 

Donaldson’s, Edinburgh

Kitchens

Bespoke luxurious kitchens, in a variety of finishes, have been carefully designed to suit the unique layout of each property. All apartments are sold with a fully inclusive specification including:

  • Contemporary linear kitchens from Ballerina
  • Corian worktops and upstands
  • Glass splashbacks behind hobs
  • Integrated appliances from Siemens including single oven, induction hob, extractor hood and combi microwave oven (to most apartments)
  • Integrated dishwasher and fridge/freezer
  • Three bedroom apartments also benefit from a wine cooler and warming drawer

Donaldson’s, Edinburgh

Bathrooms

The Playfair residents benefit from contemporary bathrooms which are both modern and understated, featuring Sanitaryware from Villeroy and Boch and Brassware from Hansgrohe and Crosswater. 

The specification includes:

  • Sanitaryware from Villeroy and Boch
  • Brassware from Hansgrohe and Crosswater
  • Feature free standing baths to selected apartments
  • Modern low profile shower trays
  • Shower enclosures with minimal frame screens
  • Heated towel rails in an anthracite finish
  • Mirrored vanity units to the majority of bathrooms and en-suites
  • Contemporary porcelain tiles to walls and floors

Donaldson’s, Edinburgh

Landscaping

Residents of The Playfair enjoy 16 acres of private parkland. Clipped box hedging and parterres add a formal arrangement whilst balustrade terraces, sweeping lawns and mature trees provide a tranquil landscape in the heart of the city. Spectacular views of Edinburgh’s cityscape are offered from several of The Playfair apartments, including a panoramic vista of Edinburgh Castle, the Pentland Hills and the Firth of Forth from some of the penthouse roof terraces.

THE CHAPEL GARDEN

The Chapel is set in its own formal landscape within the Arboretum – a re-interpretation of a Victorian garden, where a combination of large specimen trees and smaller flowering trees frame this impressive section of the building.

MORNING AND AFTERNOON TERRACES

At the time of its construction, The Playfair was surrounded by open fields, so to maximise the impressive views of the city and distant hills, the structure was built upon an elevated terrace.

THE PARK

To the front of the building there is an impressive expanse of parkland, offering a protective interface with the city beyond and an outside space that can be enjoyed by residents.

THE COURTYARD

The central courtyard retains much of the simplicity and geometry shown within the historic layout – following the concentric paving lines originally drawn by Playfair himself. Minimalist landscaping has been introduced to achieve an enhanced and more habitable space for residents to use.

THE PARTERRE TERRACE

The redesigned plinth area provides a softer environment with a more traditional aesthetic through the introduction of an extensive parterre garden, incorporating low hedging, topiary and flower beds.

Donaldson’s, Edinburgh

The Factor

The factor at The Playfair at Donaldson’s provides services relating to the day-to-day running of the development. They ensure; alongside the on-site concierge, that all communal areas are kept clean and tidy, the landscaping is looked after and that the building is properly maintained and insured. The friendly concierge will also accept parcels and hold keys on your behalf if you wish. For those with busy lifestyles, owning a property at The Playfair at Donaldson’s is simple and stress free.

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