My Home: Ann Maxwell
We asked Ann Maxwell, founder of epilepsy charity the Muir Maxwell Trust, to tell us all about her home.
Ann Maxwell is founder and volunteer fundraiser for the Muir Maxwell Trust, a charity which supports children and their families coping with severe epilepsy. She received an OBE for her fundraising work, and is currently organising the cupcake challenge in support of her trust.
What’s your earliest memory of a house?
My parents’ first home in Nether Currie Place, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It was a semi-detached new-build which they saved furiously to buy over a five year engagement before they got married.
Where would be your dream place to live?
In my present home. We have a beautiful home that we refurbished extensively over a ten year period. A holiday property abroad would be a nice addition though - for me that would be the unspoilt Spanish island of Menorca.
Do you have a favourite building in Scotland?
Mansfield Traquair, sometimes referred to as Edinburgh's Sistine Chapel, is a special place for me where we have held a number of spectacular fundraising events on behalf of the Trust. The exquisite wall murals by Victorian artist Phoebe Ann Traquair are simply breathtaking.
A favourite place you visited on holiday, such as a hotel or villa?
Roshven House in the West Highlands, a stunning, privately owned Victorian residence on the beach overlooking the isles of Eigg and Rum. Occasionally available for let, we have enjoyed a number of fabulous house parties in this magical location.
How would you describe your home?
Our home is where my heart is. It’s cosy and comfortable but spacious and stylish at the same time. We redesigned our listed Victorian property many years ago to meet our family's requirements, including those of our special needs son Muir and we decorated it with the help of my great friend Lizzie Bell of Lizzie Bell interiors.
What’s your favourite home smell?
Baking. Especially cupcakes baked with Muir's help for cupcake parties in support of the work of our charity the Muir Maxwell Trust. It provides practical support to children with difficult epilepsy and their families who often struggle to cope.
What do you miss about home if you are away for a while?
My garden - more affectionately known as Muir's garden - and the boys' rooms and their 'stuff,' the photographs, the art, their winter coats and walking boots - all those personal things which remind me daily of them, including the happy memories of them growing up in our home.
How are your DIY skills?
I am better at changing a light bulb in our house than anyone else! Beyond that I am good at making lists of the outstanding DIY jobs and finding 'a man who can!'
When was the last time you worked on your garden?
At the weekend, potting plants in my pots in anticipation of summer time. There are many of them, some large and some small, so it consumes a number of my weekends each year. I love in-season pot plants.
Dinner at the table or in front of the TV?
At the table - always! We love alfresco dinning too when the Scottish weather allows. I think my boys, including Jonny, would eat in front of the TV if I let them though. Someone has to maintain the standard!
What’s your favourite thing to cook for the home?
Roast fillet of beef and dauphinois potatoes. When the Aga door is open and that sweet smell of starchy potatoes and cream mixed with garlic and melted cheese on top wafts through the house, I know the boys are all home.