Who else has descended this staircase? Which former dweller has run his or her hand along this same hallway or enjoyed the shade of this great oak?
The older the house, the more intriguing the daydream as we contemplate others who lived in very different times but occupied the same four walls.
When Brian and Sharon Gillies gaze out across their garden, the era which is evoked is not Edwardian or Victorian, but Roman.
While the handsome six-bedroom house dates back to 1899, it is the garden which indicates just how long this land has settled. Below the lounge window and beyond the neat terrace is a grassy mound which spans the huge garden.
It is part of the Antonine Wall, which marked the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire. While Scotland may have been the farthest corner of the empire, it wouldn't have been unheard of for Romans working their way up the ranks to be sent here during their early career – they would have strutted up and down the ditch behind the wall, where there is now a garden path. Indeed, there is every chance a future Roman emperor could have walked across what is now a much-loved family garden.
When Brian and Sharon brought their three young daughters here to view the property more than a decade ago, it was the wall which caught their attention, but for very different reasons.
"The girls headed straight for the garden where they started rolling down the steep, grassy hill in their school uniforms," says Sharon. "We could see they absolutely loved it and it just felt like the house for us."
A large, handsome property on the edge of Bearsden, the house still has the hallmarks of a Victorian villa, including the original tiled floor in the hallway and grand, high ceilings with cornicing. Smaller details such as individually styled glass and china door handles and etched-glass internal doors in the study, as well as eye-pleasing alcoves, evoke a period feel.
For children, a hidden passage which runs between two unassuming cupboards in different parts of the house, and a secret en-suite bathroom, revealed by gently pulling on an built-in bookcase in one of the bedrooms, are quirks straight out of Harry Potter.
But not all the property's charms are original. A large room at the rear of the house, used as an office during the day, is transformed into a home cinema at night. When evening falls, the family love to spread out on comfy sofas and watch a film on the big screen which retracts into the ceiling. There is also a home gym.
The original footprint of the house has been significantly extended to create a cavernous open-plan room which incorporates the modern dining kitchen, a good-sized lounge area which centres around a real fire, and an informal dining spot in the bay window.
Upstairs, good-sized bedrooms have views across the well-kept garden, which is bordered by a golf course. Two of the bedrooms have Juliet balconies and the master is one of three en-suites, while it also has an extensive dressing room.
Sharon loves the house as it has been the perfect home in which to bring up her daughters. Now, however, after a decade, the family is relocating to Singapore where Brian has been working for some years.
What: A six-bedroom detached Victorian villa with three reception rooms and four bathrooms.
Where: Boclair Road, in Bearsden.
Price: Offers over £950,000.
Contact: Clyde Property Bearsden on 0141 570 1836.