Wel­come to South Ki­naldy House and a won­der­ful blend of Texan styling and St An­drews char­ac­ter

The Herald - Scotland's Homes - - Front Page - Ann Wal­lace

Texan swag­ger and Scot­tish crafts­man­ship com­bine to star­tling ef­fect in this con­verted sta­ble block in Fife

CH­ERYL BIN­NIE wants her next home project to be an ‘ amaz­ing space’, like the kind cel­e­brated by de­signer Ge­orge Clarke in his TV se­ries. She says: “I’d love to live in a tree­house, for ex­am­ple, some­where to­tally dif­fer­ent and ex­cit­ing that peo­ple would look at and say, yes – that’s Ch­eryl!” Ch­eryl, who is orig­i­nally from Texas, is mov­ing on from her cur­rent home, South Ki­naldy House in St An­drews, af­ter 10 years. It was a ‘ re­tire­ment pad’ for her and hus­band Bill, the renowned pathol­o­gist who sadly died in 2013. They met through friends. “I was a chef and ran an or­ganic stocks and sauces com­pany, and Bill was vis­it­ing Texas through work at the time,” says Ch­eryl. “We moved here when Bill re­tired and I’m not sure he ever for­gave me for bring­ing him away from the heat and the sun­shine to cold Scot­land. “But I loved the cool­ness – I couldn’t wait to es­cape the hot Texan sun.” While Ch­eryl may have left the weather be­hind, some Texan in­flu­ences – like the ‘cow­girl sad­dle’ in the hall­way and the huge Amer­i­can beds, came along with her. “I was al­ways the quirky one, while Bill was more tra­di­tional,” she re­calls. “I ar­ranged for a lot of fur­ni­ture to be shipped over from the US. But I’d say my style was more eclec­tic than just kooky – I wanted to blend Scot­tish crafts­man­ship with Texan style and re­tain the pe­riod charm. I wanted to salute the house and the life it had.”

South Ki­naldy House dates back to 1802, when it was the sta­ble block and car­riage house for Ki­naldy Farm.

The orig­i­nal arched en­trances are now huge win­dows, flood­ing the ground floor rooms with nat­u­ral light.

“It was a very pretty sta­bles, go­ing by the old pho­tos we have of the riders com­ing in through the arches,” says Ch­eryl. “It was very run-down when we bought it but we loved it.”

Ch­eryl and Bill com­pletely ren­o­vated and re­stored the prop­erty, with pe­riod or­ganic lime plas­ter works, be­spoke lime­wash and beeswax wall fin­ishes, nat­u­ral sheepswool ther­mal in­su­la­tion and Fife burr elm through­out.

They took out a cen­tral wrap­around stair­case, which gave them the space for an ex­tra bed­room and bath­room.

For a while, they ran a five star bed and break­fast, called Lone Star Lux­ury, but for the most part, South Ki­naldy has sim­ply been their warm, wel­com­ing home.

The ground floor in­cludes a pretty sit­ting room, large din­ing room, whose walls are cov­ered in strips of burr elm, plaques, mu­sic manuscripts, cop­per moulds and sketches, and an awe-in­spir­ing chef’s semi-pro­fes­sional kitchen with an ar­ray of ap­pli­ances and gad­gets, such as the five-burner gas hob, four sinks, three ovens, three dish­wash­ers and com­mer­cial re­frig­er­a­tion.

Afea­ture an­cient yew and twisted Fife burr elm stair­case leads to the first floor, home to the master bed­room suite and a fur­ther three large, light-filled bed­rooms, all of which have in­di­vid­u­ally de­signed bath, shower or wet rooms.

“Ev­ery­thing is very or­ganic, very earthy – we al­ways wanted it to be a lived-in, coun­try house,” says Ch­eryl.

The gar­dens are beau­ti­ful, di­vided into two main ‘ar­eas’ – a coun­try cot­tage-style space with shrubs and flow­ers and seat­ing ar­eas, and a ‘wilder’ or­ganic wood­land meadow with a large pond.

“It’s up to us to cre­ate homes for wildlife and we tried to do that here,” says Ch­eryl.

In fact, wildlife of all shapes and sizes was at the front of Ch­eryl’s mind when she cre­ated the gar­den, plant­ing flow­ers that would at­tract bees and but­ter­flies and putting in a pond to pro­vide a home for toads and newts.

There is a net­work of paths through­out the gar­den and several pa­tios, pro­vid­ing lots of nooks and cran­nies in which to sit qui­etly and en­joy the peace.

In one cor­ner there is a swing made out of Texan cedar, the per­fect place to go and hide with a glass of wine on a sum­mer evening.

Hens pot­ter about the gar­den too – Ch­eryl is the Scot­tish di­rec­tor of the Bri­tish Hen

‘‘ Ch­eryl and Bill re­stored the prop­erty, with or­ganic lime plas­ter works, lime­wash and beeswax wall fin­ishes, nat­u­ral sheepswool ther­mal in­su­la­tion and Fife burr elm through­out

Wel­fare Trust and helps to re­home birds around the coun­try.

“I’ll re­ally miss the gar­dens, es­pe­cially the wood­lands and the pond,” says Ch­eryl.

“I’ll miss the house too – it’s a unique prop­erty. It’s funny, when friends from Amer­ica come to stay, they think it’s very Scot­tish but all our Scot­tish friends say: Oh, it’s so Amer­i­can!’.”

She adds: “Hope­fully we man­aged to com­bine both.”

South Ki­naldy House is sur­rounded by farm and wood­land, just a few miles from St An­drews. The town has a wide range of in­de­pen­dent shops, restau­rants and cafés and gal­leries, plus ex­cel­lent schools and good trans­port links to the rest of Scot­land and beyond.

Ch­eryl is hop­ing to stay in the lo­cal area and she plans to launch St An­drew’s first sup­per club.

“We were very happy here but now it’s time for me to move on,” she says.

“Life is a se­ries of ad­ven­tures, and I’m ready for the next one.”

MOD CONS: An awe-in­spir­ing chef’s kitchen boasts a five-burner gas hob and four sinks.

SOUTH KI­NALDY HOUSE: This five-bed­room coun­try house in St An­drews has been com­pletely ren­o­vated and re­stored. It now boasts in­cred­i­bly lux­u­ri­ous and stylish fea­tures, such as the wood and stone in the bath­room, left, as well as spa­cious liv­ing ar­eas, above and be­low.

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