A fairytale house with myriad possibilities for dining and entertaining offers active families a haven like no other
See how this sizzling seaside home in Fife could get your family’s summer season off to fabulous start
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THE GARDENS at Cuttlehill, with their winding paths and steep staircases, peppered with “secret” nooks and crannies, could be straight out of a children’s fairytale. It is not surprising this week’s spectacular Hot Property has beautiful grounds, given it was once owned by the manager of Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens. While many of the species he introduced may not be around, his design influence survives. What is perhaps more unexpected about this lovely home, however, is the property’s wartime history. “Cuttlehill was built in 1914 by a doctor who wanted to take advantage of the views from this elevated site,” explains current owner Pat Heneghan. “The Admiralty took it over during the First World War – hence the existence of the flagpole on the front of the house – because this area was a research spot for the Royal Navy – they were trying to develop sonar for detecting submarines.” The nearby base, at Hawkcraig Point, became a research station, training more than 4,000 officers and men and supplying 1,500 ships with hydrophones – a microphone that was fitted below the water line to listen for the presence of submarine engines. While the flagpole is an obvious reminder of Cuttlehill’s First World War connections, the property is now a striking example of an outstanding 21st century family home. The Heneghans have lived there for 22 years, carrying out significant upgrades and renovations and they have created something a little bit special.
“We loved the house because of the views – you can see for miles over the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh – and its great location,” explains Pat.
“For a family with young children, it’s perfect because you are close to everything in Aberdour, the golf club and tennis club, and the harbour if you like sailing. We had a small yacht in the harbour and it was great to be so close.”
Cuttlehill is located on Shore Road in Aberdour, which runs For a family with young children, it’s perfect because you are close to everything down from the High Street to the waterside. The village, which is around 18 miles from Edinburgh, is a residential hot-spot, having won huge acclaim as a desirable place to live and plenty of awards (it picked up a gold award in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom competition and its Silver Sands beach is considered one of the best in Scotland.)
The house, too, is impressive, with many traditional features such as bay windows and decorative cornicing intact.
The design is a clever blend of open-plan and more formal, separate spaces, as Pat explains.
“We knocked the original kitchen and dining room together to create an open-plan living space which is much more akin to the way people live nowadays,” he adds.
“We also have the more formal dining room, which is great for entertaining.”
The ground floor includes a stunning sitting room with stained glass folding doors and a corner bay window which provides lovely views to the coast; and a stylish
dining room, with a beautiful fireplace set between two press cupboards.
The kitchen, which was designed and fitted by David L Douglas, is traditional in style with a fantastic array of modern touches bound to appeal to a contemporary family, from the useful central island to the fantastic four-oven Aga.
The ground floor also includes a useful utility/ boot room, a cloakroom with WC and wash hand basin and a study.
The Heneghans added a lovely family room in 2006, which quickly became the heart of the house. From here, you can admire the views or take advantage of the access into the garden and relax on the patio.
A partially-glazed ceiling and fullheight sliding doors make full use of the natural light which floods in to this room.
The staircase rising to the first floor passes a door at the halfway landing, which leads out to a suspended staircase taking you to the upper garden.
The bedrooms are quirky, with sloping eaves and interesting shapes, but spacious and bright. The en-suite master bedroom in particular is fantastic, with breathtaking views.
There are three additional bedrooms and a family bathroom on this level.
The aforementioned gardens are a hide and seek paradise for children and a delightful space for relaxing and entertaining for grown-ups.
The lower garden includes well-kept lawns and a pretty summerhouse, complete with woodburning stove and built-inseating, beside a lovely pond fed by cascading pools.
A series of established paths and steps run up to a colourful collection of flower beds and sunken hot tub, and there are plenty of spots – including the decked barbecue terrace outside the family room -–for sunbathing or alfresco dining.
“One of the things we liked about the house was the garden,” says Pat. “It’s really the perfect place to play.
“As a ‘party’ house, it has been exceptional, inside and out.”
AL FRESCO: Among the many relaxing and dining options is a terrace space with sea views.
EATING IN STYLE: An extended kitchen provides a contemporary space while a dining room adds a touch of formality.