A fairy­tale house with myr­iad pos­si­bil­i­ties for din­ing and en­ter­tain­ing of­fers ac­tive fam­i­lies a haven like no other

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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.

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