– A country home near Kirkcaldy has been thoroughly overhauled by its owners and offers tremendous privacy, sitting up its own private lane. It even has a ruined castle in its garden. Jack McKeown investigates.
Anyone looking for privacy, space, rural living, views, and an easy commute to Edinburgh will find everything they need at Piteadie House.
It sits in glorious seclusion up a quarter-mile long private tarmac drive off a country road just outside Kirkcaldy.
A large main house, three bedroom cottage, and extensive outbuildings provide an enormous amount of indoor space, while a ruined castle provides scope for the more ambitious property developer.
The rest of the accommodation has already been thoroughly overhauled by the current owners.
Ron and Linsey Barclay-Smith bought Piteadie House in 2014 and spent a year upgrading it before moving in.
A former Wing Commander in the RAF and latterly chief executive of 9 Gough Square, one of England’s largest barristers’ chambers, Ron commuted to London each week until retiring in 2016. “We were living in Edinburgh and were predominantly looking at properties in East Lothian before we saw this one and decided it was what we wanted,” Ron explains.
The house was ripe for renovation. “The previous owner had been there for 45 years and I would describe the house as being in a state of benign neglect,” Ron continues.
“Very little maintenance had been done for possibly decades and the lady who lived there before us really only lived in two rooms.
“The list of things we didn’t do would be shorter than the list of things we did do.
“We put on a new roof, rewired, replumbed. We resurfaced the road up to the house, put in new patios, double glazing, renovated the cottage and outbuildings, and installed a biomass boiler. We have a private water supply and we also fitted a filtration system.
The biomass stove lives in one of the outbuildings and supplies heating and hot water to both the main house and cottage. It has a mighty 55kW output – by comparison and average wood burning stove offers 4kW.
Sitting in their cosy kitchen, Ron explains: “We also installed four wood burning stoves but we’ve only ever used one of them. The biomass boiler keeps the whole house cosy.
“It’s also cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly than oil or gas heating.”
A tree-lined access road leads up from the B9157 and turns a corner before reaching a courtyard parking area to the rear of the main house.
The setting is as dramatic as you could want. Belts of mature woodland run up both sides of the house, offering tremendous privacy, while to the front the view sweeps across the lawn, through a gap in the trees and over farmland to the sea and the Lothian coastline beyond.
Piteadie House dates from around 1740 and was extended and gentrified in the Victorian era with a symmetrical new front facade and a sun room.
The entrance leads past ancillary rooms to a welcoming kitchen with a large Aga. The drawing room and morning room are spacious rooms with high ceilings and large windows looking out to the garden. Both feature working shutters and wood burning stoves with marble surrounds.
Glazed sliding doors connect the morning room to the formal dining room. Off the dining room is Ron’s study, with a wood burning stove and a vestibule off with a cloakroom and side door to the garden.
The rear hall has doors to a WC, pantry, boot room, dairy, and laundry room.
The sun room is Ron’s favourite spot to enjoy a gin and tonic and watch the natural world. “We have a family of deer, badgers, hair, stoats, buzzards. There’s always something to see.”
An impressive staircase leads up from the main hallway to the first floor where there are no fewer than six bedrooms, one of which is used as Linsey’s study. Three of the bedrooms face to the front and enjoy fantastic views to the Forth Estuary and the Lothian coastline.
The master bedroom has its own dressing room and en suite bathroom.
Around the corner from the house is the cottage, which the couple rent out to holiday makers. It too has been fully renovated and has three bedrooms – one with en suite – a breakfasting kitchen, and a living room with wood burner and large windows giving pleasant views over woodland.
A row of steadings forms a courtyard beside the main house and offers plenty of potential for further development. At present there is a cart shed, wood shed, garage, wood store, garden store and garden shed. One end of the steading has been developed at attic level and now forms Ron’s workshop.
“Although we haven’t converted any of the outbuildings we had the roofs overhauled when we carried out the works to the main house,” Ron says. “There’s power and light and it would be easy to convert them to further accommodation.”
A large expanse of tree-lined lawn leads gently downhill from the front of the house and from there a path leads down to Piteadie House’s most unusual and unique feature.
Ruined Piteadie Castle dates from at least the 15th Century and was further developed by an apothecary, William Calderwood, who enlarged the windows and removed the original arched entrance way.
The castle is a scheduled monument – “which is reassuring because if it falls down it’s not my responsibility,” Ron smiles – and architectural plans for its restoration have been drawn up. Adjacent to it is a disused tennis court with a stone pavilion, and the castle grounds extend downwards to a burn.
Ron and Linsey are selling in two lots, with the main house, cottage and outbuildings as lot one, and the castle, tennis court and grounds as lot two – though they are happy to sell both together.
The house, cottage and outbuildings sit in around four acres, with the castle and grounds occupying a further 3.8 acres, bringing the total land to around eight acres.
With their four children grown up Ron, 66, and Linsey, 57, intend to move to England once they sell their house.
Whoever buys Piteadie will be getting the benefit of a house and letting cottage that are beautifully done up, with outbuildings and a castle that offer almost limitless potential to put your own stamp on.
Piteadie House and Piteadie Castle, by Kirkcaldy, Fife, are on sale with Savills. The house is priced at o/o £975,000; the castle at o/o £225,000, and both are available for o/o £1.2 million.