A home near the centre of Ceres enjoys all the amenities of the pretty Fife village with easy access to the countryside. Two clever extensions have enhanced what was already a lovely traditional house.
Ceres is one of those places that somehow just makes you happy. A village feel, a safe and open playpark, two pubs, two cafes, a shop and a thriving primary school means there’s plenty for day to day living – and it’s only a few minutes from Cupar and St Andrews.
Castlebank House sits in the heart of the village, a short walk up from the main street and opposite the playpark. The 64-mile Pilgrims Way passes nearby before heading on to its end point in St Andrews.
Michael Downes bought the house around 10 years ago after it had lain empty for some time.
Fronting onto the park, Castlebank House has a heart-of-the-village feel from the front, but make your way to the back of the house and you could be in the country. The house backs onto fields and there are pleasant open views.
“One of the things we’ve always liked best about the house is how you feel like you’re in a village and out in the countryside at the same time,” says Michael.
The main sitting room has an open fire, original pitch pine flooring and a window with a nice outlook over the village.
Across the hallway is another reception room which is currently set up as a music room – Michael is director of music at St Andrews University – but could be a family room or an additional double bedroom.
The previous owners extended the kitchen, putting in a bank of Veluxes and a full-height window that offers a lovely view across the countryside. A comfy chair has been placed in just the right location to enjoy the views and on the bright morning I visit the room is flooded with sunshine.
A utility room leads to a hallway that connects to the garage and a storeroom. “The house had been empty for quite a while when we bought it and I’m sure one of the main reasons was this hallway was narrow and dark and it didn’t really go anywhere,” Michael explained. “The rest of the house was so nice and this area let it down.”
Michael employed an architect and local building firm to come up with a clever solution. The hallway now folds back on itself, entering a small extension that consists of a sitting area lit by large glazed doors and a study that also faces into the garden. It’s an excellent space that transforms the rear of the house.
Upstairs are four bedrooms, one with a dressing room. Two of the bedrooms are off the main staircase and also have their own external stair from a courtyard outside. “There was a kitchen up here and it could be used as a separate flat,” Michael explains. “That didn’t suit our needs so we changed it, creating two bedrooms and a bathroom in this part of the house. My daughters love it because it gives them their own part of the house and they can make lots of noise.”
Michael, 51, is moving to the East Neuk but will be sad to see Castlebank go. “It’s a lovely house and we’ve enjoyed living here,” he says.