It has always baffled me that Tayport is seen as the poorer cousin of Newport. While the latter has been gentrified, with some outstanding restaurants and cafes – and rocketing house prices – the former is only now starting to get the recognition it deserves.
Gazing across to Broughty Ferry Castle and beach, rather than to the high rises of Dundee, and on the mouth of the river with the forest and sands of Tentsmuir right on its doorstep, it’s in a glorious location.
And yet property remains reasonable and it must be one of the best value places in Scotland for those who want coastal views and easy access to both city and countryside.
Taybank is a fine example of what’s on offer. Beautifully modernised, with up to five bedrooms, a large back garden and stellar views across the river it’s a big, handsome slab of Victorian stone and slate for £475,000.
For around 30 years it was owner by former Tayport councillor Maggie Taylor and her husband, who ran his dental surgery from within the house.
Its current owners, Calum and Carol Melhuish bought the house in 2014 and immediately set about revamping and overhauling it.
The dental surgery was run from an extension at the back of the property and accessed by a narrow passageway up the side of the house.
There was a gap between the original house and the extension, which has now been roofed over and made into a hallway, with the surgery becoming two large double bedrooms and a family bathroom.
High level skylight windows make the hallway bright and welcoming, while the original stone wall of the house has been left exposed as a feature, and an oak beam provides charm as well as structural support.
What was the corridor leading into the surgery has been closed off internally, but the original doorway remains and it is now used as a handy and secure storage space for bicycles.
Taybank was built in 1836 and still bears many of the hallmarks of the era. “The fireplace in the dining room still has buzzers that you would press to call the servants into the room,” Calum smiles.
“They even had buttons at either side so if the husband and wife were at opposide ends of the table they could both reach them.”
Officially, Taybank is on William Street, however the rear garden backs onto the much quieter Dougall Street and this is where the driveway is. “In the six years we’ve been living here I don’t think I’ve parked on William Street and come through the front door even once,” Calum laughs.
The living room has exposed timber beams and Calum installed a wood burning stove, which roars with heat, keeping the room cosy during the autumn and winter evenings.
The dining room also has exposed beams as well as a fireplace and the aforementioned buzzers – though sadly no one comes running to pour me some wine when I press one.
Connected to the dining room is a smaller room with a cosy sofa that’s used as a reading room or snug. Like the living and dining rooms it has nice views across the rooftops to the River Tay and must be a pleasant place to while away a quiet Sunday afternoon.
The kitchen has a country feel to it, with an Aga spreading warmth through the room and a Velux in the roof providing extra light.
Upstairs are three more bedrooms, one of which is used as a second lounge, and a study – perfect for if home working becomes the norm for the next few years.
The study, the upstairs lounge and the master bedroom face towards the river and the extra elevation makes the views quiet breathtaking Off the landing is a family bathroom that has been nicely updated by Calum and Carol.
A steep set of stairs leads up to a pair of loft rooms that are floored and used for storage. “You could probably convert the loft space into more bedrooms but this is already a big house and we have more than enough space for our needs,” Calum explains.
The garden has also been overhauled by the couple. “When we moved in there wasn’t a lawn and it was mainly a rockery with lots of shrubs and flowers,” Calum continues.
“We wanted something easier to maintain that had some lawn for the kids to play on.”
There are still plenty of plants and flowers but now the multi-level garden has large expanses of lawn. The uppermost level also has a handsome timber structure the couple call the sitooterie, using that wonderful piece of Scottish vernacular.
The sitooterie also benefits from great views across the river. “We love sitting here watching the ships and oil rigs come in to the harbour,” Calum explains.
There’s room for a couple of cars on the drive and a gate leads out onto Dougall Street.
Stone walls line a path down to the lower level where there is a patio that captures the evening sun and is sheltered from the coastal winds. A stone bench has colourful cushions on it and it’s clear this is a cherished spot for enjoying an evening glass of wine now and then.
Calum and Carol, both 47, and their two teenage children hope to stay in Tayport. “We lived in Tayport, on Ogilvie Street, for quite a few years before we moved to this house and we really like it here,” Calum says.
“Ideally we would love to buy a plot of land and self build. I really enjoyed doing all the work on this house and I would love if we were able to design and build our dream home from scratch.”
Taybank, 42 William Street, Tayport, is on sale with Galbraith for o/o £475,000.