You can imagine arriving at Hope Cottage on a dark and rainy evening after a day on the hills with the dogs, flopping down on the sofa in front of the wood burner, and feeling perfectly at ease.
It’s the sort of postcard perfect rural cottage that makes you want to flee the city for a quiet, idyllic country life.
The traditional stone-built house sits on a quiet country lane in the hamlet of Strathtay, a few miles from the busy Highland Perthshire town of Aberfeldy.
The River Tay is just a few yards away – some of the homes on the other side of the lane have gardens that run down to the water’s edge.
For the past two years Hope Cottage has been home to Rob and Ailsa McAuliffe, who live there with their dogs Moss and Chutney.
They’ve overhauled the decor, modernising the house without sacrificing its traditional features.
“The old paint had gone a bit yellow and horrible so we’ve gone for bolder colours,” Ailsa explains. The couple installed a bespoke new deVOL kitchen with marble work surfaces, and rewired the whole house. They also replaced the kitchen windows with good quality modern units.
The tiled vestibule leads into a bright hallway with the kitchen to the right and living room to the left.
The living room has wood flooring and a large wood burning stove. The kitchen has a large central island with marble work surface, and a pantry. There’s also a downstairs shower room that incorporates the utility room.
An extension was added by previous owners and the McAuliffes have modernised this, removing a low wall so they could install full height sliding glazed doors that open out onto a southwest facing terrace.
On a warm summer’s morning such as the one I’m visiting on, it’s one of those special rooms that brings the outside in.
“It’s a great room for entertaining and Rob uses it to work from when he’s home,” Ailsa explains.
Upstairs are three large bedrooms, all of which enjoy countryside views, and a family bathroom. Many of the windows have traditional working shutters.
The house sits in a large garden with a patio and lawn, and steps leading up and through trees to an expanse of grass. At the far end of the garden a gate opens into the neighbouring golf course, from where you can walk up into the Perthshire hills.
There’s a double garage beside the house, off street parking outside, and stone outbuildings that are used for storage but could easily be converted into a holiday home if planning permission was obtained.
They lie a few metres up a track from the main house and are currently laid out as a large workshop, two storage rooms and a garage.
The house is on the Rob Roy Way and a walker strides past as I’m looking out of a bedroom window.
The couple lived in London for a decade and Rob, 36, still works in the capital during the week, returning to Strathtay every weekend.
He and Ailsa, 33, want to remain in Scotland but move a bit closer to the central belt.
“We’ll miss living here,” Ailsa says. “Strathtay’s such a lovely village with a great community – there are lovely touches like a mobile library and the fish van coming once a week – but it’s just a little bit too far from an airport.
“Ideally we’d like something similar to this but within easier reach of flights for Rob to get down to London.”
Hope Cottage, Strathtay, Pitlochry is on sale with Galbraith for o/o £475,000.