A beautiful seaside home in Dunbar

The balcony at Mayview, Dunbar
The balcony at Mayview, Dunbar
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Many homes with “view” in their name do not have a vista worth looking at, but that charge cannot be levelled at Mayview in Dunbar.

The Victorian double upper apartment in Bayswell Road has commanding and breath-taking sea views to the front and a first floor sun room and balcony at the back overlooking an outstanding, south-facing garden to the Pentland Hills in the distance.

The front of the house

The front of the house

It was the outlook that first attracted Ruth Frost and her family when they bought here 18 years ago, but she says that wasn’t the only attraction. “The views were amazing, taking in the Bass Rock, Dunbar Castle and the Isle of May - hence the name - but the house itself is lovely too, with loads of beautiful period features that had been well looked after. It is an original house with a very warm feeling.”

It dates from 1887 and despite being split into two residences at some point in its history, the upper part feels very substantial. Ruth says: “We’ve always referred to it as a house and the rooms are all a good size. When you walk in there is a large open hallway lit from the cupola over the stairs, so it always felt light and spacious.”

That is not to say that Ruth hasn’t put her own mark on the home in her nearly two decades here. The house was reroofed eight years ago and although there was an existing sun room, it needed work.

In fact the room was largely rebuilt in the refurbishment and the architect who undertook the task also suggested the balcony. Ruth says: “It wasn’t something we had considered but we could see that it would be a fantastic addition.” The enclosed balcony leads off the stunning sun room and is held up with tree trunks, creating a sheltered and shaded patio below. “It means that we can still sit out if it is too hot to be on the balcony.”

The sitting room

The sitting room

There is a sizeable walled garden at the back of the house which Ruth has landscaped in her time here. She says: “I really relished making the most of this large area.” It is now divided into three distinct spaces: around the terraces is an alpine rock garden surrounded by paths and flowers and a further seating area, further down is the pool with waterlilies and goldfish and the third area is the kitchen garden, with a vegetable plot and fruit trees producing everything from apples, plums, gooseberries and rhubarb to artichokes. Ruth says: “Because it is walled, there is shelter. You have to remember that we are very close to the sea, but even so it is amazing what we have been able to grow.”

The property’s garage is screened from the house with an enormous willow tree, which is decades old, but Ruth has grown a beautiful rose tree up it.

Just across the road are steps leading down to a rocky bay and the beach which have enticed her son, step children and now grandchildren for rock pooling over the years. The John Muir Way crosses here - he was born round the corner - and five minutes away are clifftop paths, while Lauderdale Park is at the end of the road.

Inside the house is well laid out, with four bedrooms, three on the upper floor and one on the lower - which has served time as an office, guest bedroom and dining room.

The view from the house

The view from the house

The entrance hall has a magnificent oak, barley twist staircase leading to the upper floor.

The living room is at the front, so has the sea views. There is beautiful cornicing in here, including thistles which have been picked out in bright purple. Ruth installed a multi fuel burner and commissioned a bespoke mantle to go over it. “A friend, Susheila Jamieson, who is a sculptor made it for us, incorporating the thistle design.”

Ruth replaced the kitchen several years ago, opening it out to make it large enough for a sizeable dining table with chairs and a window seat to give a view while eating.

The three double bedrooms upstairs perhaps have the most outstanding views from delightful dome windows and there is a family five piece bathroom up here too.

The terrace

The terrace

You can imagine lots of practical reasons why this house would fit into many people’s plans; it is within fifteen minutes walk of the station - or ten minutes if you are about to miss a train, according to Ruth - and less than that to the local primary and secondary schools and the High Street.

There’s plenty of outdoor space including a large workshop in the garden as well as the garage. And the accommodation inside is generous, characterful and in immaculate order with lots of storage space for a larger family.

But now it is time to downsize it is probably more likely to be the intangible that Ruth will miss.

She says: “From inside my own house I’ve been able to watch the most magnificent sunsets out over the sea.”

The back of the house

The back of the house