Skythorn is a Bond-style house in Clackmannanshire, which may have shaken its neighbours in the 1970s but will stir fans of the era, says Kirsty McLuckie
Tucked up a back road overlooking the pretty village of Dollar in Clackmannanshire is a house quite unlike its neighbours.Built in the 1970s, Skythorn has a James Bond styling which may cause people to ask twice about its name – but it is called after the hill behind, which is part of the Ochils range, and not 007’s ancestral home.James and Ainslie Anderson bought the property 15 years ago, relocating from Edinburgh in search of family home which would allow their children to walk to school in relative safety.Dollar Academy is a few minutes away and attracts many parents of young children to the pretty village.
The conservatory runs the length of the house on the first floor.
Ainslie says of the unusual house: “It was built in 1972 and from what I understand it caused quite a stir at the time.”From its raised situation it has beautiful views over the village, up to Knockhill and Saline and its design takes full advantage.Ainslie says: “It is an upside down house, with a very private secluded garden and windows running the full length.”Another 1970s feature is the outdoor pool. She says: “They are few and far between in Scotland, but our kids have loved it. It is further down the garden and it feels a bit like being on holiday – there is a pool lodge and we have barbecues and parties down there.”
The pool has a lodge and barbecue area.
The main house is equally hospitable: “The public rooms are all huge and we have so much entertaining space inside and out, and everywhere is just full of light.”There are also niches, nooks and crannies that Ainslie says makes it a very quirky property with plenty of character.The house has about an acre of grounds, including a flat area of lawn, a wild garden and woodland.The mature shrubs and trees, which are probably as old as the house, provide screening and shade and makes for a low maintenance outside space. Ainslie comments: “It is what James calls a ‘power tool garden’, apart from a bit of mowing, all that is needed is cutting back every so often.” The sloped upper reaches of the garden allowed them to install a zip wire when the children were younger.
The view of the garden, with the secluded pool.
Completely enclosed, it is a very safe outside area for kids and pets and there are fabulous walks in both directions on the doorstep.The couple have refurbished and redecorated the interior in their time, replacing the bathrooms and ensuites and putting in a new dining kitchen, including commissioning a lovely bespoke larder cupboard.One of the biggest jobs was to remove the pine lining, which was on the walls of the sitting room and the halls. Aficionados of 1970s homes might regret the move, but Ainslie says: “It was dark, and gave the feeling of being on the inside of a sauna, so we took it down and replastered the walls.”
The sizeable hallway is on the lower level of the house.
The doors are original and have been painted in modern grey and Ainslie says: “It did have a central fireplace in the sitting room at some point, which is very James Bond but that had gone by the time we came.”Originally, the conservatory was a terrace, but was glassed in by the previous owners.It creates another public room and the glass retains heat making Skythorn a very warm house in winter, with doors that open up fully in the summer.The main living space is on the first floor at the front with the conservatory leading off the drawing room and double doors connecting to a smaller sitting room, the dining room and on to the kitchen. There are three bedrooms at this level too, each with their own windows at the front and skylights.
The drawing room adjoins the conservatory and a further sitting room.
On the lower level is another ensuite bedroom, a vast entrance hall and a sizeable home office where James can work from home, as chief executive of a HR tech company.Ainslie ran a coffee shop in the village for years, making the whole family’s travel to work and school very convenient, but she points out that Dollar is a good central point for commuting.“Edinburgh airport is 40 minutes away and for shopping Dunfermline, Kinross and Stirling are all 12 miles from here.”The children, Kitty aged 24 and Rory, 21, have just left home, and Ainslie is looking for a new business, but she says: “Dollar was the perfect move for us, it is such a lovely village with a great sense of community, and this house has been everything we wanted.”
Offers over £670,000. Selling agent Strutt and Parker on 0131-718 4595.