Prestige viewing: Whole in one at home of golf

The reunifying restoration of a grand old Fife family home split in twain, proved to be a game of two halves for its owners, learns Kirsty McLuckie

Tullis House

Tullis House is an attractive late-Victorian home with a lovely garden, at one of the best addresses in central St Andrews.

It dates from the 1880s, but was split in two horizontally sometime in the 1980s.

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Owners Sandy and Maggi Seymour originally bought the lower half of the house in 2002 as something of a downsize, which soon became an upsize as they put the two halves back together.

Tullis House

Sandy Seymour recalls: “We were living in the Central Belt and wanted a holiday home with a garden.

“Friends were buying second homes abroad, but we weighed up our priorities and realised we would get much more use from a house close enough to pop up for a weekend, and near the home of golf as we are both keen players.

“We bought the bottom half, and we thought that it would be big enough.”

Once the Seymours had moved in, they could see – and hear – the advantages of having the whole house to themselves.

Tullis House

So within two years, when the upstairs owner informed them that they were selling up, the couple made the climb to their door and the deal was done immediately.

In the meantime, taking up most of the two years, the Seymours had given the downstairs portion a full renovation, including adding a spectacular contemporary family room extension off the kitchen.

It created a beautiful barrel-vaulted room with skylights, which serves as a dining and sitting area. It is also has plenty of wall space and light to display Maggi’s artworks. The retired primary school teacher is an accomplished visual artist and the move upstairs has allowed her to create a west-facing studio in one of the extra four bedrooms.

Maggi says: “That extra space has been a real luxury. The kitchen upstairs then became a gym, and the lovely first-floor drawing room became the master bedroom.

Tullis House

“It has high ceilings and huge windows, so we added a couple of chandeliers.”

She explains: “Because it had been designed as one house, it was fairly simple to put back together, taking down one wall and restoring the original staircase.”

The garden has also been restored to its former glory, with mature trees and shrubs – some of which have been there as long as the house.

A single garage was replaced by a much larger double version, and a covered walkway, festooned with climbing plants and lit at night, now links the garage to the house. The driveway is paved in an eye-catching concentric pattern, with more paving on the terrace outside the double doors from the living area.

Tullis House

Inside, the kitchen was taken back to four walls and a bespoke David L Douglas kitchen refitted with hand-painted units and a large Aga.

Because it was originally a second home, the Seymours decided to completely furnish the new property from scratch, some items of which were imported from the US, where the couple spent time thanks to Sandy’s role as chairman of an engineering business there.

The couple have enjoyed finding traditional furniture for the older part of the house and opting for a more contemporary look in the extension. Sandy’s favourite room is his office, which he says has made working from home a pleasure.

Despite starting out as a downsize, the Seymours have appreciated the luxury of the extra space. Sandy says: “We have twin grandchildren in Edinburgh and there is plenty of room for everyone to stay.”

The pair plan to stay in St Andrews for their next move, which is a definite downsize this time, but they will miss the location most.

Sandy says: “It is a lovely place to live, and the house is so close to the shops, theatre, cinema and restaurants, but also to the golf courses and the beach.”

Tullis House

Checklist

Area Hepburn Gardens is 600 yards from South Street and in walking distance of all the town’s amenities and West Port. Close to the Old Course, where The 150th anniversary British Open returns next summer.

Schools State schooling is available locally with the new Madras school building due to open late this year. Independent schooling is provided at

St Leonards in St Andrews and the High School of Dundee. Tullis House is close to the university.

Interior 3,500 sq ft, including an open-plan living room with breakfasting kitchen which has access to an outdoor terrace. Utility room, bay-windowed dining room, home office and study. It has five bedrooms, one of which is currently used as an art studio and another as a gym. Three bath or shower rooms.

Exterior A large mature walled garden with shrubs, trees and lawns. Double garage with covered walkway to the house. Private driveway.

Tullis House, at 3 Hepburn Gardens, St Andrews is priced at offers over £1,700,000. For more information, call Rettie & Co. on 01334-237 700.

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Tullis House
Tullis House
Tullis House
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