Dalcross Castle is a classic sandstone Scottish tower house owned by a family of four that was tastefully restored by Maxwell & Company Architects, located near Inverness, Scotland. The castle was originally built in 1620 and the family purchased the dilapidated home in 1996, captivated by the building and its history. The castle was originally built for one of the daughters of the eighth Lord Lovat, chief of Clan Fraser. It was home to the Duke of Cumberland during the mustering of troops for the 1746 Battle of Culloden. The troops would either stay in the castle or would cross right by it on their way to the battlefield. The castle fell into disrepair in the 19th century, but then was renovated in late Victorian times, yet gradually became run-down.
Have a look at some of our past articles on castles!
Two years after purchasing the castle, the family enlisted the architects help to convert the property from cold and damp into something cozy, warm and welcoming, that could be used by both family and friends. While carefully preserving the character of the past, the 8,072 square foot (750 square meters) 11 bedroom, 11 bathroom home showcases 21st-century comforts, creating an inviting Scottish escape for the family’s busy lives in London.
The building to the far left — a single-story cottage — was originally a dairy and is connected to a two-story cottage that once housed estate workers. These buildings are connected to the main castle by an open courtyard, which has been roofed to create an enclosed mudroom. The family uses this as their entrance.
The project took three years to complete both the interior and exterior renovation of the castle. Salvaged items were incorporated into the home, mixed with some purchased items, the castle is now full of period pieces with interesting histories.
These exterior gates are not the main gates, but the entrance to the walled gardens, which are not original to the property. They were sourced in Edinburgh at an architectural salvage yard. Dating back to the 1890s, they were refurbished and installed at the property, with the stone wall being extended and new railings put in to match.
The Great Hall has three windows with balconies that overlook the walled garden. The family uses this room for parties and entertaining guests. The fireplace had been painted; the architects stripped the paint to expose the original stonework. The table and chairs as well as the chandeliers were all custom made.
Adjacent to the Great Hall is the family’s private sitting room. This wing dates to 1890 and is much more modern than the 17th-century hall. This is reflected in the Arts and Crafts–style furnishings, the details on the fabrics and the craftsmanship of the original paneling.
This is the main staircase that rises through the five floors of the castle. The architects took off the old plaster, reinstated new and gave it a lime wash. The plaster was left exposed to complement the original stone stairs.
In the master bedroom, rich reds and grays create an elegant yet warm atmosphere. Sporrans, part of male Scottish Highland dress, decorate the wall and ground the room firmly in its context. The clients purchased the wardrobe. The fireplace is not original; it was also found by the clients. The fireplace is French marble with ornate ironwork in fleur-de-lis patterns.
One of the quaintest features of the castle is what’s known as the laird’s lug. “The laird [proprietor] of the castle needed to have somewhere to hide should the castle be attacked. It’s between floors, so you wouldn’t know it existed,” states the architect. “That’s typical of castles.”
A warm red was chosen for the main hallway in the master bedroom suite, one floor up from the Great Hall. The color is toned down with a muted gray on the bookshelves, and framed maps and artwork break up the color.
The castle has three turrets which were turned into cozy seating areas. The shot holes between the windows would originally have been used for defense of the castle.
The couple has two children who inhabit the top of the castle, each taking up half of the floor. The architects worked with interior designer Rona Douglas. In this bedroom they went for a nautical theme, seen in the red and white stripes on the wall fabric, and in the blinds and cushions that feature flags on one side and pennants on the other.
The back door, which is used by the family, opens into this passageway, which has various utilitarian rooms off it, such as a wine cellar, a garden room and an office for the running of the estate. At the end, through the open door pictured here, the main staircase rises up through the full five floors of the castle. The solid oak floor conceals heating pipes that run underground from a boiler room that Maxwell & Company Architects constructed outside the walled garden.
The project won a Civic Trust award, the citation for which acknowledged that enlightened patronage had produced a building with a cohesion of design and consistency of execution that stood as a celebration of the past and a testament to the present and future.
Photos: Peter Landers Photography
Vintage House Daylesford is an 1860s miner’s cottage that has been completely restored and re-designed by interior designer Kali Cavanagh, located on the border of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, Victoria, Australia. Surrounded by various established trees, Vintage House Daylesford sits high on almost an acre of land with views over Wombat State Forest and Doctors Gully.
The home is available to rent as luxury accommodation and location hire. The house and studio currently sleep a maximum of 6 people, with rates ranging from $620 – $2,740, depending on whether you want to stay one night or a week, from here.
Sit in the leather chesterfield sofas and enjoy a glass of wine by the unique 1800’s cast iron fireplace from France. Original French CAFE sign sits above. Surrounded by many industrial furniture finds from the US.
Completely restored and re-designed with love to highlight the original features of the house. Combining the use of wood, metals and shades of white, black and everything in between to bring new life to the cottage. Finished with antique, vintage and industrial furniture and artwork from around the globe.
An old post office table from England made in the 1700’s sits with industrial wooden chairs and a leather chesterfield banquette. Seats eight. Large original stable doors open up to the side garden which holds a fire pit and an over-sized custom designed outdoor table made from oak and metal.
The layout of the house was re-designed to enjoy open plan living.
Cook up a feast in the restored 1920’s gas Chambers oven from the US which sits pride of place in the center of the kitchen. A double butler sink, dishwasher, industrial lighting also from the US along with custom made lighting. Old church doors were restored to house the fridge. Custom designed island bench made from old industrial metal legs and separate wood top is a perfect place for breakfast.
Each room has been carefully considered and designed. With three bedrooms and three bathrooms in total.
Two bedrooms have been combined to create the ultimate bedroom and en-suite! Featuring a king sized bed and luxury linens from the US. Enjoy a soak in an original claw foot bath before bed or shower in the en-suite bathroom which you enter through restored barn doors.
Enjoy sleeping in the ‘grey room’ with high ceilings, luxury linens surrounded by antique and industrial furniture and art from the US, France and the UK.
Lie back and enjoy the view in an over-sized bath big enough for two! It features a marble surround and large shower head from the UK. The large industrial window opens up fully to the nature surrounds.
Custom designed window, bench and mirror make the bathroom unique – combining industrial vintage pieces with new metal and materials to create the ultimate bathroom for a weekend away.
Vintage House Daylesford sits on just under an acre of land. The garden studio makes up a very private 3rd bedroom, complete with queen bed, luxury linens, original artwork from an old garage in the US and industrial pendant lighting.
An over-sized claw foot bath with shower looks out a large wall of glass to the valley below. Also contains a separate toilet, reverse cycle heating and air-conditioning and wall mounted TV to make the studio the perfect romantic hideaway!
The house and studio sit on almost an acre of land with large established willow trees, pine trees and many fruit trees including plums, lemons, apples and olive trees.
Photos: Armelle Habib
La Suite Sans Cravate is an historical house that has been converted by Véronique Bogaert into a luxury guesthouse with four guestrooms, located in Bruges, Belgium. The success of the owner’s restaurant was the inspiration for the guesthouse, and with an expanding family, there was not enough room for them to continue taking up residence above their restaurant. Have a look below for the owner’s inspiring story of how the project transpired into what was once just a visionary dream.
We (Veronique 37 years and Henk 34 years) have a restaurant (1 Michelin star) in Bruges since 10 years. We’ve lived above the restaurant until now; it became too small with our 2 kids (6 & 7 years). We were looking for a private house but didn’t find anything which was close the restaurant and enough space. Suddenly a great opportunity came along, the historical house in front of our restaurant came free and we take the shot… Result it was too big for us, so we aid to each other “why don’t we make some guestrooms in the building?”
We ourselves had enough ideas how to separates the places in that big house. We of course needed an architect to draw for us. There was one big rule!! We wanted to have absolutely a private house were our guests couldn’t come, let’s say a red line for them not to cross. Therefor we provided 2 very high luxury rooms and 2 suites. The house is separated is 2 parts, one for the guests and one for us. We’ve put an extra stair especially for us. It’s a very ancient house; we have information that leads until 1450! A house with a soul and character!
The whole decoration we did ourselves, till the smallest detail. We didn’t use the help of any interior architect or someone of that kind. We ourselves are creative minded people the name of our guesthouse is called “La Suite”, for us it has several meanings, first, it means if you translate it, the following, it is the following step of our lives, it also means like a kitchen name, that reply’s in the kitchen that the next dish can follow. Like the people who are in our restaurant, they can go to their rooms for the next step of their evening.
Why a French name? That’s because our restaurant is called “Sans Cravate”, now we’ve changed our logo to La Suite Sans Cravate, it match very well together. We have a very personal style in our kitchen and interior of the restaurant, now we have that also in our new guesthouse. The rooms have the name of wine grapes, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Each guest receives when they arrive a glass of bubbles with a personalized macaroon biscuit with the flavors of their room that they booked.
The renovation took three years in total but the result is magic, we are of course very proud that we realized something like that. With only one month open and already nominated for “Best design hotel”.
Photos: Courtesy of La Suite Sans Cravate
Hamersley Road Residence is the conversion of an early 1900’s Australian workers cottage into a modern family home by Studio53, located in Subiaco, an inner western suburb of Perth, Australia. The external timberwork, moulded plaster, handmade tiles and flannel flower glass of the existing house give the home a distinct arts and crafts aesthetic. The house had been untouched for many years. The owners, architect and interior designer from Studio53, wished to provide a functional home for their family with flexibility for now and into the future. They also wanted to respect and enhance the existing craftsmanship.
As we were designing a home for our family, we wanted to optimize the space of the relatively small site area. We were able to do this through the use of pure forms such as the ‘courtyard’ and the ‘box’.
The conception of the ‘box’ is integral to the design of this house. Internally, the box is its own zone; bedrooms, bathroom and play room for the children. Externally the box defines the character of the extension, highlighting the change from existing house to contemporary home in a sympathetic but contrasting manner.
Throughout the design process, we re-used and recycled elements of the existing home to create a story of restoration. This included recycling bricks, light fittings, and even the old laundry trough, which is now a thriving herb garden. The original tin awning on the front of the existing house was resurrected with a coat of Dulux Weathershield in ‘Happy’ to match the ‘box’.
The upper level addition is delineated from the existing house by taking the form of a pure yellow ‘box’ gently placed on top of the ground floor behind the gable of the existing home. The Box is then further wrapped in a perforated screen to shade and protect it from the sun.
To the rear of the existing home we constructed a ground floor extension that envelopes a landscaped courtyard. Building to two boundaries and focusing the new ground floor rooms into the courtyard assisted in the creation and then blurring of the boundaries between indoor and outdoor. The intent was to provide multiple spaces of differing character, to be used at different times of the day and year, some inside and some outside.
The intricately patterned and visually permeable screen envelops the box on all sides. The pattern is inspired from the floral motif of the original carpet and fireplace tiles; although given a contemporary edge. This screen provides visual richness, shade and protection to openings whilst offering opportunities for passive surveillance of the street. At night, the screen is illuminated, glows and provides a moment of joy for the neighborhood.
Despite being untouched for over 90 years, the existing home was rescued and rejuvenated. The honest values of the house have been maintained, continued and extended into the new addition, to breathe life into the existing cottage and to create a “happy” and contemporary family home.
House at Neil Road celebrates the traditional charm of Peranakan shophouses with the addition of new spaces sensitive to the building’s rich heritage, by ONG&ONG, in the conservation district of Singapore. Akin to traditional shophouses, the spaces are interspersed with courtyards that serve as visual focal points. The original courtyard forms the heart of the common areas while a newer courtyard marks the transition from the old structure into its new extension.
The shophouse walls tell a similar story of progression from old to new, with paintwork along the forecourt’s boundary walls stripped and left unfinished, revealing layers of paintwork and the shophouse’s history. Exposed brick walls reveal old bricks manufactured with local clay that are no longer in production. This creates a stark contrast when juxtaposed with the original courtyard wall – its original blue paintwork and folklore-inspired fresco restored to celebrate the shophouse’s Peranakan heritage.
Other preservation efforts include the restoration of the facade; the original red cement flooring of the five-foot way, living and dining spaces; the original timber flooring and exposed floor joists of the upper levels; and the terrazzo finish for the bathrooms, which highlights an age-old craft that is becoming a dying trade in Singapore. Details such as bathroom vanities accented with glazed Peranakan tiles, the old iron main gate and the “pintu pagar” (Malay for “door gate”) demarcating the master bedroom’s entrance further enrich the authentic tonalities of the shophouse.
With its blending of old and new elements, this house not only preserves a unique cultural heritage, but also acts as a storytelling device that narrates the histories of its past and present occupants.
Photos: Courtesy of ONG&ONG
The Cube House project is an old Victorian home that has been re-imagined by John Maniscalco Architecture for a family of four, located in San Francisco, California. This dilapidated 1895 Victorian with a historically protected facade, abnormally long building footprint, and zero lot-line configuration was transformed into a light-filled home. The introduction of a two-story atrium (which is open to the sky) brings the exterior into the very center of the urban dwelling becoming the spatial organizing gesture, allowing all areas of the house to partake of the light, air, and landscape (both earth and sky) that this protected garden provides.
Utilizing both the transparent and reflective qualities, the glass cube acts to both define each distinct space and extend it. The Jarrah stair, which is framed by the cube, cantilevers from the wall, adding to the transparency and lightness. A wall of Sapele cabinets transforms to respond to the changing requirements of each space, while maintaining the scale of the larger space.
The house maintains an appropriately formal programmatic element – a library – in the room behind the preserved facade. The dining room and living room flank the garden, which a large kitchen opens on two sides to the rear garden and views to the north. Above, the cube is surrounded by two bedrooms and a master bedroom suite with a large rear deck.
The lower level features a media room/guest suite, exercise room, laundry, and a three-car garage.
The solution maintains and restores the historic facade, while adding an additional floor, set back from the street, which utilizes an abstraction of the cornice and fenestration patterns of the existing house.
Photos: Courtesy of John Maniscalco Architecture
Greenwich Village Townhouse is a landmark Greek Revival townhouse from the 1840’s that has been designed by Axis Mundi, situated on a charming street in New York’s Greenwich Village. The four floor building (plus sub-basement) was gutted to the original brick building envelope. All new mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems were installed, and the garden was redesigned. Axis Mundi was responsible for the complete architectural, interior design and decorating of this home.
The goal of the project was to respect the charms and scale of the original historical style without mimicking period details, and create a suitably modern context for the owner’s collection of artwork by Warhol, Haring and Basquiat. While restrained, the interior resolves certain contextual issues related to the site, yet is decidedly modernist in its attention to details.
A sculptural bronze and mirrored screen was designed by Axis Mundi to create an entrance foyer, using cast glass that was salvaged from Gio Ponti’s Alitalia showroom on Fifth Avenue. A chandelier was created with glass from the same project, all superbly fabricated by Urban Archeology.
Various surrealist touches, such as a painting by Matta, and furniture by Salvador Dali and Antonio Gaudi, add a touch of humor to a formally rigorous design scheme.
Most of the details were custom designed, from the marble mosaics in the bathrooms, to the millwork and Prouve-inspired shutters on the kitchen floor.
A custom bronze staircase, anodized aluminum metalwork, and overall spatial concerns relate to a contemporary sense of materiality.
Photos: Adriana Bufi, Andrew Garn, and Annie Schlecter
This striking farmhouse renovation project was designed for the 2012 Southern Living Idea House by Historical Concepts, located in the tiny town of Senoia, Georgia. The project was Southern Living Magazines first ever historical renovation project. Over a period of seven months, a tired 19th century home located in this historic town south of Atlanta was transformed into a charming and up-to-date farmhouse. Multiple renovations had masked much of the historic character, so the restoration began by peeling back generations of changes to uncover the essence of the 1830s home. The design team then set out to salvage what remained of the home’s original materials, retaining heart pine floors and hand planed wall boards. Additions sympathetic to the style and massing provided room for porches, a laundry room, mud room, office and carriage house, accommodating modern living while staying true to the home’s architectural heritage and rural roots.
Photos: Laurey W. Glenn (Courtesy of Southern Living)
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