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
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
Noe Valley Residence is a complete remodel to a classic San Francisco Victorian designed by Feldman Architecture, who respected the original character of the home. The architect infused a modern sensibility of space, light and materiality. The front facade of the house was kept largely intact; only a bright green door with a translucent polycarbonate panel hints that the building is anything other than original.
Once inside, though, visitors are greeted by a steel and glass screen that obscures a central stairway. Lit from large skylights above, the open-riser stair brings light into the core of the building.
At the rear of the main level, walls were removed so the kitchen, breakfast nook and family room are open to each other. All, in turn, are oriented around a deck, the metal doors to which completely retract so that the deck, family room, kitchen and eating nook can function as one large room on nice days and evenings.
Throughout the house a palette of greys, white, steel and glass, with occasional pops of color, unifies the spaces.
On the top floor are several bedrooms, including a spacious master bedroom with wood-paneled vaulted ceilings plus a master bath with a free-standing tub and glass-enclosed shower.
The lower level includes an office and media room, both of which open directly to the backyard. The office is lined with shelves for the client’s extensive book collection.
Photos: Joe Fletcher
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
This rural mid-century modern home was originally built by local architect James Cowan in 1957 for the Devney family, located in the Craig Hill neighborhood of Ellensburg, Washington. The home is a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian style, with its L-shaped plan, native materials, flat roof, clerestory windows, and large cantilevered overhang for passive solar heating and cooling. The homeowner is an architect and furniture maker, who hand-made most of the plywood furniture seen throughout the home. Although the previous owners had renovated the home in 2006, most of the home’s original character remains untouched. The homeowner’s were fortunate enough to obtain a complete set of the original construction drawings of the house, and they plan to honor and reflect Cowan’s design. The home is comprised of 3,200 square feet of living space with five bedrooms and three bathrooms.
The L-shaped house mixes wood, glass and cement. A large wall of glass lets light flood into the living room and connects the space to the outdoors, but a wood-screened courtyard in front prevents it from feeling exposed to the street.
The homeowners created their own version of a screen door — a 3/4-inch board of fir plywood painted and dotted with circular cutouts.
This entry console made of plywood and cherry, with cutout slots was designed by the homeowner to make sorting incoming mail easy. The slate flooring is original to the home.
Most of the materials transfer between the indoors and out. A bed of river rock inside near the entryway continues outside, as does the concrete masonry unit wall.
The homeowner also built the long, low-slung console, coffee table and armchair in this living room.
The bamboo floors, installed by the home’s second owners, reflect the abundant light that pours through floor-to-ceiling windows. Small groupings of furniture anchored by no-frills carpets in dark browns and gray keep the attention on the home’s lines and the play of light and shadow.
An original teak and glass light fixture hangs over a table and bench that Scott built. The low-slung round table and console are both vintage.
One of many original pocket doors in the home connects the dining room to the kitchen, which retains its original layout and birch cabinets. The previous homeowners had installed new flooring, a tile backsplash and updated appliances.
From the homeowner: Where the dog bed is now, there used to be a swing-out desk that you could place up against the [picture] wall, to work at. I’d like to rebuild that one of these days..
The kitchen connects to a family room, creating an open concept that’s common today, “but when this home was designed, this was forward thinking,” states the homeowner. The original fireplace wasn’t drafting correctly, so the homeowners installed a woodstove in its place.
Sliding doors off the family room hide a large storage and utility room with floor-to-ceiling shelves. The homeowner built the sawhorse table, coffee table and couch; the latter converts into a guest bed.
When the Faulkners, shown here, entered the home for the first time after purchasing it, Scott presented Emily with a midcentury style clock that now hangs on the clear, vertical-grain Douglas fir paneling in the living room.
Clerestory windows are the hallmark of the upstairs rooms. In this home office, a Murphy bed that folds down to reveal a full headboard and shelves.
When the Murphy bed folds up, there is plenty of space to work in this home office.
Lined with sliding doors, the hallway has ample storage made even more functional through another creative original element: slide-out shelves.
Though another bedroom has larger windows, the homeowner’s made this their main bedroom because they love the way light pours in through the clerestory windows. The platform bed was built with underbed storage.
One of the couple’s greatest challenges was expanding storage in the carport for their motorcycles while still staying true to the home’s design. The couple increased a storage area by 6 feet, built doors to match the home’s front “screen” door and repurposed the home’s siding to create a wall.
Photos: Kimberley Bryan
Hudson Loft is a historic preservation project of a former American Express warehouse building, which has been designed by Schappacher White Architecture in TriBeCa, New York. The architects combined two spaces into a 3,000 square foot residential loft. The design evolved from the local warehouse history, materials, and forms of the existing spaces. Materials were selected that have age or been aged. Materials such as: chemically aged steel wall panels, zinc, new steel baseboards to reflect existing metal capitals, custom metal lighting at vaulted ceilings, wired glass at bath door/partition, and stained fumed oak. The kitchen incorporates custom center pivot windows that open to a pantry located behind the length of the kitchen.
The wall treatment seen here in the family room is what the architects call “liquid metal wall” since it looks fluid and changes in appearance as the light in the room shifts. SchappacherWhite custom designed the treatment and had it fabricated for this application. It is made of hot rolled steel sheets, cut to size and to follow the vaults at the ceiling. The steel was chemically “aged” and then a sealer applied. Our metal fabrictor made this wall, zinc shelves and counters, custom designed lighting, and bases for the columns to match the cast iron capitols.
The sofa is from B&B Italia, the light fixture at the left is by Arteriors, the wall mounted is Olampia.
This project has an exhaust hood behind the cabinet doors. It is a gas cooktop, so the owners open the doors for access to the hood when using the cooktop depending on the setting of the flame. The light fixture over the kitchen island was custom designed for this loft by SchappacherWhite.
The dining table is from Restoration Hardware. The light fixture over the island is custom designed by SchappacherWhite for this project. The fixture over the dining table is through Urban Electric.
The wire shelving in this kitchen pantry area is from Metro Shelving. The pantry is 4′ wide x 17′ long. The width will depend on what shelving depth is required. The windows at the left are at the kichen’s backsplash, so pantry items can be passed through directly to the kitchen counter. The lundry basket is by Restoration Hardware.
The striking portrait on the wall of a girl and her dog is a 6′-0″ wide painting by artist Bill Sullivan.
The desk, shelves and rods were custom designed by SchappacherWhite for this specific project. The shelves and desk surface are zinc, the rod is steel. The built-in shelves are + – 30″‘ wide. Desk is the same width, but extends over the radiator another 6″.
The floors are fumed oak. The pocket door into the master bedroom is black metal framed fibergalsss panels.
Radiator covers have a Corian top and laquer painted doors/covers.
The custom shower enclosure by SchappacherWhite, fabricated by Gunnar Design.
Photos: Jason Lindberg
Zero Energy House, designed by Levy Art & Architecture, is the first home in San Francisco, California that is completely self-powering and carbon neutral. The architecture has been developed in conjunction with the mechanical systems and landscape design, each influencing the other to arrive at an integrated solution. Working from the historic facade, the design preserves the traditional formal parlors transitioning to an open plan at the central stairwell, helping to define the distinction between eras. The new floor plates act as passive solar collectors and radiant tubing redistributes collected warmth to the original, North facing portions of the house. Careful consideration has been given to the envelope design of Zero Energy House in order to reduce the overall space conditioning needs, retrofitting the old and maximizing insulation in the new.
The Bar piece is produced by SieMatic cabinets, it is walnut. The cabinets are a wood textured laminate, also by SieMatic. The stair is open to above and takes up an area about 6′-6″ x 10′-0″. the floor to floor height is 10′-6″.
Central skylights above staircase.
View from master bedroom.
Exterior stair back yard to first level.
Solar powered hybrid electric heat pump.
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
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