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
Sympathetically dividing up the open plan space provided zoned living areas. Lindsey celebrated the existing period features of the property whilst brining it upto date with the clean lines, materials and finishes she’s used. Soft lighting illuminates the vaulted ceiling whilst “working lights” help zone each living space. The result is a calm, sleek environment which blends old with new and the internal space with the gardens.
Photos: Rachael Smith
Cliff House is a sleek modern dwelling that has been designed by Dualchas Architects, located in Galtrigill, Isle of Skye, Highland, United Kingdom. The site is located in North West Skye, overlooking Loch Dunvegan. It manifests itself as a contradiction: far reaching views to the North East and harsh winds from the South West. The constant is the horizon.
An existing ruin marks the entrance situation of the croft, while the edge of the cliff locates the dwelling on its site high above the water’s edge, giving the connecting path a distinguished end.
In order to address the site conditions, the building consists of two volumes; one closed, the other open. The first contains all serving functions to support the main open rooms. Together a place is created that provides shelter and privacy whilst maintaining focus on its surroundings.
The 1,237 square foot (115 square meters) building is first seen from the curved path as a wall in front of the dominant background. As the path unfolds and cuts deeper into the landscape, this relationship changes, with the building becoming the dominant focal point. This suspense is released upon entry. One wall of the main open volume is omitted and the visitor stands in front of a fully glazed screen atop of the cliff. The topography of the site allows the surrounding landscape to be experienced as a panorama. The built space ends with the horizon.
On the interior, materials are omitted to give dominance to the characteristics of the site acting as a gallery filled with the objects and memories the client surrounds themselves with.
While the typology of the building is specific to its surroundings, it was necessary to detail its appearance in a language that is commonly understood. Both the location and function of the two volumes are confirmed by the use of material. Caithness stone for the retaining wall and larch for the open plan main rooms. The height and hue of the horizontally laid courses correspond and merge both volumes into one building. The continuous horizontal plane of the polished concrete floor, acts to further blur the relationship between interior and exterior. As nature reclaims the site it is only the trampled grass of the path, that becomes domesticated in the landscape.
The geometry of the two volumes are not only offset in length but also in height. The voids created are fully glazed and the volumes and their location remain readable from the inside. They act as vistas, remaining open in the in-between and looking back on both the building and its setting. Additional light enters the dwelling at in its center, between the exposed rafters running the full length of the building.
Living is a decision that is also defined by the choice of place. This dwelling seeks an answer through the specific means of architecture of how the qualities that make a place can be distilled into built matter in our times. The idea of contradiction, as expressed in the elementary geometry of the building, is not only a reminder of the isolation and mystery of its location but also of the rarity of being able to live amongst the drama of the ever changing atmospheric conditions in this part of the world: the reason behind a client’s decision to purchase a plot in the first place. The dwelling can only provide the frame.
Photos: Andrew Lee
How much building is required to inhabit a place?
London-based interior design firm Casa Forma has just sent us images of their latest project, One Hyde Park, the most exclusive address in the world, located in Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom. Completed in December 2013, this stunning apartment reflects luxury, sophistication, and timeless interior design. The apartment is situated in a major residential and retail complex, with three retail units totaling 385,000 square feet and 86 residential properties. These hyper-luxury apartments range in price from around $4 million to $182 million USD.
When creating the interior design scheme for this 4,535 square foot apartment in One Hyde Park, Casa Forma’s focus was on practicality and functionality, whilst at the same time exuding the very best in bespoke luxury and elegance. The result is a sophisticated and timeless design, and a comfortable family home.
The immediate focus on entering the apartment is the long corridor leading to the main living space, with its magnificent views of Hyde Park itself.
Two features serve to particularly distinguish the corridor. Firstly, high-gloss sycamore panels add light and subtlety. And then, on the other side of the panel, an abstract map of the Hyde Park pathways – the bronze clasps and metalized panels and resin of which combine to create a subtle 3D effect.
The interior design of the main living space focuses on maximizing those incredible views of Hyde Park. Accents of beveled glass relief on mirrors framing all the joinery add an Art Deco touch to the room.
The modernist chandelier in the main living room is made from a collection of Brazilian rock crystals and bronze frame; the glow it emits visually increasing the ceiling height through its cut-outs. And at the entrance lobby, twin chandeliers designed with smoked quartz shards create a delicate quality of light, enhancing the ambiance of the space.
One of the four original bedrooms has been converted into a multi-function study room, which can also transform into a games room. The furniture is made from darkened solid Indian Rosewood in piano high gloss finish, and with the bespoke leather sofa able to convert into a large guest double-bed, this room can also easily be turned into a bedroom.
The introduction of a Swedish dry sauna in the en-suite bathroom linked to the study room was one of the most challenging aspects of this project. But thanks to Casa Forma’s strong architectural acumen, this small yet complex feature turned out to be an extremely successful addition to the property.
The powder room has been clad in silver & gold-leafed, treated with acid to create a tarnished effect for a more distressed and aged look.
In the dining room, the bronze profile and glass joinery is framed by a subtly backlit tortoise shell and tiger eye mosaic, while exquisitely
colored brown glass chandelier pendants hang over the dining table.
Photos: Courtesy of Casa Forma
House in Wimbledon is a remodel and extension of a semi-detached Victorian house that was the vision of Stephen Fletcher Architects, situated in Wimbledon, London, England. The clients approached the architects in 2010 with the brief, looking to build-on the Victorian period features wherever possible and decorate, fit-out and furnish the house in a ‘period’ style.
The front of the property has largely been restored to its original condition following the removal of an unsightly ground floor bay window addition. Lower ground floor extensions have been constructed to the rear and the side, the former in matching London stock bricks with ‘Sky Frame’ sliding French doors, and the latter discreetly located beneath the side passageway.
The ground floor of the property has been opened-up as far as possible so as to maximize the illusion of space and daylight. The two original reception rooms have been combined to form a single, grand drawing room with a central opening leading to the entrance hall.
Victorian-style plaster cornices and ceiling roses, painted timber sash windows with folding shutters, painted timber architraves and moulded skirtings, and a new limestone fire surround have been installed in keeping with the period of the house. The Dinesen douglas fir floorboards have been laid on piped underfloor heating.
The original staircase from the ground floor up to the second floor has been restored; the lower ground floor stair has been relocated towards the rear of the house so as to allow for a more efficient use of space at that level. Its balustrade and handrail match the original.
The lower ground floor of the house has witnessed the greatest transformation. A series of low-ceiling rooms were knocked-together, excavated by a couple of feet, and extensions constructed to the side and rear.
A large open-plan space has thus been created. The kitchen is located at one end, and overlooks an enlarged lightwell with a new stone stair accessing the front garden; the dining area is located in the center of the space.
A large central island unit with a slate counter houses contains many of the kitchen appliances and cupboard space, as well as a casual dining area. The oven range, additional cabinetry and open shelves are located along the party wall.
New ‘Sky Frame’ sliding French doors fill the entire rear elevation of the space and open onto a new terrace and steps. The connection with the rear garden has thereby been hugely improved. A pair of antique French window shutters were adapted to form double doors to a small children’s playroom.
This roof terrace incorporates a large section of ‘walk-on’ glazing, which admits plenty of daylight and sunlight to the area below.
A spacious master suite has been created by connecting the two principal first floor rooms via a new opening with folding doors. This view is looking from the dressing room, at the front of the house, towards the bedroom at the rear.
A freestanding zinc bath on slate tiling has been installed in front of the master dressing room window; the shower room is located off this area. A log-burning stove has been installed within the original firebox.
Photos: Courtesy of Stephen Fletcher Architects
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