A Jewel in the Highlands

JCA Team:
Michael Clark
Project Design Team:
Ward Denton (Interior Design)
Project type:
Repair, conservation and rebuilding
Scottish Highlands
Project year: 2000

Queen Victoria referred to the Estate as 'The Jewel of the Highlands'.

She may well have been shocked by what it had become by the time it came into our clients' hands.

Much of the main house had been demolished - reducing it to a rather charmless building, a collection of run-down cottages and a concrete steading.

Disappointing was an understatement.

Our client, an enthusastic anglophile had always wanted a Scottish Estate. He was won over by the undoubted magnificence of the location and the estate's 7,000 acres. He even saw potential in the house.

Some dreaded 'modernisation' had occurred. Windows and walls had been ripped apart to create picture windows, outbuildings had been clad in fake stone and virtually all character had been lost.

It was no longer the baronial mansion it had been in its heyday.

We set about righting a wrong.

Thankfully we discovered that the origional stone from the demolished sections had been dumped in the lake. This we dredged and used what we could for seamless repairs, fireplaces and to turn inappropriate modern picture windows into something more picturesque and in keeping with the façade.

Enough stone remained to turn a non-descript roofline into a Scottish tour-de-force with a tower and a turret.

The kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, drawing room and ancilliary accomodation were all given the complete JCA treatment, bringing them up to 21st century creature comforts.

The work carried on outside with new garages, retaining garden walls and stone driveways as well as major repairs and rebuilding to the estate's cottages.

The problem of the concrete steading was solved with timber cladding and a once grim building, bacame a rather lovely ione.

Perhaps it was time to invite Queen Victoria back.