The Castle Style and Interiors
What is striking about the interior of an Adam house designed in the Castle
Style, is that the interior design allows no reference to be made to the
architectural language of the exterior of the building at all. The interiors are
entirely in Adam's classical style and if any castle style elements are brought
through to the interior or might be visible internally, such as cross shaped
arrow-slit windows, these are either disguised or hidden in subsidiary room such
as cupboards or toilets.
By maintaining this separation of styles Adam prevents the
rusticity of the Castle.
The majority of the chimney pieces in the house are likely to be in marble.
Several have been overpainted with white paint, or had tile surrounds added, or
been otherwise misused. The chimney piece designs, as with those for Dalquharran
Castle, are quite simple compared to many that Adam designed for grander houses.
They are none-the-less very elegant. Generally the more "public" the room the
grander the chimney piece.
The plan at this level is basically divided into four areas,
the entrance hall, dining room, drawing room and a bedroom with associated
dressing rooms for guests. From the entrance hall, doors open into each of the
other spaces and a staircase leads up to the apartments above.
The dining room occupies the central space on the North side.
The North End of this room is within the half cylinder drum that dominates the
design of the facade externally on this side of the house. This cylindrical form
extends the room and allows additional windows to be added, oriented NW and NE
and therefore picking up sunrise and sunset in summer in Scotland.
The design of the drawing room is perhaps the most
interesting feature of the plan at this level. There are two entrances to this
room, from the hall and from the dining room. Both take you through a curved
tunnel-like arrangement of double door and lobby. The North and South ends of
the Drawing Room are apsidal. There are doors to the circular spaces at the base
of the circular turrets.
The House. Detail of Plan. On the South side
is the entrance courtyard. A single storey corridor leads from both the East
wing and West wing into the entrance hall of the main house. The corridors are
curved mirroring the curved loggia on the South side of the Entrance Courtyard.
Ground Floor Plan
Curved Service Corridor. This is a view looking East
of the curved corridor linking the West service wing to the entrance hall. On
the left is a door opening into the North garden. The sash window on the right
looks into the entrance court, and externally sits in the recessed arch of a
Entrance Hall. This room is noted on the plan as being
20 ft square. The floor is stone flags. The door and door screen design are
certainly original, the ceiling rose may be a later addition in the Adam style.
The cornice is an alternating motif of ox skull with an oval geometric shape
Front Entrance Door and Fanlight. The delicacy and
exuberance of the fanlight design contrasts wonderfully with the simple geometry
of the glazed element of the inner front entrance door. There also a solid
panelled outer door for security. The inner door is pulled into the hall to
create a deeper lobby
Dining Room. This room and the library above are on
the North side of the house, and get little sun. In this respect the projection
of the room into the half-cylinder drum on the North side helps because ot
allows windows on either side oreinted NW and NE to get morning and evening sun
in the summer. The rooms also take the greatest advantage possible of the views
to the North, across the Firth of Forth.
Dining Room Windows. The cornice in this room is
deeper and far more ornate than in the library above. It is very unlikely that
the heavy curtain rail is a feature that Adam would have approved of . It
obscures the interesting detail where the heavily moulded frame, that extends
around the edge of the window reveal and arch of the window head, cuts into the
line of the cornice.
Dining Room Chimney Piece. Given the precept that the
more public the room he more ornate the chimney piece, it it strange that the
dining room chimney piec is less ornate than the drawing room next door.
Presumably the focus of the room in the drawing room in use was thought to be
the table, while in the drawing room, a formal reception room, it was the
Drawing Room. View of South end of room. Both ends of
the room have this apse arrangement. The door on the left leads into the
entrance hall, the middle door opens into the bottom of a circular turret, shown
on the original plan as a WC. The corresponding room in the turret at the North
end of the room is a store. Both these rooms have narrow loophole or
Drawing Room. This window looks West from the Drawing
Room. A common detail for Scottish sash windows is for the inner reveals of the
window to splay. With a Venetian window this is not possible. Here the reveals
are kept perpendicular to the line of the wall, the reveal expresses the wall
Drawing Room Chimney Piece. The mantlepiece forms the
cornice element of a mock "entablature" that forms the top part of the Carrara
marble chimney piece. The entablature turns out at the point of support of the
paired scroll brackets. The raised oval panel has a carving of a stag in a
wreath of holly.
Ground Floor Bedroom. This bedroom, on the ground
floor, was originally probably designed and intended for guests to stay over.
Since Robert Adam dined at the house when he visited he may well have stayed in
this room himself. In its current poor state of repair and without furniture it
looks uninviting but would not originally have been so
Ground Floor Bedroom Chimney Piece. A simple mantle is
supported on beautifully carved brackets. There is a carving in relief of a
thistle within a tondo, the circular frame of which is cleverly formed from the
same profile as the moulding used to frame the fireplace opening. The Fireplace
has been boarded over, but the base of an elaborate cast iron grate can be seen.
First Floor Plan
The stair landing is treated as a living room in its
own right and designed with its own fireplace. This room is on the South side of
the house, overlooking the courtyard, and would have been a very pleasant family
area getting a lot of sun.
Centrally on the North side is the library, over the dining room on the
floor below. This is within the half cylinder drum on the North elevation. The
projection of these rooms into the half cylinder allowed additional windows to
be located facing North West and North East, allowing views of the sunrise and
sunset and at little sun into these rooms on the North side of the building.
On the East and West sides at this level are the bedroom suites.
From the landing, doors open into each of the other spaces and the staircase
leads up to further apartments above.
Landing Sitting Room. This space is open to
the stairwell and in effect is an enlarged stair landing. Keeping the space open
has several advantages. This room recieves a lot of sun through the South facing
Venetian window which lights the stair well at this floor level. Open like this,
it would also be important to the family life within the house. It is a
comfortable space, visible from all part sof the house, that everyone must pass
Landing Sitting Room Area. Venetian Window
This window is an important feature in the composition of the South facade of
the house. Unlike the Venetian windows in the East and West sides all three
components of the window have arched heads. The window overlooks the courtyard,
and it would be from here that a eye could be kept on who was arriving and
leaving. South facing this window provide a lot of light and sun into the heart
of the house.
Landing Sitting Room Area. Chimeny Piece.
Being open to the stairwell this space must have be cold in winter. The open
fireplace would have made it more comfortable. The chimney piece is probably
marble under the coat of white paint. The blue tiles are not original. The
chimney piece has an attractive frieze featuring swags with alternating foliage
and rosette motif. The mouldings are heavily carved, but this is a less formal
Cross Arrow Slit window. This window is
important to the composition of the facade externally, being positioned at 1st
floor level on the face of the square turret on either side of the entrance. The
window is hidden from the inside of the house by being in a cupboard. Adam
seemed very averse to mixing the language of the Castle Style with the classical
The window does have sashes in the vertical section...even
though they are very narrow.
Landing Sitting Room. View looking West The
door on the far right opens into a cupboard (Fig 6) holding the dumb waiter.
Between the parts of the tripartite arched windows there are framed panels which
look as if they are part of the original window design. These may be to visually
contain the individual windows and help them read as one tripartite window from
the inside. The ceiling decoration does not look original.
Cupboard with Dumb Waiter.
The square turret that this cupboard is in at ground floor level is over the
junction of the curved corrisdor to the kitchens and service wing to the house.
This is therefore the ideal position for the dumb waiter to be located. Food or
beverages being sent from the kitchen to the upper floors could be quickly
delivered using this mechanism, as well as linen, laundry etc.
Library. The construction of a Venetian
window in a curved wall - part of the half cylinder drum projection on the North
side of the building - is complex. The reveals of these windows do not relate to
the curve of the wall, but run directly North South, cutting through the curved
wall as it it were flat. The side windows therefore have deeper reveals than the
centre window. The window reveals also do not splay internally as is common in
Scottish sash windows.
Library Windows. The depth of the window reveal is given
visual interest by the shadow lines created by the coffered panelling. In both
the center arched window and the windows on either side, these panels are hinged
to form the window shutters. The arched part of the centre window has no
shutters, and the surface of the reveal of the arch is smooth plaster.
Compared to the dining room the cornice in this room is very simple.
Library Chimney Piece. Like the
chimney piece in the dining room on the floor below, the
chimney piece. here is almost certainly marble below the white paint
finish. In this case Adam has designed mantlepiece support brackets into the
"entablature" section directly. The brackets are heavily carved, as are the
edges of the mantlepiece, the decoration being of a repeating leaf pattern. The
panel in the centre of the frieze contains a raised oval relief carving with
crossed foliage behind.
Stairwell. This view of stair from the Living
room landing shows how this room is visible from the upper floors.
The cast iron balustrades to these stairs seem quite heavy in
comparison to others designed by Adam.
Stairwell. View of stairwell with its
flattened barrel vault ceiling and centrally positioned roof light over. On the
right the Doric screen provides a spatial division between the stair and lesser
rooms and the main bedroom suite with its wide landing at the top of the
house.The left hand landing which gives access to rooms on the South side of the
house is much narrower .
Stairwell. The design of the balustrades
consists of an upper and lower band of flattened hexagonal shapes, with a
central band of large circles filled with a radial floral pattern and connected
together by smaller circular elements. The design is not particualrly inspired,
and has nothing like the lightness of touch of the font entrance door and
Second Floor Plan
The ceiling over the stairwell is designed as a shallow
vault. Positioned centrally over the stairwell is a rooflight. A landing extends
around three sides of the stairwell.
On the North side the space is separated and differentiated
by a classical screen consisting of two Doric columns supporting an entablaure.
A downstand in the ceiling vault over this entablature forms a flattened arched
opening over the screen entablature. This architectural "device" is used to
provide spatial differentiation between the lesser space (the stairwell and
South landing and subordinate rooms, and the North side landing and bedroom
suite opening off this. Within the hierarchy set up by this spatial division,
the principal room is in the centre, occupying the space over the library on the
first floor and dining room on the ground floor. In a sense the progression of
spaces through the house can be said to culminate in the rooms beyond the
screen, even though they are in classical terms attic rooms and normally of less
The stairwell is is open and this provides dramatic views
down into the first floor living room.
Second Floor Stairwell. View looking East. This
ceiling is a shallow vault spanning East West, into which a skylight has been
cut. The circulation space is divided by a classical Screen with a pair of Doric
columns. This view is taken from the West end from the landing at the top of the
stairwell, looking East. The landing runs around three sides of the space
provding access to all the room at this level
Stairwell Screen. View taken from the North East
corner looking South West. The screen which divides the landing spatially, sets
up "lesser" and "greater" spaces. The opening between the second column in this
view and the wall beyond, is the entry to this more important space, the landing
outside the three bedrooms on the North side. It is a very elegant arrangement.
Barrel Vault Ceiling and Classical Screen. The
entablature supported by two Doric columns has counterpart in the dropped
portion of the barrel vault ceiling immediately over. TYhree bedrooms open off
the North Side, the open door leads into the main central bedroom which is
located over the library on the floor below part of which is within the
semicircular drum fn the North elevation.
Stairwell. The open stairwell provides dramatic views
down to the open living room at First Floor level. This is a immensely sociable
arrangement, with this space providing an informal intimate space that is
visible from all the non-public parts of the house. One can imagine that this
lower sitting room area would become to be the most important space in the day
to day life in the house.
Centre Bedroom Window. The size (height) of the windows diminishes at
each subsequent floor level. The corresponding window to this at the ground and
first floor is part of a tripartite Venetian Window in the Dining Room and
Library respectively. At this upper level Adam has only allowed a single window
in the elevation, but has included blank recesses externally coresponding to the
side windows of the floors below.