Dunottar, Kilmacolm

M183 Dunottar, Kilmacolm

Address: Bridge of Weir Road, Kilmacolm PA13 4NU
Date: 1900–1
Client: Bernard Doulton
Authorship: Authorship category 4 (Office) (Office)

Colour photograph of former verandah of house for Bernard Doulton


The house stands on a corner site, but is set well back from the road. The handling of the exterior is restrained: the ashlar dressings and ground-floor sill band are perfectly smooth and flush with the roughcast, and the only decorative mouldings are those on the round-arched front entrance with its raised voussoirs (this recalls the 17th-century archway adjoining the main entrance to Ferniehirst Castle, Roxburghshire). 1 The windows are mostly sashes, including the large ones lighting the stairs, which are set behind the stone mullions and transoms of the opening.

Colour photograph of S. front of house for Bernard DoultonColour photograph of S. E. view of house for Bernard DoultonColour photograph of front door of house for Bernard Doulton


The front door leads via an internal porch to a large, panelled hall with exposed beams. It has a deep, square alcove tucked in beside the porch, echoing the plans of other houses of around the same date by John Honeyman & Keppie, such as Redlands at Bridge of Weir and Ferndean at Barrhead. All the ground-floor rooms, and the surprisingly narrow stairs, open directly off the hall. The largest is the drawing room, a single-storey wing with an open timber roof, almost identical to that at Redlands.

Colour photograph of drawing room roof at house for Bernard Doulton

The only surviving original fireplace is in the hall. Its sandstone surround has flanking octagonal columns with big square caps, and a small carving of stylised leaf shapes in the centre. This Glasgow Style detail is echoed in the heart motifs of the beaten copper insert and fender, and in the stained glass roses on either side of the front door.

Colour photograph of hall fireplace at house for Bernard DoultonColour photograph of hall fireplace detail at house for Bernard DoultonColour photograph of stained glass at house for Bernard Doulton

The staircase handrail is at hand-level on the landing and remains horizontal as the dog-leg stair descends, so the square balusters form a screen between the two flights, ending with a square, tapering newel post on the half-landing. This screen-like treatment has parallels in Mackintosh's work – for instance in the Janitor's House at Scotland Street Public School and the S.W. gallery stairs at Queen's Cross Church. The plainness of the staircase has more in common with the simple built-in cupboards of the pantry than with the more typical late Victorian joinery in the public rooms of the house.

Colour photograph of staircase balustrade at house for Bernard Doulton


There are some significant differences between the plans submitted to the local authority for approval and the house as built. On the plans, the single-storey drawing room has a S.W.-facing canted bay window and a S.E.-facing verandah. In the building, however, the bay window faces S.E. The S.W. part of the room, with its flat roof and deep eaves on timber corbels, was originally an open veranda. 2 It has been enclosed and made part of the room. The conservatory supplied by James Boyd & Sons has been removed. It was on the N.E. side of the drawing room, where the door that led to it survives. 3

A photograph published in March 1982 shows the coped gables which formed part of the original design. 4 They were subsequently reduced in height and the roof given projecting eaves, significantly altering the overall appearance. A range of garages immediately N.W. of the house designed by Crawford & Neil of Greenock was given planning approval in 1989, and a large rear extension by Keppie Design Ltd was added to the former service wing in 2000. 5

Colour photograph of former verandah of house for Bernard Doulton



1: David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Century, 5 vols, Edinburgh: D. Douglas, 1887–92, 2, p. 158.

2: O.S. map of Renfrewshire (1913), sheet 7.5.

3: O.S. map of Renfrewshire (1913), sheet 7.5.

4: Greenock Telegraph, 30 March 1982, p. 8.

5: Information from owner, 2011.