Blog: Update from James Maxwell, Maxwell and Company Architects

Building work to convert Links House at Royal Dornoch is now well under way. The former manse which was built for the Free Church of Scotland minister in 1843 has been stripped back to enable the architects and builders to inspect the construction and to make fabric repairs.

The house appears to have had four periods of alterations in its 170 year life, originally starting out as an imposing rectangular stone structure of nine rooms built around a central staircase, successively more wings or outshots were added so that when Todd and Liz Warnock bought it in 2010 it had grown to 16 rooms.

During the first few months of building work we have stripped the roof and are now reslating it. We have constructed a new lantern at the centre above the stairs so that light will flood down into the hall. The external stonework has had the unsightly cement removed from it and it is now undergoing repointing work to restore it to its original condition. The front elevation is very interestingly detailed with dressed stone projections in the form of pilasters, string courses and a stone parapet. The work now being done will reveal this detail which has been lost for decades.

Internal structural work has been done to form the two major front rooms of the library and sitting room formed from four original rooms of study, dining room, sitting room and kitchen. The removal of internal walls has required the insertion of steelwork to support the upper floors. The new rooms will make an enormous improvement.

In the garden of the manse, major excavation has been happening so that the mews can be built. This will provide three fine spacious suites for guests as well as the manager’s flat and a full basement area for supporting functions such as laundry and cellarage. The mews is designed to be absolutely in keeping with the style and quality of the house. It will be finished in sandstone with details to resonate with those on the house frontage.

The basement has now been completed and the excavation backfilled. The ground floor has been constructed and this week will see the installation of the first floor floor slabs.

The contractor is on programme and now arranging for delivery of new stone for the facings.

Next time we report on progress, we will be telling you about the new dining room we are adding to the house in the form of an orangery and also about the building we are constructing especially for golfers.

James Maxwell
Maxwell and Company
Architects and Designers Ltd