Finalised Draft of Our Plans for Dunans Castle: Elevated highlights!

We have just posted the full pdf of the draft plans into our archive on the Dunans Rising App, as well as the Lairds and Ladies website. We’re delighted with the results and wanted to share three screen grabs of the highlights …

The first is the plan for the first storey:


This is an important evolution because the exit at the back of the building allows us to use both the first and ground floors each for 100 guests. This capacity is critical in making the building sustainable.

The fire escape creates what we think is a really interesting intervention in the rear elevation of the castle – particularly so because the spiral stair will mirror the internal one.


Without the stair, in its original format, the building is only prevented from seeming weighted to the lefthand side by the wonderful Russian Vine which masks the effect. With the escape we think the elevation now looks much more ‘grounded’. And of course the balustrade on the platform will mirror the one on the roof!

The roof itself, provides the third grab and one of the most delicious prospects in the revitalised castle – a roof terrace. finalroof

One of the disadvantages of living in Scotland during the winter is the lack of light. Dawn can be as late as 9am and dusk as early as 3.30pm. A roof terrace coupled with the cupola, sending light deep into the building’s interior will create a winter-proof building which will be a delight to use.

These plans provide for three self-catering apartments accommodating up to 14 and two floors of event space which in turn means that the building will be sustainable far into the future.

Obviously these are draft plans, and subject to all the usual reservations about things changing, but they provide us with two things: a concrete costing to base our projects on with regard to finance and funding; and a definite vision of how this building will be used – a vision we think will be realised in shorter order than we thought even 6 months ago!


Original Plans of Dunans Castle: Or at least how we think the house was laid out …

When we purchased Dunans in 2003 we did not receive any of the historic documentation. While the Fletchers hand the paperwork on in good faith, the subsequent owner did not pass the plans on. It is a great pity, because without those plans and specifications we are unable to say that the work that Robin Kent, our architect, has put into creating these drafts has resulted in an entirely accurate rendition.

Certainly what we have here reflects our knowledge – won from the building over the years of clearance and renovation – but whether the family originally intended this layout is a moot point. There are a couple of revisions we have already noted given some of the clearance we have achieved, but it does seem an entirely selfish act on the part of the ex-owner to withhold these papers, unless of course they lost the archive entirely …

What these plans also show is how little service room the house originally had, and how essential the Dunans Steadings must have been to the household economy.


The plans above clearly show the way that the old house was used to service the main block, and also how reception rooms were located on the first storey, with Dining, the smoking room and all things “sporting” occurring on the ground floor.

With 3 attic bedrooms in the old house, as well as a further 4 beds in the top of the castle, the plans clearly indicate staffing levels for the entire establishment.

Making progress at #DunansCastle with our architect, surveyor and H&S consultant

bridgesketchMuch discussion over the next stage of the work pending the consultation responses from Historic Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council, the Community Council, Development Trust and of course our Lairds and Ladies. During the afternoon we discussed the possible reasons for the round tops to the eight stanchions on the bridge (which you see in every photo of the structure). Robin, our architect, and author of the Conservation Plan (available here) thinks that they might have been designed to have obelisks or turrets atop. He made this quick, very rough sketch to outline the idea and I had to share it with you. Of course the reality is that it is unlikely they were ever built, and if they were they were taken down for good reason. More research may reveal the real intent.

After 5 hours of working through our plans we called it a day, or at least that was the intention – instead, Sadie launched into TWTC work and I, for my sins, went off for a three hour meeting with the Development Trust. It really doesn’t stop!