Probably Charles Sim (see Notes), dated 1821, with remains of earlier (possibly 16th century) house to rear, late 19th century extension beyond. 2-storey, 5-bay, classically-detailed mansion house with Doric-columned doorpiece and piend and platform roof. Squared and snecked dark whinstone rubble with contrasting polished and droved ashlar dressings. Deep base course, cavetto eaves cornice and blocking course. Architraved window surround; some Tudor hoodmoulds.
S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: slightly advanced centre bay with steps, flanking channelled balustrades and ball-finialled terminals (later additions possibly replacing railings) leading doorpiece with moulded frieze, cornice and blocking course, and 2-leaf boarded timber door with sunburst fanlight; architraved window above giving way to pediment with dated oval panel in tympanum. Flanking bays with window to each floor and broad advanced outer bays with splayed window to each floor, those to ground hoodmoulded.
W ELEVATION: 3 windows to each floor grouped toward left, that to outer left at door/window with decorative cast-iron steps and handrails; lower blank bay to outer left.
E ELEVATION: 3-bay elevation as above on upper storey, 3 windows on ground floor, centre window as (blind) blank to kitchens with lower 2-storey wing projecting at outer right.
N ELEVATION: window to each floor in bay to right of centre with asymmetrical fenestration to lower 2-storey wing projecting to left (probably original building) and single storey wing to right. Narrow courtyard to rear with further 2-storey ranges of largely unaltered late 19th century offices beyond, with variety of elements including small square timber (link?) tower with pyramidal roof.
4- and 12-pane glazing patterns in timber sash and case windows. Grey slates. Solar panel. 4 sets of 4 symmetrically disposed octagonal stacks with cans to main building, square and rectangular stacks with cans to rear.
INTERIOR: fine decorative details in place. Plain and decoratively-moulded plasterwork cornices; panelled timber shutters with mouldings of neo-perpendicular tracery; doors now flush, reeded architraves. Entrance hall through arched recess to large stairhall with cantilevered U-plan stair with decorative cast-iron balusters and margined multi-paned leaded stair window with stained glass armorial panel 'NUNQUAM NON PARATUS', 1st floor landing also cantilevered with arches to symmetrically planned corridors. Small sitting room to W with gothic-detailed chimneypiece of green Tilt marble; large drawing room beyond, N end screened by wide semi-elliptical arch and fine Ionic-columned Carrara marble chimneypiece with central panel of female figure on cornucopia and side panels of tambourine and lyre players, all in shallow relief, grate of superb quality, cast-iron with fluted Ionic columns and other decorative brass mountings (see Notes). Small library to E with single wall of reeded bookcases and grey marble Doric-columned fireplace, kitchen (former dining room) beyond with black marble (see Notes) Doric-columned fireplace. Small room behind, previously Schoolroom, now Dining room, with simple timber chimney-piece and single window opposite. 1st floor woodwork lighter, principal bedroom over drawing room with reeded chimneypiece.
GARDEN WALL: fine flat-coped, narrow-bonded rubble garden wall to W extending approximately 40 yards (36m) in length.
BOUNDARY WALLS, GATEPIERS AND GATES: coped boundary walls and square-section gatepiers with wheatsheaf finials (modern), ironwork gates and flanking quadrant walls.
Statement of Special Interest
Design accredited to Charles Sim, member of an architectural family active in the Atholl and Strathore districts during the first half of the 19th century, through a chance reference in minutes of Heritors of Blair Atholl and Struan (for whom he designed Struan Church in 1827). Further confirmation comes from sister house at Auchleeks, Glen Errochty with much detail the same, as is the plan except that the dining and drawing room flues are on the gables. The Stewarts of Balnakeilly, descendants of the Wolf of Badenoch, came from Foss in 1560, and remain in residence today (2000) with Colonel Stewart-Wilson the eleventh laird. The lands of Balnakeilly were handed to the Stewarts when the dissolution of the monasteries took place, this land formerly belonging to Dunfermline Abbey. The old house burned down soon after 1800, though some original fabric probably remains at the back of the 1821 house. In 1982/83 and 1997 extensive renovations and work to eradicate dry-rot were carried out. The kitchen fireplace, of stone (not strictly marble) imported from the Black Forest contains some beautiful fossils and a fireplace of the same material exists at nearby Baledmund as does a similar (but plainer) version of the brass fire surround in the principal room. The standing stone at the bottom of the drive does not appear on an 1807 plan of Balnakeilly by Alexander Stewart, and was thus probably imported later in the century. The fine garden is landscaped with views over the Tummel Valley.