H E Clifford, 1903. 2-storey, roughly U-plan gabled house with forecourt, decorative half-timbering, crenellated entrance bay, crenellated canted bay windows, small verandah to S, stone-mullioned windows, and plain bargeboards to gables. Bull-faced snecked red sandstone with ashlar dressings; some white-painted render to 1st floor. Flush long and short ashlar quoins; predominantly multi-light windows with chamfered openings.
N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: open courtyard enclosed by advanced gabled bays to E and W. Slightly advanced 2-storey, crenellated entrance 'tower' to right-hand re-entrant angle: timber panelled front door with oval light and depressed-arch, stop-chamfered architrave in recessed porch; stop-chamfered, pointed arch to porch with hoodmould; shouldered, diagonal buttress at ground to left; 9-light transomed and mullioned window to right; 2 tripartite mullioned windows at 1st floor. Irregular fenestration to left of entrance. Narrow gable to left of courtyard with gablehead stack corbelled out at 1st floor. Wide, half-timbered gable to right with projecting shouldered stack and 3-light canted oriel window at 1st floor; transomed, mullioned windows to left return.
W (GARDEN) ELEVATION: 4 bays. 2-storey, 7-light canted bay window to right with crenellated parapet; 2-storey 6-light canted bay window to right; half timbered gablehead above with swept eaves; irregular fenestration to centre with 3-light round-arched window at ground to left.
S (REAR GARDEN) ELEVATION: 5 bays. 2-storey, 6-light bay window with crenellated parapet to left; similar 7-light window to centre with slightly advanced chimney stack adjoining to right; small verandah between bay windows with bracketed red-tiled roof. Half-timbered gable with projecting chimney breast (stack missing) advanced to right. Fairly regular fenestration to left of gable.
N (SIDE) ELEVATION: irregularly fenestrated, half-timbered elevation with gabled dormer at 1st floor to left. Link-bay at ground to centre, connecting with gabled, 2-storey, rendered 1960s extension.
Predominantly sash and case windows with plate-glass to lower sashes and small-pane glazing to upper sashes; some casement windows; some leaded lights to entrance elevation. Corniced stacks, some set diagonally, with red clay cans. Bell-cast, red-tiled roof with red ridge tiles.
INTERIOR: inner and outer entrance halls divided by panelled, glazed screen: panelling to picture rail with decorative plaster diamond to freize; beamed ceiling. Fairly plain timber staircase rising from inner hall. Dining room with wainscot panelling, beamed ceiling and timber chimneypiece. Drawing room with timber chimney piece recessed in arched inglenook supported on Doric columns; coved ceiling; small stained glass window depicting a sailing ship. Large timber chimneypiece to former billiard room slightly recessed in arch supported on Doric columns; adjoining library with corner timber chimneypiece; some panelling to picture rail; some built-in bookshelves; beamed ceiling. Coved ceilings to principal W- and S-facing bedrooms. Inglenook fireplace to principal bedroom in SW corner of house with timber settee and built-in wardrobes and display cupboard; tiled chimney pieces and built-in cupboards to some other bedrooms.
FORMER LAUNDRY AND WASH HOUSE: to E of house. Parapet wall with ball finial to N elevation; doors and bipartite windows with chamfered margins to W; piended roof with central stack.
FORMER STABLE AND COACH HOUSE: L-plan. Advanced 2-storey gabled bay to S with multi-light strip-windows; single-storey, piend-roofed section to N with former hayloft entrance to attic. Red-tiled roof. Non-traditional uPVC windows.
Statement of Special Interest
One of the larger houses in Skelmorlie, situated in a wooded garden that forms an important setting to the house. Balvonie was designed by the architect Henry E Clifford for a family called Blyth. It is one of two houses that he built in Skelmorlie, the other being Croftmohr (listed at category B), which was built about a year later in a very similar Arts and Crafts / Tudor style. Clifford was an architect of some note, but his work is little known outside architectural circles, probably because his practice was largely domestic, and therefore not in the public eye. The detailing of Balvonie is skilfully handled, with alternating sections of half-timbering, painted render and plain sandstone balancing each other in a pleasing manner that quietly draws attention to the different parts of the building. Most of the original fixtures appear to have survived inside, including all the principal fireplaces, and many of the built-in wardrobes in the bedrooms. A particularly unusual feature is the arched ceilings in principal bedrooms. The gabled wing between the house and laundry was built in the 1960s. The white-rendered building at the foot of the drive contained stables, offices and the coachman's house. It was also designed by Clifford, and although it has been somewhat altered, was originally of a very good design and still retains vestiges of its former self.