Style of Robert Burn, Edinburgh. 1805, NW wing and front porch, W L Carruthers, Inverness, c. 1890. S facing symmetrical 2-storey and attic mansion over raised basement with rear courtyard flanked by single storey wings projecting at right angles and with set-back 2-storey 4-bay later addition at NW. Wide Adamesque 3-bay frontage with 3-bay return elevations, each with shallow bowed 3-window bays flanking frontage and rising full height. Tooled grey granite ashlar frontage and dressings; pinned rubble flanks and rear; rubble basement, rendered and lined.
Centre door masked by circa 1890 glazed timber porch with crest in semi-circular pediment, reached by splayed flight of steps oversailing raised basement.
Centre bay delineated by giant pilasters rising from moulded red sandstone plinths and with similar Ionic capitals, unusually no entablature but plain blocks returning under cornice.
Entrance flanked by simple Venetian window either side set in arched panel; tripartites in 1st floor; ground and 1st floor cill bands encircle building; piended dormers. Moulded eaves cornice; crenellated wallhead with small angle dummy bartizans; piended platform slate roof with 4 symmetrical corniced stacks. 5-bay rear elevation with some altered fenestration.
C. 1890 2-storey wing set back at NW with regular 4-bay fenestration and shaped front centre wallhead stack; centre rear gable with apex stack; piended slate roof. Sash windows with multi-pane glazing to mansion; 2-pane to NW wing.
Rear court flanked by single storey wings with some modern fenestration (E) and altered to stores and garages (W) and closed at N with low wall, centre entrance flanked by square tooled ashlar gate piers. Centre well in courtyard with ornamental stone cover raised on columns.
Interior; wide entrance hall with coffered vaulted ceiling with central pendant; oval detailing to reeded and panelled dado and panelled doors. Similar detailing to window shutters in drawing room (SE) with beaded panelled dado and fine mahogany door (re-used from elsewhere) with decorative beading. Carved wood chimneypiece (also re-used from elsewhere).
SW room (former dining room) reeded and panelled dado, panelled window shutters; inlaid serving table/buffet recess flanked by engaged Corinthian columns. Mahogany door as drawing room; decortive plaster ceiling friezes to both public rooms. 2 4-centred arhces supported by fluted Corinthian columns and outer pilasters screen stairwell; ornate cast-iron balusters to staircase with polished wooden handrail.
Decorative chimneypieces (including inlaid marble piece with basket grate in 1st floor bedroom) elsewhere; panelled window shutters both ground and 1st floors.
NW wing houses former billiard room, now dining room.
Statement of Special Interest
Built by Cluny MacPherson (MacPherson of Cluny) to replace castle destroyed by fire in 1746. Cluny MacPerson having supported Prince Charles Edward. Andrew Carnegie leased house before purchasing Skibo Castle Sutherland.
Present drawing room chimney-piece and hearth replaces former marble chimney-piece and basket grate. NW wing not on 1st ed. OS, 1870.
Sophisticated joinery in panelling, doors and shutters probably executed by Aberdeenshire joiners, detailing and decoration being characteristic of their work.