Saturday, 14 November 2015

Technical Plans

You will undoubtedly be hugely relieved, as am I, to learn that this is the last batch of recently scanned-in castle restoration plans to be uploaded. I still have to do a final check to make sure there are no stragglers - fingers crossed. 

This time it's all the technical plans: roof repairs, services, insulation and floor detailing. Perhaps not as exciting as other types of plan but essential. Full resolution plans may be found on this link.

You will spot Council stamps on some of the plans, showing the hard earned granting of their official approval. The table of contents below gives a quick summary of the plans available on this blog entry.

drawing number
kitchen wing patch repairs to roof
5th august 2007
kitchen wing roof plan (proposed)
1st june 2008
kitchen wing proposed drainage plan
may 2013
kitchen wing heating and electrical
april 2013
kitchen wing section and floor details
may 1013
kitchen wing wall insulation details
may 2013
site plan (including levels and tank locations) proposed
26th november 2008
07-010-1 kitchen wing patch repairs to roof 5th august 2007

07-015-2 kitchen wing roof plan (proposed) 1st june 2008 stamped

07-018-3 kitchen wing proposed drainage plan may 2013
07-019-4 kitchen wing heating and electrical april 2013

07-020-2 kitchen wing section and floor details may 1013 stamped

07-021-1 kitchen wing wall insulation details may 2013 stamped

07-022-2 site plan (including levels and tank locations) proposed 26th november 2008 stamped

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Replacement Door and Window Designs

Getting yet more of the newly digitised plans online ....

One of the biggest expenses in restoring Balintore Castle, by far, is having replacement windows and doors made. Where the window or door is missing or totally rotten, a new one has to be made. However, we have done our best to incorporate surviving fabric.

The good news is that there are very few window and door types at Balintore, and they are generally done to an even smaller set of patterns just at different scales. There are enough surviving examples to know exactly what all windows were like: absolutely no guesswork is involved. 

The plans below are replacement door and window designs for the kitchen wing. Some of these have already been made and installed; some have yet to be commissioned. d29 and w27 are the only items differing from the originals: w27 is a new-design window in a door opening; d29 is single panelled door, matching an existing door, with a glazed opening that replaces a stable door. The locations of these are shown in this plan.

The biggest window challenge is restoring the cathedral-like perpendicular style gothic windows in the grand saloon, but permit me the luxury of not fretting about this for now. :-) The current focus is getting the rather more manageable windows on the servant's bedroom floor reinstated. Windows are surprisingly one of the most transformative things in restoration, they bring in light, warmth and joy and create the interior space. Full high resolution versions of the plans can be found here.

07-011-A-2 kitchen wing replacement sash window (w24) 23rd november 2007
07-011-B-1 kitchen wing replacement window types 22rd august 2008

07-011-C-1 kitchen wing new sash window (w27) 11th september 2008
07-013-A-1 kitchen wing replacement internal panelled doors 23rd november 2007

07-013-B-1 kitchen wing replacement boarded door (d28) 11th september 2008

07-013-C-1 kitchen wing replacement hopper type boarded door (d29) 11th september 2008

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Balintore Castle Watercolour Dated 1864

I was wildly delighted to receive this image by email today from my architect Dr. Paul Bradley, who has recently purchased the original watercolour.

I did not know such a picture existed, but to me it tells a number of stories. 

The picture was painted just 4 years after construction of the castle, so it must be associated somehow with the original owner David Lyon and it is very much the castle, in newly constructed pride, saying "look at me". It looks to be painted by a talented amateur rather than a professional artist, so I would guess the artist was a member of the shooting party shown. Sketching and painting were very much the hobbies of the day.

There are 4 ladies and 3 gentlemen in the scene, so I am guessing the artist is the missing 4th gentleman. Gentlemen and ladies paint architecture in different ways, and this has a male cast. It is likely that his lady friend is the figure in the foreground writing or sketching - a shared common interest no doubt. Does the lady have a small easel at her feet? 

The vegetation is almost non-existent in the image: the castle's terrace was leveled in 1860  so there has only been 4 years growing time. Today, there are tall trees to the right and huge yews to the left. I always thought it would be a shame if any of the trees died, but the terrace without the trees has a exposed raw beauty of its own.

There is a balustraded stone wall to the rear of the picture. I never knew such a wall existed, but it could, if not artistic licence, explain a long-standing mystery. The earliest photo of the castle (c 1860) shows no balustrading on the inner courtyard wall on the left hand side of this image. It is not shown here, in 1864, either. However, a photograph of 1923 shows the courtyard wall to be balustraded. I am now wondering if the balustrading was moved during the history of the castle? Perhaps the garden wall got damaged in some way, so the balustrading was consolidated on the shorter run of the courtyard wall?

I was told about a cannon in front of the castle, in living memory, I would guess the 1950's. There is a cannon in this picture, so could it be the one and the same? I had no idea this feature could have gone right back to the earliest days of the castle.

The figures are depicted in a way that seems more 18th Century or even 17th Century - no doubt the old-world romance of the Highlands, as penned by Sir Walter Scott, is the aim!

What could the red flag be? Surely it must be an artistic confection, as I cannot think of any relevant flags that would fit. The artist has picked out the red hem of his lady friend's dress and hem of the dress of the lady on the pony riding side-saddle, suggesting he was using his red brush as embellishment.

The mist lying in the valley below is one of my favourite looks too.

The castle's spelling is old form "Balentore" as seen on the original architectural plans, rather then the current "Balintore". I wondered whether the plans' spelling was an aberration or mistake, but the evidence here now suggests this was the received spelling in the 1860's.

Hope you enjoyed my Sherlock Holmes dissection of the picture. 

1864 Watercolour of Balintore Castle

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Visualisations of Proposed Kitchen Wing

A further series of belated digital scans... 

After making Balintore Castle weatherproof, the plan was to make the kitchen wing habitable. This is a clear no-brainer. The kitchen wing is in relatively better condition than the rest of the castle. Being single-storied (with part basement) and smaller in scale, the complete restoration to comfortable dwelling should in theory be quite achievable. Practice, of course, is something else. Getting planning permission for this took 7 years, only finally coming through in 2014. 

You can imagine my despair during this period! The worse part was being in the castle in the middle of two of the coldest winters on record, unable to do anything to keep the heat from escaping out of the building. I am more than familiar with the onset of hypothermia. The only solution is to get into bed with an electric blanket under three duvets, no matter the time of day or night. This was the only way of keeping any heat around one's body. I have a huge wood-burner which under normal domestic circumstances would be more than enough to heat a very large room.

The irony is that I want to keep the building as close as possible to its Victorian state i.e. there is absolutely nothing contentious in the plans. 

The first image shows the floor plan, and how the service rooms have been converted into domestic accommodation. The meat larder becomes a bathroom; the dairy larder becomes a utility room, you get the idea.

As far as the external appearance is concerned this will hardly change - see the second image. One door opening will become a window (matching the others), and a stable door (now missing) will become a single panel door.

The interesting action takes place with the internal courtyard. The covered walkway will be glazed in - see the third image. This allows two service rooms to be brought into the body of the accommodation. One of these will be the second of two bedrooms. Even though the kitchen is spectacularly large, the kitchen wing still only forms a two bedroom dwelling, so it was important to reclaim that second bedroom.

The fourth image shows the interior of the kitchen and some proposed kitchen units. As we all know, the Victorians did not have kitchen units, but my architect has done a good job in designing something that is practical and somehow "period-credible". Is that a thing?

Anyhow, the full resolution scans can be found on this link. The images below are limited in size by Google!

1. proposed floor plan for kitchen wing

2. proposed north and  east elevations

proposed courtyard with glazed walkway

proposed kitchen interior

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Castle Survey 2007

One of the obligations when I bought Balintore Castle in 2007 was to provide Angus Council with a survey of the castle at time of purchase. The resulting plans, photographic survey and inventory constitute a historic "snap-shot" of the building pre-restoration. Many thanks to Dr. Paul Bradley for his artful and accurate draftsmanship. He even recorded the holes in the floors and the vegetation on the building. 

However, I have only just managed to digitally scan-in the plans and thought this blog would be the best place to make these publically available. I needed some window plans scanned-in for email communication,  and thought it was about time to get the lot done.

Below the survey's floor-by-floor plans are presented in bottom to top order, and then the elevations are presented in anti-clockwise order starting from the west entrance fa├žade. The images in this blog are limited by Google to be around 1k x 1k resolution, however you can access the original 8k x 8k scans on this link for the high resolution versions.