Prestige property: Beauty all around in cylindrical style
The White House is a remarkable home, in one of the finest positions in the south of Scotland.
It is set directly on the shoreline of Kirkcudbright Bay with jaw-dropping views over the sea, and on a clear day you can see as far as the Isle of Man.
Owner Lesley Smith says that she and her late husband, Mike, both university lecturers, fell in love with the area when they were living in Northern Ireland.
She recalls: “We often travelled back and forth along the road from the ferry at Stranraer. Exploring further, we realised it would be a good area to build the house we had always dreamed of.”
They eventually found the perfect location at Mutehill, two miles outside Kirkcudbright. She explains: “It is an incredible site. There was an old sawmill here so buildings did exist, which was crucial to being able to build.”
Mike was working in Glasgow by that time and went to see architects PagePark in his lunch hour, telling them: “I have a beautiful site which needs a beautiful building.”
Lesley says: “We then visited the site with the architects and thought about what sort of buildings you get on a promontory – lighthouses, towers and other sorts of round buildings.”
This prompted a discussion about a famous house in Moscow which Lesley and Mike had visited years before. The Melnikov House was built by the avant-garde Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov and his design was formed by the interlocking of two cylinders.
Their architect was also a fan, and the first concept of The White House, according to Lesley, was settled there and then. She says: “Very little changed from that first discussion to the completion of the house in 2010.”
In the case of The White House, there are two main cylinders and a third connected smaller one. Inside the house, there are no right angles or straight lines but gently curving walls. The accommodation is upside down, with the bedrooms on the ground floor and the living area upstairs, to make the most of the views.
The first floor is dominated by a huge window running along the front. The kitchen, dining room and sitting room are divided by curved walls so are open-plan to retain the flow of the 63sq ft space, but slightly tucked away from each other.
The third tower houses a circular library lined with bookcases from floor to ceiling.
On the ground floor, the highlight is the master bedroom, which not only has both an ensuite bathroom and separate shower room, but two dressing rooms – which definitely promoted harmony in the household, according to Lesley.
As well as being a spectacular house, it is a practical one. Underfloor heating and thermal glazing means it is energy-efficient, and there are common sense touches, such as the laundry room being next to the bedrooms.
Outside, the grounds reflect the house with circular areas of grass, curved pathways and an impressive array of trees and shrubs. It was designed by Mike and Lesley with the help of a landscaper, and the latter has continued to research plant species that thrive in a coastal site, albeit one with mild weather.
The beach which lies below the house is very quiet – privacy is another advantage of the location.
It is a shallow bay, and Lesley says: “The tide goes very far out until it is just a channel in the middle, and then comes galloping in which is always good to watch.
“Of course it will be a wrench to leave but I feel like it is time to hand it over to the next custodian.”
The White House, Mutehill, Kirkcudbright, is priced at o/o £795,000.
For more information, contact Savills on 0141-222 5875