As architects go, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was certainly not prolific, so news that Windyhill - one of only two private homes built by the master of Art Nouveau from scratch - is on the market has caused a bit of a stir...
He was the high priest of the Art Nouveau movement but, as far as architectural legacies go, Charles Rennie Mackintosh didn’t leave a bulging portfolio.
The architect-turned-artist is perhaps best known as the creative genius behind the Glasgow School of Art and the old Glasgow Herald building – now the Lighthouse. But as far as private residences go, Mackintosh built only two from scratch, one of which, Windyhill, has just come on the market causing quite a stir among fans of his work.
Windyhill, in Kilmacolm, 29 miles from Glasgow, is a sprawling property commissioned by Mackintosh’s friend and patron, wealthy merchant William Davidson in 1900. Mackintosh, working with his wife, Margaret Macdonald, designed and built every aspect of the house to reflect his penchant for Art Nouveau that his style would come to define.
The seven-bedroom house is filled with decorative furniture, fireplaces, panelling, stained glass and light fixtures designed by the couple, but Mackintosh was also careful to incorporate Scottish architectural traditions into his design. The house features a harled exterior and is built to an L-shape with gable ends.
Charlie Smith from London Real Estate Advisors, which is handling the sale, told the Telegraph: ‘It is one of the most important 20th-century houses to come on the market in recent years. It has only changed hands four times in its history, so I would expect a great deal of interest from British and international buyers alike. It’s more than just a house, it’s an architectural gem.’
The present owner of Windyhill is Mackintosh devotee David Cairns, who has devoted years to restoring the house to its former glory, spending £70,000 alone on replacing light fittings using expert craftsmen approved by the Glasgow School of Art.
Cairns offers private tours of Windyhill to scholars and is selling this piece of Scotland’s cultural heritage for a not-too-shabby £3 million.
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