Rural Design Architecture Monkstadt House 1745 Project Page
Monkstadt House is a grade B listed building, and one of the earliest examples of a laird’s house on Skye. It was saved from a ruinous state by its previous owner but required upgrading and finishing to a high standard to become a new boutique guest house.
The aim was to create an interior which embraced the history and rebirth of Monkstadt and was steeped in storytelling, without being a museum to Charles Edward Stuart.
Monkstadt played it’s part in the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie to France and not without humour - Charlie was dressed in drag! So we have played a fun game of hide and seek with the interiors. Rather than being told the story, guests have the opportunity to ‘discover' for themselves what happened and perhaps even discover Bonnie Prince Charlie himself!
Jacobite sympathisers had to be discreet and they hid their allegiance using symbolism. We’ve carefully chosen key Jacobite symbols and hidden them throughout the house; in the wallcoverings, bespoke carpets and rugs, curtains, cushions, ceiling roses, accessories, etc. All of which have meanings like restoration, rebirth, strength in numbers, the Stuarts, and all are silently waiting to be discovered.
The dining room was the most important room on the night of Charlie and Flora's visit as it is where the Red Coat officer questioned Flora at length during dinner. Thanks to historical records, we know who was present that night and their seating arrangement. In reference to this event, unconventionally, the breakfast and dining room has a large group table to seat 10. Mixed upholstery to the dining chairs represent the different historical characters and allow guests an opportunity to learn of the events that unfolded and let their imaginations run wild.
The bedrooms have Chinoiserie style wallpaper, popular in the Georgian period. The carpets have a bespoke repeat pattern, designed in-house and inspired by the Scottish bookbinding style decorating a King James Bible. Every bedroom has a special bespoke throw designed in collaboration with Skye Weavers. It includes a small section of the Moy Hall plaid, a tartan which was worn by Bonnie Prince Charlie and torn into small sections to be gifted to supporters as a memento. Every bedroom also has a Philippe Starck 'Ghost' chair as a nod to the story that the MacDonalds, who built Monkstadt, fled their previous home, Castle Duntulm, due to its many ghosts. Oh, and Betty Burke is hiding somewhere in every room!
The newer part of the house is a celebration of families associated with Monkstadt since becoming the residence of various Tacksmen. Most notable of all, the MacQueens. The focal point fireplace wall is reminiscent of a Laird's trophy wall. Instead of stag antlers, Fleur de Lys, another Jacobite symbol, decorate the wall. The cladding is of the style used in R.House construction and MacQueen tartan is used for upholstery to remind us of the current Laird of Monkstadt.
Nick Thomson, Joanna Jagger
copyright Nigel Rigden