Skirling House is essentially a family house, but the Drawing Room is a rather grand place to sit and read, or enjoy a cup of tea by the fire. It has a 16thcentury Italian ceiling, each compartment of which is decorated with a single carved rose. The large square bay window which floods the room with sunlight in the summer is decorated by sphinxes on the ceiling, while one wall has a built-in full-length wall cabinet by Scarselli of Florence. The timber chimneypiece is decorated with ionic pilasters and acanthus capitals, while there’s an architrave over the doorway carved by HW Palliser. It might all sound a little grand for a family house, but it’s a delightful room in which to relax and talk with friends.
The Dining Room has a large fireplace and a beamed ceiling, and is furnished with good, sturdy furniture most of which are family pieces including a teak dining table brought back from India in the 1930’s by Isobel’s great uncle Tom, a judge in the Indian Civil Service. Some of his fly-fishing and his flying gear can be seen elsewhere in the house.
The study is a simple, cosy room lined with hundreds of books to suit just about every taste. It’s a lovely room to go for a quiet read.
Most meals are taken in the Conservatory, which was extended about ten years ago and adjoins both the dining room and the drawing room. The stone flagged floor is decorated with the Carmichael Coat of Arms supported by two angels. Fairy lights twinkle on the vine covered white wall of the house and on the other three are views of the extensive gardens.
At the front of the house windows look on to the semi- circular Skirling Green shaded with Lime trees. To the rear, the bedrooms and public rooms look over our large three-acre garden. It was laid out in the early years of the 20th century and is little changed today. Heart patterns made up of embedded pebbles, a well, two sundials, a bell on the wall held by a monkey, a pond with an Ian Hamilton Finlay stone bench and of course the hens, make a wander in the garden worth while. If you feel energetic there is a tennis court, or why not set up a game of croquet on the lawn? The less energetic can sit in the sun with a cup of tea or a glass of wine (weather permitting!) and admire the white doves and the spiders web with trapped fly design made of bottle tops in the floor of the summer house.