The former Westbourne School for Girls has graduated to residential use, winning honours for style in the process
Many of Glasgow’s grand terraces and townhouses have not always been in residential use. Some, like this blond sandstone Victorian villa in the West End, have had a surprising past, converted into schools or offices, or sheltering an eclectic variety of societies and organisations. Their interiors may have been spliced, chopped up and given new layouts to suit their purposes over the years, but the majority have retained a sense of period elegance; and the façades tell the story, regardless of the condition of what lies inside.
After the Second World War, this particular building was home to Westbourne School for Girls until its merger with the Glasgow Academy in the early 1990s. At that point it was sold off and an attempt was made to return it to a private residence.
When Margot Paton, design director and founder of Glasgow-based interior design studio Chelsea Mclaine came to it, it was in desperate need of some TLC. The fabric of the building was in good repair, but the interior was tired, drab and cold. Margot and her team had a serious job ahead of them, made all the more challenging by the clients’ desire for an eight-week turnaround, with the work taking place over the summer. “It was tricky,” recalls Margot, “because many of our European suppliers shut down over the summer months. Everything was slow!”
She was determined that logistics wouldn’t hamper the progress of the project, though. With the need for bespoke pieces to sympathetically and appropriately dress the rooms, the designer was willing to wait. “The clients were quite clear about what they wanted. They’d seen what we’d done at our showroom – combining traditional features with contemporary touches – and they liked it. They also wanted the wow factor.”
It was a chandelier, now hanging in the former drawing room, that sparked the design concept. The clients were keen to have a place that would be a glamorous and impressive setting for entertaining, but they also wanted a home that they could really use, without any fear of spoiling the high-spec interior design.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 214-224, issue 102.