The White House

A private house on the edge of the Solway Firth

The White House, designed for clients Mike and Lesley Smith, is a response to its site on the edge of the Solway Firth.  The natural rhythm of the ebb and flow of the tides transform the setting over time, and the changing light, reflecting off the water is quite magical.

In simple terms the house consists of three circular drums linked together. A visor then stretches between two of the drums, taking in the view. The public spaces of the house are raised up to first floor level, with the bedrooms on the ground floor.


The Smiths were professors of Russian and had a great affection for the Melnikov house, designed in 1920s Moscow by the constructivist architect Melnikov, and made up of 2 interlocking drums. At a larger scale, the drums recall the white lighthouses of the west coast of Scotland, and the powerful forms of this simple white objects marking the edge of land.

The interiors of the White House are simple. Timber finishes were used throughout, played off against the white walls and ceilings to bring a natural warmth to the interior. The study drum, which is separated from the fused drums by a glazed link, is fully lined with timber bookcases with  windows providing 360 degree glimpses to the surrounding landscape.

Project Info

Mike and Lesley Smith
Kirkcudbright, Dumfriesshire
Internal Floor Area
October 2010
Structural Engineer
Sinclair Knight Merz
Cost Consultant
McGowan Miller Partnership
Gaia Contracts
Andrew Lee
Homes and Interiors Scotland. November & December 2012, pp. 102-107.
Coast. December 2013, pp. 74-83.
Dumfries and Galloway Life. March 2015, pp. 96-101.
Scottish Field. January 2016, pp. 80-88.
Grand Designs. July 2016, pp. 60-65.
Extreme Homes. Episode 413. Pioneer Film and Television Productions Ltd. [Renamed Three Towers House by the production company, as there was another White House in the Extreme Homes portfolio.]