Numbers 26-31 Charlotte Square, in Edinburgh, and the mews buildings behind were designed by Robert Adam in 1792 and built between 1805-1820. In 1996 Simpson & Brown was commissioned to restore and adapt these buildings to be The National Trust for Scotland’s new headquarters within Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.
The restoration worked towards maintaining the character and individuality of each of the six original town houses while equipping them for the needs of a modern office. The public have access to the ground and first floors of the central house where there is a shop, restaurant and gallery.
The buildings had been damaged by ill-considered alterations carried out during the last thirty years and I was commissioned to discover the underlying colour schemes and advise on appropriate use of colour during the restoration.
It is quite possible that the full analysis of the paint on the interior and exterior of the six buildings has been the largest project of its kind undertaken – certainly in the United Kingdom. It took me many months.
While I was working on these six buildings I took the opportunity of sampling the railings of every one of the houses in Charlotte Square. This study is also one of the most complete that has been undertaken and provided a very good picture of the external appearance of this part of The New Town. There were many similarities with my findings when sampling a number of external surfaces in Bath.
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