The Barnton Hotel Restoration Project

The Restoration Project

The Barnton Hotel Restoration Project in Edinburgh brought an empty and abandoned hotel back to life. The building had been empty for years. Luckily, it was bought to be redeveloped  into residential flats and a care home before it fell into total decay.

Without a doubt, 2014 was going to be a very busy year for me.  Page/Park Architects in Glasgow along with CCG Scotland Ltd, the contactors, commissioned me to replace much of the exterior specialist joinery on the hotel building. Most of the detailed woodwork was beyond restoration or saving which meant I had a lot of work to do.

The Restoration Work

I made replacement finials and pendant finials in reclaimed Scots pine using original surviving joinery as templates. All were turned by hand in the workshop.  I used new red wood to make the decorative gable trusses and soffit posts, again copied from surviving originals. The exterior balustrading and handrails, however, I made from hardwood. A few of the original balusters survived and only needed simple restoration work.

The work for the Barnton Hotel restoration project I carried out in my workshop. I delivered it in stages and the contactors fitted all the joinery themselves on site.

We did some research too. The original colour for the paintwork came from a hand tinted postcard from 1905 which we found online. We used this colour for the final finish!

All exterior images above courtesy of Sylvia D’Arcy.

Replacement Spindles

New Spindles in Victorian style

spindles, reclaimed, pitch-pine
Spindles, reclaimed pitch-pine

I hand turned these replacement spindles in reclaimed pitch pine to match an original Victorian pattern for a clients house extension.  The spindles are a good example of the type of architectural woodturning I often get asked to do. Once I have  finished turning them I parcel them up and send them out. The client can then complete another stage in their building  project.

I used very well seasoned pitch pine which was a perfect match for the original wood. The pine was reclaimed from 200 year old beams salvaged from a demolished mill in the Scottish Border town of Hawick. The client gave me an original spindle  to use as the template. Once I turned the spindles I gave them a thin coat of lacquer to seal them. It won’t take long before the colour blends nicely with the original staircase in the clients house.

I can also make replacement spindles like this in Scots pine, oak, Douglas fir, mahogany or another timber to suit the client.

See more examples in Newel Posts

Spindles can come in many different styles, from plain square shaped ones to ornate rope twist shapes. You can finish them with oil, lacquer or wax. All protect the wood.