William Adam was commissioned by George Baillie of Jerviswood to design a new house in 1725. There had been an earlier house on the site before William Adam was involved, but this was demolished to make way for his design. The original drawings for this design show a restrained Palladian mansion with two wings and a linking central block. This house was designed with dressed stone voussoirs and quoins only. The general wall surfaces were intended to be harled (rendered) on rough undressed coursed stone, presumably a cost saving measure.
The work on William Adam’s design started in 1725, but came to a halt after the two wings were constructed. For some forty years the East Wing was used as the residence of the family and the West as stables and servants quarters.
In 1759 another George Baillie, grandson of the previous, inherited the estate. As a young man in 1745 he set off on the “Grand Tour” and apparently come back to Scotland imbued with enthusiasm for and knowledge of current architectural taste. In 1770 he commissioned Robert Adam to design a new house.
The main design problem Adam had to resolve was to link the two wings of the incomplete house his father had begun. The position of the wings, determined by William Adam’s design, set the scale, orientation and location on site of the proposed new building. The new house had to link to the old in a coherent architectural style and (given the choice of materials that was made) there was probably a relatively tight budget.
This is an early design by Adam in his Castle Style. The detailing and elevational treatment is unsophisticated when compared to the complex stone detailing and intellectual games that Adam plays with other designs eg. Dalquharran, Seton or Culzean Castles.