Discover Durn House: The Second Floor

The Second, and top floor, of the house was originally the servants’ and staff quarters and storage area, and it was all open plan. The external walls of the original Castle estate can be seen much more clearly here as you go through the centre of the building. Notice also how the main beam of the centre corridor doesn’t extend to the later extensions of the Dunbar Suite and landing and staircase.

Our Ferguson Suite is named after James Ferguson, Scotland’s most famous astronomer, who lived at Durn House in the 18th century. This cosy room was originally the Head Housekeeper’s room and is the only room on the top floor which has an original large window and fireplace. When the current owners bought the house, a small partition wall split this room down the middle from the centre of the window.

Our Dunbar Suite is located at the far end of the Second floor, along from the top of the sweeping staircase, next to a quiet guest lounge where our guests are welcome to relax. This large suite room has the original full-height, exposed vaulted ceiling on display complete with old ironwork from the past, including the original 18th century cast iron rooflight which is still in use. Dunbar Suite is named after Sir James Dunbar of Durn, who built the current Durn House in 1770 - and Sheriff Nicholas Dunbar, who sentenced Banff’s very own Robin Hood to hang. The Dunbar Suite hosts a superb antique-style, Super-King size, sleigh bed plus a working desk area and has a number of quirky antiques and unusual artefacts on display. The large original slate tiled en-suite bathroom is accessed via double doors where guests can relax in the roll top bath or use the separate shower.

Originally open plan and used as servant and staff quarters, we can see where they would have hung huge washing lines across the top floor. There are original nails and hooks protruding out of the original woodwork and beams which are a fantastic historical feature in the room, and across this floor. The woodwork and beams most likely pre-date the house and were re-used and recycled when the medieval Castle estate was renovated.

Our Sutherland Room is on the second floor, at the top of our fabulous, sweeping Georgian staircase next to the private guest lounge and has a little French influence. This room has a vaulted beamed high ceiling and a huge 7ft, vintage style Emperor bed. The Sutherland Room has a vintage style rooflight window which looks out over the side of the house, and is named after John Ebenezer Sutherland (1854 to 17 August 1918) who was a Scottish Liberal politician, and who was a previous owner of Durn House. John Sutherland was also a partner in the firm of J & P Sutherland, fish curers of Portsoy (who still operate today) and an expert on fishing industry questions. He served on the Committee of Scottish Sea Fisheries in 1917. In addition to this, Sutherland was Justice of the Peace for Banffshire, member of the Banffshire County Council and was, for many years, Chairman of the Fordyce School Board. He also served as Chairman of the Scottish Temperance and Social Reform Association. John Sutherland died at his home, Durn House, Portsoy on 17 August 1918.

Named after the famous Battle of Culloden to which Durn House has strong historical links, the Culloden Suite is situated in the ‘Castle estate’ part of the building, and is a cosy yet large room tucked away. It boasts an antique Super-King size castle bed with feather duvet and pillows for a super night’s sleep. Decorated in rich heather tones and William Morris thistle wallpaper, this large room is full of opulent details and furnishings. It boasts a traditional en-suite shower room with a walk-in shower.