The original house at Grishipol (rough bay) on the Hebridean Isle of Coll was built in the mid 1700's by Maclean of Coll for his Tac man, or Factor. It was the first lime-built square-cornered house on the island and took on the informal name 'The White House' distinguishing it from the basic 'black houses' which were the norm on the island. In 1773 Boswell and Johnston were entertained there whilst stormbound during their famous tour of Scotland. But for all its grandeur the White House had been built on sand and was deserted in the mid 1800's as it started to crack. When Alex and Seonaid Maclean-Bristol inherited the building some150 years later some of the cracks in the roofless ruin were more than a foot wide but the basic structure remained miraculously intact. Alex was brought up on Coll and returned to farm on the island with wife Seonaid after spending some years away in the army. They were keen to create a house for their new family on the site but the nature of the ruin presented a problem. Should they restore it or build a new house nearby? It was at this point that we suggested that neither of these approaches should be taken and that the essential ruined nature of the structure was what gave it much of its magic. So the idea of partial occupation of the ruin was explored with the intention that other new accommodation would be visually separate but physically connected to the ruin.
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