Rossdhu Castle Gatehouse, Woodbine Street, Chevy Chase, Maryland

Ever have trouble figuring out your decorating style? A Scottish Tudor castle gatehouse like this would pretty much tell you how to decorate it. No putting mid-mod in your castle, or leather recliners. Or so you would think.

This is Rossdhu Gate, the gatehouse for Rossdhu Castle:

Rossdhu Castle and Gatehouse were built in Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1927 and named for an 11th century Scottish castle. Neither castle still exists, but we'll talk more about them in a minute.

The gatehouse is impressive enough, with 4,600 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 2 half baths...

...not to mention its slate mosaic courtyard and two turrets (one square and one round).

The main living areas are on the second floor. Here's the floorplan of the first floor:

Here are the foyer, hall, and gallery, and I'll just say upfront that the house sometimes has trouble deciding if it's fancy or not.

The library/pool room is fancy, with stenciled bookcases and golden coved ceiling.

It used to be even fancier, as seen in a previous listing:

The galley hall leads to a tucked-away guest bedroom:

If it were mine, it would be a lot fancier, like this:

Here's how it used to look, once upon a time:

Here is its attached bathroom:

The round turret at the other end of the galley features a magnificent 4 story spiral staircase.

It used to look like this:

I prefer the less fancy version, because all those collections just take away from this:

Next week we'll go up those swirling stairs. In the meantime, let's tour the grounds. This is the outdoor storage room on the floorplan... 

...the courtyard and fountain...

...and an extreme closeup of the wall fountain at the end of the courtyard and an amphibian friend:

Rossdhu is Scottish Gaelic for 'ros dubh' which means 'black headland' or promontory- something which projects out into a loch. The original castle was built on Loch Lomond, and Rossdhu accordingly promonts (which may not be an actual word) onto its own little loch.


It was built for Washington socialites Daisy and Clarence C. Calhoun overlooking Rock Creek Park, and meant to "enhance the value of the surrounding woods."

{Daisy Calhoun, source}

Unfortunately, due to the Depression, it never got a chance to enhance the value. Daisy and Clarence had to move into the gatehouse and lease the castle to a restauranteur. In 1930 it was converted to a nightclub, and in 1937 it became a 30 unit apartment house. According to the Chevy Chase Historical Society, the castle was eventually auctioned off and demolished in 1957.

Was the Calhoun's Rossdhu Castle a good match for the original one in Scotland? Stay tuned...

The listing is here. Fancier listing photos are here.

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