James Morris and Robert R Steedman set up their partnership and designed their first house while still undergraduates in Edinburgh, -- a lovely secluded one-storey building in Cramond with views over the Firth of Forth. About the same time they met Professor Ian McHarg of Philadelphia who gave them scholarships to study in his department of Landscape Architecture.
*Sadly, Jim died in 2006
Jim returned to this country in 1958 to start his National Service, while Bob went round the world on his honeymoon/return journey. The building of the Cramond house had been supervised by Jim's father in their absence and a decision was needed on the exterior paint to be used. Exploring the neighbourhood they were struck by the quality of finish on Hamilton House, a 16th century building in Prestonpans. A knock on the door led eventually to their second commission, a two-storey house cantilevered out over the escarpment in Glenkevock, near Lasswade.
So in the '57 Gallery's exhibition in November 1958 they had 2 buildings to show. Our house was to be their third.
When we contacted Bob in December 1958, Jim was away in the Army, but had access to a drawing board in a friend's house. "I designed your house, and Bob constructed it" he says.
They have both retired now*, but act as consultants to their successors. Historic Scotland are undertaking the task of deciding which of their many buildings should be 'listed' (the Charterhall Road house was B-listed some years ago).
See the article by James Morris in the Spring 2004 AHSS Magazine