Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he studied with David Bryce and Sir George Gilbert Scott. He practised architecture in Glasgow and, from 1870, in London. He is particularly associated with the British Queen Anne revival style. Author of the architecture text, Home Architecture (1880), Stevenson also wrote on town planning and the preservation of historic buildings, criticising the “dull and uninteresting” architecture of his age and the “infatuation for making streets straight”. He also designed the interiors of several ocean liners.