Scotland has a long history of exemplary architecture and design, with plenty of historic and more modern examples, famous sites as well as hidden gems. Whether it’s transforming an old historic building into apartments or a disused space into an eco-family home, a bit of imagination and skill can create a beautiful place to live. Conversion projects are not without challenges, there are often planning restrictions to follow and it is important to factor in the history of an old property or be mindful and considerate to the surrounding landscape of somewhere more rural. As the following 5 conversions in Scotland show, clever design and a thoughtful, planned out approach can have stunning results.
A derelict croft in the central highlands transformed into a versatile and comfortable home, spacious enough for family stayover visits but still cosy for owner Thelma Archer to live there on her own. Designed by her architect son, the 300 square meter, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home was constructed by linking the old cottage and an outhouse barn, adding a contemporary steel frame and glass structure to bridge the gap and create one living space. The stonework was created by salvaging what was left of the old structures, with the building adapting the half- stone, half- timber style of nearby properties with locally sourced larch cladding at the rear. The result is a property that plays on the traditional and modern and is sympathetic to its environment, whilst maximising the potential for natural light and the stunning panoramic views around. Full story and images here.
Bona Lighthouse, Inverness
This rare lighthouse conversion on the northern edge of Loch Ness is one of just two inland lighthouses in Scotland, built by engineer Thomas Telford in 1815. Revisited by Scottish Canals for renovation, the property now stands as two separate holiday lets, one occupying the octagonal shaped lighthouse tower and the second the old stables and storeroom. The starting point for the project was it’s history, location and significance. There are subtle nods to the property’s maritime context throughout, with vintage touches like old oars, ship lights and canal signs used as decorative pieces. Tweed fabric and Douglas fir timber reflect the significance of location, being in the capital of the highlands, and the desire to work with local producers. Original features such as fireplaces and wooden panelling are kept in accordance to agreements with Historic Scotland, but which help hold onto authenticity. The exposed stone walls, cobbled flooring, wood panelling, natural fabrics and neutral colours used throughout all complement the rural, shore side setting perfectly. Full story and images here.
Georgian Tenement, Edinburgh
A bit of vision was required to take on this project. Being on the market for a year, the apartment was in semi-disrepair with no central heating, a challenging layout and even a family of mice to vacate. What stands now, however, is a living space that has recognised its limitations but has risen to the challenge with creative flair, the results being particularly luxurious and feminine. Restrictions with space have been cleverly worked around, using mirrors, screens and false walls and by creating purposefully cosy nooks. The dining area and spare bedroom were embraced as small, dark spaces, creating particularly atmospheric areas to enjoy, more like a boutique hotel or fine restaurant than an Edinburgh tenement home. The glamour continues in the master bedroom, with the large upholstered bed, shimmering metallic wallpaper and soft pink and sliver shades, with the bathroom having art deco touches and mother of pearl tiling. The apartment is an opulent optical illusion, playing with texture, space, light and dark to luxurious effect. Full story and images here.
Brockloch Treehouse, Southern Scotland
This eco-friendly design took the idea of a children’s tree house and turned it into a hideaway, romantic spot for couples to get away from it all. The interconnected structures are made from locally sourced Douglas fir cladding, corrugated tin and sheep’s wool insulation, being 100% off grid and run by solar energy. Residents don’t have to forgo home comforts, with hot water to fill the huge sunken bathtub and electricity and battery storage to power the small but fully equipped kitchen. The interior is subtly decorated with lots of bare wood and just a few pastel touches, keeping it natural so as not to let you forget you are up in the trees. A wood burning stove keeps the place cosy and the huge skylight over the bed allows for star gazing through the treetops – a particularly romantic touch! Small widows provide pockets of light, thought to mimic light coming through tree leaves. The result is complete privacy and the feeling of being cocooned, away from it all and safe in the knowledge it’s all environmentally friendly too. Full story and images here.
Passivhaus prefab, Aberdeen
Similarly energy efficient, this prefabricated home was built in a factory in England and transported in sections all the way to its plot in Aberdeen, where it was assembled like a puzzle. It was an extremely calculated and thought out process from beginning to end – even the transportation route was considered and impacted on how big each individual section could be. The design was constructed on Passivhaus principles, meaning that energy efficiency was of foremost concern. This approach begins with the materials used and how they can maximise the energy efficiency of the internal environment and use less energy for heating and cooling. It is a super insulated structure, using triple glazing and renewable technologies such as solar panels and mechanical ventilation. The house is supplied solely by solar power with the fridge and other appliances getting first priority, followed by the immersion heater and then things like towel rails, with any excess going back into the grid. A back up when there is little sun (it is Scotland after all) and especially important in the winter months is a biomass pellet stove, another renewable source that also works to heat a wet radiator circuit throughout the house. In keeping with the high tech features, the interiors are kept cool, modern and minimalist with recycled materials appropriately used. Mindful and considerate, this design and approach leads the way for a new kind of home and way of living. Full story and images here.
We hope you enjoyed these inspirational homes! If you would like to find your next dream home.