This project comprised the renovation, adaption, and extension of a former shepherd's cottage in the north-west Highlands, transforming a dilapidated historic structure to ensure its sustainable future.

The cottage was formerly a traditional Scottish Longhouse. A simple structure built directly off the ground from ancient Scottish Gneiss, it is the only building on its side of the Glen, and its red tin roof was appreciated by locals as a fond landmark.

The stone walls of the original structure have been retained, but all other parts removed. From the removed existing stones, together with additional material taken from the site, new stone walls create a new 'sister' building adjacent to, but clearly articulated from, the original building.

The new structure has been designed to a minimum footprint in order to ensure a commonality of scale between each part, preserve the green space on site and the aged apple trees that occupy it. Externally the re-used stone combines with new red roofs to unite the two structures sympathetically, while at each end larch louvres speak to the language of local listed barns.

While both volumes and the link have a common character externally, internally the spatial and material proposal has been to create contrast and compliment between each part. Given the hardness of the old stone, all existing openings in the existing structure have been retained, including the appropriation of the old sheep's door into a new window. The thick walls and small punched openings are complemented internally by new timber boarding in place of the old, creating 3 intimate bedrooms and a bathroom.

The new building is an open and lofty single volume, which provides a surprising scale that is different from, but complements the old cottage. The highly insulated new volume is punctuated by precise openings to the north, south, east, and west, giving an ever-changing pattern of light throughout the day and season.

The building is highly sustainable - well insulated new construction, breathable construction to the old, an air source heat pump and MVHR system, the re-use of stone and minimum built volume.


  • Location North West Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Value Confidential
  • Size 85 m²
  • Year 2016

Project team

Selected Awards

  • RIAS Award
  • RIAS / Zero Waste for Scotland Award