With its rugged landscape and scenic natural beauty, Scotland’s Isle of Skye has become a popular holiday destination. But like many tourism hot spots where outsiders are snapping up properties, that popularity has resulted in a shortage of housing for locals. To address that, Rural Design Architects teamed up with James MacQueen Builders to produce the R.House, a line of small contemporary houses designed for the Skye and Highlands markets. At the same time, they wanted to stimulate the regional economy by using local workers and locally-sourced building materials.
The R.House has a simple gabled form and traditional exterior finishes inspired by local farmhouses and barns. The line-up now includes five base floor plans, offering from one to four bedrooms. Buyers can modify the internal layouts or add space with optional lean-to additions. They then choose from a selection of roofing and siding materials. These components are designed so that no matter how they are mixed and matched, the result is a low-key contemporary house that fits in comfortably with the vernacular architecture and landscape of Skye.
One significant cost-saving measure was to prefabricate the houses indoors, sheltered from Skye’s often stormy and unpredictable weather. Wall and roof sections are panelized in a warehouse, allowing the workers to be much more productive. With a faster build time comes a lower price tag. Building inside also keeps the wood dry and makes it easier to apply materials, resulting in better quality and a tighter building envelope. That and high levels of insulation contribute to durable homes that require little energy for heating.
Shown here is Skeabost Wood Cottage, which is based on the two-bedroom R2 floor plan. The owners customized it with a lean-to addition for an entry mudroom, as well as by opening up the living room to the original entry area. The exterior finish choices were board-on-board Scottish larch siding and corrugated aluminum roofing. Skeabost Wood Cottage can be rented for holiday stays through HolidayLettings.