OUT­SIDE THE BOX:

The own­ers didn’t want a bor­ing ‘ box’, so in­stead they built Al­li­gin – a stun­ning ex­er­cise in cool, green con­tem­po­rary liv­ing

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This star­tling con­tem­po­rary home in ru­ral Stir­ling­shire is a tes­ta­ment to its own­ers’ de­sire for some­thing dif­fer­ent

CON­TEM­PO­RARY de­sign and eco-friendly fea­tures com­bine to stun­ning ef­fect in this week’s Hot Prop­erty, a beau­ti­ful fourbed­roomed fam­ily home in Kip­pen. Al­li­gin was built in 2009, de­signed by Glas­gow-based ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice Stu­dioKap, whose work has fea­tured on Grand De­signs. Stu­dioKap is run by He­len Camp­bell, a sculp­tor-turnedar­chi­tect who de­signed the four-bed­room Lei­jser fam­ily home in Bal­fron, which fea­tured on the Chan­nel 4 self­build series, and Christo­pher Platt, head and Pro­fes­sor of Ar­chi­tec­ture at the Mack­in­tosh School of Ar­chi­tec­ture in Glas­gow. Al­li­gin own­ers Stu­art and Moira Ruther­ford were keen to cre­ate a new home which avoided be­ing too ‘or­di­nary’. Stu­art ex­plains: “We were keen to com­bine ‘greener’ en­ergy fea­tures such as a ground source heat pump and wood­burn­ing stove with in­ter­est­ing de­sign – we didn’t want a bor­ing ‘box’.”

The re­sult is far from bor­ing. Al­li­gin, set within se­cluded garden grounds ex­tend­ing to around two acres, is bright and in­ter­est­ing, with a range of clever de­sign fea­tures in­clud­ing di­rect ac­cess from the bed­rooms to the gar­dens, a can­tilevered ‘min­strel’s gallery’ and large pic­ture win­dows with fan­tas­tic views.

“We wanted ev­ery­thing to be sep­a­rate, but joined up and the re­sult is we have plenty of rooms such as an of­fice, a tele­vi­sion room, a big liv­ing area and kitchen that are pri­vate spa­ces but flow into each other,” says Stu­art.

“The whole house has a flu­id­ity, in fact – it is long and thin and spread over five lev­els so it’s quirky in shape and de­sign.”

From the en­trance porch, a re­cep­tion area leads into the main fam­ily liv­ing space with a spec­tac­u­lar full height vaulted ceil­ing and large win­dows, which pro­vide breath­tak­ing views over the grounds and the moun­tains beyond.

The dé­cor, with its pale walls and wooden fur­ni­ture, is sub­tle and con­tem­po­rary, mak­ing the most of the nat­u­ral light which fills the room.

A bold paint­ing on the wall, full of deep, rich blues, ex­plains the story be­hind the name of the prop­erty.

“We are big fans of land­scape pain­ter Kurt Jack­son, and we were for­tu­nate enough to be able to buy one of his works, called The Gloam­ing,” he adds.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful paint­ing of the view from Ben Al­li­gin on to Loch Tor­ri­don – we have toured around quite a bit of Scot­land, so know that area.

“We have evenings here, in Kip­pen, when our view of the sky mir­rors the deep blue of the paint­ing. So we called the house Al­li­gin.”

From here, steps lead to the fam­ily room with log­gia and ad­join­ing home of­fice, and a well-ap­pointed modern kitchen in­cludes a full ar­ray of Miele ap­pli­ances, bright Co­rian work sur­faces and a Quooker 100 de­grees hot wa­ter tap.

Again, the Ruther­fords’ taste­ful use of colour and shape make the space bright and at­trac­tive, per­fect for fam­ily get-to­geth­ers, en­ter­tain­ing friends or sim­ply re­lax­ing on a sum­mer’s evening or win­ter’s night.

“This is prob­a­bly our favourite part of the house,” says Stu­art. “We can cook and talk, or just re­lax in here, and the views are lovely.”

The kitchen leads to a fully fit­ted util­ity room with ac­cess to a pa­tio area and the garden.

There are four bed­rooms, two with en-suite shower rooms, plus a fam­ily bath­room off the main land­ing and a guest shower room.

‘‘ The house has a flu­id­ity – it is long and thin and spread over five lev­els so it’s quirky in shape and de­sign

All have di­rect ac­cess into the garden, as Stu­art ex­plains.

“In­stead of hav­ing win­dows, we put in doors, and that changes the whole dy­namic of the rooms,” he says.

Al­li­gin’s green cre­den­tials in­clude the afore­men­tioned ground source heat pump sup­ported by a wood burn­ing stove, dou­ble glaz­ing and un­der floor heat­ing, and the build­ing’s con­struc­tion in­cluded a num­ber of Nat­u­ral Build­ing Tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts such as a hemp-filled wooden frame, Dif­futherm skin which is lime ren­dered to al­low the walls to breathe and a Pavutherm lined roof space for ther­mal in­su­la­tion.

The cou­ple are mov­ing on from Al­li­gin and Kip­pen as their chil­dren are now grown-up and at­tend­ing univer­sity.

“We will miss this house – it is full of lovely lit­tle spa­ces, lots of light, and the lo­ca­tion is fan­tas­tic,” says Stu­art.

“We are so close to the vil­lage of Kip­pen.”

Al­li­gin is lo­cated just a few min­utes’ walk from Kip­pen, in fact, and is about 15 min­utes’ drive away from Stir­ling. The grounds back on to Redgate Hill Woods, part of which are in­cluded in the sale, pro­vid­ing shel­ter and seclu­sion.

The gar­dens are pretty, with large lawned ar­eas, deck­ing, pa­tios and seat­ing ar­eas. The cou­ple’s flair for de­sign is ev­i­dent here too, with quirky ac­ces­sories and curv­ing paths which flow around the build­ing’s ex­te­rior.

“Peo­ple say it’s a friendly house,” adds Stu­art. “We like to think so. It is warm and bright, but not at all pre­ten­tious. It is a very easy house to live in.”

OUT­SIDE IN: Floor to ceil­ing win­dows and ad­di­tional doors make in­ter­nal spa­ces bright and at­trac­tive as well as of­fer­ing easy ac­cess to the garden.

BRIGHT: Al­li­gin’s pale walls and wooden floors help make the most of the light which floods the rooms. Be­low: The garden of­fers shel­ter and seclu­sion as well as long dis­tance views to­wards the south­ern High­lands.

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