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