GREEN GRASS OF HOME:
Contemporary property embraces the island’s romantic allure along with its dramatic vistas for your viewing pleasure
Unique, quirky and eco-friendly, this modern marvel was built in appreciation of Skye's scenic majesty
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WHEN you are building your own home and have a view as spectacular as the vista across the Sound of Sleat to Knoydart and beyond, windows – or where you put them – become all important. “I wanted every principal room to have the same view – this wonderful panorama,” smiles Peter Rodgerson, owner of this week’s contemporary Hot Property, Pennybridge, on the isle of Skye. “So I made it an ‘upside-down’ house, with all the bedrooms on the ground floor and the main reception rooms on the top. “Sitting on the balcony looking out across the sea, you feel like you are on a mountain top because of the way the land drops down at the front. It’s a special place.” Pennybridge lies on the edge of the hamlet of Teangue on the Sleat peninsula on Skye. The four-bedroomed property has been built to Peter’s exacting design, its contemporary style and zinc and timber exterior sitting comfortably in the landscape and its grounds, a mix of terraced lawns and flagstones paths, extending to around 0.63 acres.
Pennybridge is the second home Peter and his wife Stephanie have built on Skye in the 14 years since they moved there from Cumbria.
“I thoroughly enjoyed building the first one so I wanted to do it all again,” laughs Peter, who is a builder. “In truth, this is a four-bedroomed, four-bathroomed house and it’s bigger than we need it to be when there is just the two of us.
“So we are building again, on a parcel of land not too far away from this house, because we didn’t want to give up these magnificent views. Our new house, which we’re calling Halfpenny, will be a smaller, ‘mini- me’ version of the top half of this house, and it will be our retirement home.”
Pennybridge – named after the couple’s much loved cocker spaniel which was sadly killed in a road accident – does have its very own bridge.
“It was originally a temporary pedestrian bridge over a railway in Holland,” he grins. “I searched high and low for a suitable bridge I liked the look of and this was the one.
“It adds a bit of drama to the entranceway.”
The interiors are bright, splashes of vibrant colour against a white backdrop in keeping with the contemporary themes, and the main living space with spacious kitchen and seating areas, is warm and welcoming. There are plenty of quirky design touches, such as televisions in the bathrooms and an intriguing bubble wall – much loved by the couple’s young grandchildren – which consists of a water-filled window which lights up and fills with bubbles when a switch is flicked.
Peter and Stephanie, who is a medical secretary at Broadford Hospital, love living on Skye, which lies within easy reach of the mainland via the Skye Bridge and Armadale to Mallaig ferry.
Skye is the best known of the Inner Hebridean islands, famous for its romantic, historical associations and magnificent landscape dominated by the Cuillin hills. The Sleat peninsula, known as the Garden of Skye, has a mild climate and gentle, lush landscape while its many coastal and forestry trails, small islands and inlets and locally available moorings make it an ideal location for the outdoor enthusiast.
“I love this end of the island because of the views,” says Peter. “Broadford is our nearest village,
It must be one of the few homes on Skye where you can sit outside in the evenings and not be bothered by midgies
and it is really lovely with a good range of shops and facilities.
“And we can be in Inverness in around two hours, which is a fantastic city with lots to offer.”
Peter has always wanted to build an extremely energy efficient home and Pennybridge, with its wifi-controlled heating systems, maximum solar gain and excellent insulation, ticks all the boxes. “I always wanted to live in a ‘green’ house and Pennybridge is ridiculously cheap to heat,” says Peter. “It is incredibly well insulated.
“I wanted to make the house fit in to the landscape and I was determined not to have gutters or pipes in sight, so the lines are clean and crisp.”
The stunning, covered balcony is a real highlight.
Fifteen metres long and three metres wide, it is protected from the elements, making it a comfortable and spacious entertaining space, perfect for relaxing and enjoying those impressive views whatever the weather.
A beautiful glass balustrade completes the look and the end result is a wonderful outdoor space which has plenty room for seating, dining tables and children’s play areas.
There is also another, extremely attractive benefit of living in Pennybridge.
“We must be one of the few houses on Skye where you can sit outside in the evenings and not be bothered by midges,” smiles Peter.
“I’m not sure whether it’s the fact we are slightly higher up, or because we made the living space upstairs rather than downstairs, but the pesky midge doesn’t come on to the balcony at all.
DRAMATIC: More than just a name, guests to Pennybridge cross what was originally a pedestrian railway bridge to enter.
COLOURFUL SCENE: The property boasts a fresh and stylish interior with vibrant hues which add to the distintly modern look throughout.