Con­tem­po­rary prop­erty em­braces the is­land’s ro­man­tic al­lure along with its dra­matic vis­tas for your view­ing plea­sure

The Herald - Scotland's Homes - - Front Page -

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.

“It’s fan­tas­tic.”

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.

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