On the remote Isle of Skye, a larch-clad, sparsely-furnished bothy offers explorers contemporary, calm shelter amid the rugged landscape and rough seas
On the Isle of Skye, a larch-clad, sparsely furnished bothy offers explorers contemporary, calm shelter amid the rugged landscape and rough seas that surround it
Aplot of land ought to be able to earn its keep. Or, at least, that was the thinking of design consultant Jason Bold and his wife Sarah, an artist, when they snapped up a croft on the Harlosh peninsula off the Isle of Skye’s west coast. They realised they could make this small estate pay its way traditionally, by using it to farm sheep and chickens, as well as in a more modern way, by building contemporary boltholes around the site for holiday lets. ‘ We quickly realised that, like us, people are attracted to modern architecture that is connected to the landscape,’ says Jason. This informed the pair’s brief for local architecture practice Dualchas, who came up with a simple, single-storey lodge that allows the stunning scenery to take the limelight.
The 70 square-metre split-level building is divided into two halves: an open-plan kitchen and living space, and a bedroom-bathroom area. Both have floor-to-ceiling windows, meaning residents can look out over the tawny-brown Cuillin mountains as the sun rises in the east, or admire the sunset over Loch Vatten and Macleod’s Tables (two flat-topped hills). ‘The area around Harlosh is characterised by the contrast between soft, rolling grassland and sudden, sharp drops at cliff edges down to sea lochs and inlets,’ says Neil Stephen, the project’s lead architect. The design echoes this juxtaposition: the angular silhouette belies a gentler interior. ‘The décor is quite minimal, yet mellowed by natural elements and texture,’ says Sarah. ‘For example, most of the furniture is designed by us and handmade in oak by a brilliant Edinburgh-based joiner, Namon Gaston.’ The ostensibly austere concrete floor has been only slightly polished to leave a velvety, stillmatt finish, and is luxuriously heated throughout. The rich black Siberian larch that clads the exterior runs through the centre of the house, too – quite literally bringing the outside in.
The home’s isolated location, off access roads and mere metres from the sea edge, meant the project was challenging, but the couple are thrilled with the result. ‘I love the house’s space, the light, the connection to the weather,’ says Sarah. ‘ When lying on the bed facing the windows, you can watch the weather passing by, be it sunshine or storms rolling in off the Atlantic. It feels like you’re about to float out over the croft.’ Harlosh sleeps two, from £975 for a three-night weekend, and can be booked on harlosh.co