An Sgàileag

Kindelan/Grant, Isle of Skye, 2018


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Marcella FitzGerald     Download Original

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Drawing on local vernacular materials and forms, and responding to a steeply sloping site, the design of this house on Skye is strongly influenced by both its cultural and environmental context.

Marked by the strong impression of the traditional buildings in its crofting community, the house, in its details and interiors also owes something to the less austere heritage of arts and crafts architecture in Scotland.

While centrally located in the village of Carbost, its position on the shore of Loch Harport gives to the site a wilder edge. This is reflected in the expansive glazed areas and overtly modern treatment of the elevations that share its margin.

The stand of native trees which border the water, provide shelter from the North winds and filter the reflected sunlight from its ruffled surface. To the east, the waves roll in, to the very feet of the Cuillen mountains, and fenestration is carefully oriented to celebrate this dramatic outlook.

The layout, 135 square metres on one level, fulfils a very specific brief. It provides comfortable living accommodation for the owner: a master bedroom with ensuite facilities, an open plan kitchen and living room, and cosy 'snug', home office space and utility room.

In addition, the design allows the possibility of ensuite guest facilities being occupied not only by family and friends, but also let out in the summer season as is the tradition in an area popular with climbers and tourists since the 19th century. Echoing the ubiquitous character of corrugated steel sheds in the immediate vicinity, a small outbuilding will house a wood fired bread baking oven: the next project for the owner, already well known on the island for her hand-baked sourdough loaves.


  • Begun: Oct 2013
  • Completed: Feb 2018
  • Floor area: 131m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £200,000
  • Funding: Private
  • CO2 Emissions: 3kg/m2/year
  • Address: Carbost, Isle of Skye, IV47 8SR, United Kingdom