Strone of Glenbanchor / Loader Monteith Architects
Text description provided by the architects. Loader Monteith has completed a complete renovation and extension of a former small farmer’s house in the remote Scottish Highlands. The clients gave their architects a powerful suction line for the project; the house had to be a warm, comfortable and bright family space that allows the exterior to be in harmony with the interior. The existing cottage was very small and disconnected from its surroundings by thick stone walls and small windows. Customers wanted more usable space to accommodate their family and guests, but local planning laws meant new construction interventions couldn’t exceed the size of the original footprint. To meet this challenge, Loader Monteith designed the house which has two wings.
First, the architects enlarged the stone cottage, adding a living space clad in black wood with full height glass doors that frame the panoramic view of the mountains. A kitchen island is located in the center of the house, marked by the semi-open and cozy living room. At the top of the old cottage, Loader Monteith designed a skylight extension with great views of the landscape, leading to two bedrooms, a bathroom and a mezzanine office. A new retreat wing shades the existing chalet, located behind and slightly offset from the main house to create long views of the Cairngorms from the master bedroom.
Also clad in black wood, the new wing is connected to the cottage by a glazed spine and includes an entrance hall, utility room, store, bedroom, study and bathroom. Loader Monteith’s commitment to sustainability is evident in the material and energy considerations of the home. All the structural materials – stone, slate and wood – were sourced locally from Strone. The firm chose materials that could either be melted down and reused, such as gutters, or biodegrade naturally at the end of their life. The wood siding is sourced from Russwood Lumber Suppliers, based less than a mile from the house, and Loader Monteith worked closely with them to get the proper details for the location on display. Underfloor heating warms the ground floor, compatible with an aerothermal heat pump for future energy efficiency. Outside, a patio and concrete tiled walkways line the home, providing guests with space to enjoy the outdoors during the warmer months.
Matt Loader, Manager of Loader Monteith, says: “Strone of Glenbanchor is a special house and location that testifies to the magic of the Scottish landscape. We have worked hard to ensure that the house is in harmony with its surroundings, both integrating and enhancing them. Ultimately this project was about making the most of the view, so we carefully positioned the windows and doors to open the house up to the mountains. “To adapt the house to its setting, we looked for local material suppliers who worked with natural fabrics in a sustainable way. Slate, wood and stone anchor the house, while inside, lighter, softer materials and colors allow the views to take center stage. Ian and Patricia, customers say, “When we first saw Strone of Glenbanchor we joked that if it went on sale we would be eager to buy it. When he did, we jumped at the chance. We initially took on the project of being a vacation home, but loved the finished home so much that we moved in permanently.
“Loader Monteith was recommended to us by our builder, and from the start it was clear that they put our vision and memory at the forefront of the project. We loved Matt and Iain’s reaction to the house and its potential. “The quality of the architectural design and construction is what we prefer at Strone; this house is much admired and we are very proud to call it home. For us, we love to sit in the garden and admire the house, because it is so beautiful and in harmony with the surroundings. We also love the walk to Strone Road where the house is the first thing you see. “Our favorite place inside is probably the kitchen / diner, and that leads to an open plan living area. The double-sided wood stove makes it very comfortable in winter. Pulling up a chair and looking out the window, whatever the time of year, is magical.