Hebridean Contemporary Homes appear to be different from other self-build kit-house companies. Conceived by award-winning architects Dualchas whose houses combine the best of rural tradition, modern living and the latest construction technology.
Based on the traditional Blackhouse or Tigh Dubh these traditional homes are in character similarly narrow and long, which gives them many advantages. The walls can be easily spanned, they are low-lying so sit down from the wind, and they fit relatively easily in to awkward topography.
Since the old long houses were designed to keep the weather out and the warmth in, they had few or no windows. Local materials were used; stone for the walls and thatch for the roof. But more modern materials, such as tin, would be used when it could be afforded.
But this form of building largely stopped. In Scotland it was initially replaced with the “whitehouse” which in turn was replaced by the modern kit house. These are adapted from an American suburban model, and can be seen scattered across much of rural Scotland and Ireland. These buildings have lost all links with the traditional building type of the countryside.
The Dualchas designs are picking up the architectural thread. The simple form contrasts dramatically with the oversized and ill-considered proportions of many kit houses. The limited palette of materials prevents the houses from being too fussy. The narrow plan permits easy siting in the landscape.
And the biggest advantage? The one-room deep plan allows us to draw light in from both sides of the house, so that from the same chair you can watch the sun both rise and fall.
I love ’em.