Ian and Patricia gave us one powerful line of aspiration for their cottage: The house should feel warm and comfortable – a light-filled family space that allows the outdoors to be in harmony with the indoors.

Project Name: Strone Cottage
Studio Name: Loader Monteith
Project size: 150 m2
Site size: 500 m2
Project Budget: $170000
Completion date: 2019
Location: Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom
Photography: Nigel Rigden, Gillian Hayes

Strone Cottage by Loader Monteith - Sheet 1
Rear View ©Nigel Rigden, Gillian Hayes

The idea was to turn the cottage, a very small property that was disconnected from its surroundings, into a comfortable and understated mountain retreat. With three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a dining room and a snug, each space was to take advantage of the surrounding views – with windows framing the Cairngorms.

We wanted to make openings and point them at the view: a panoramic image of a dramatic mountainscape.

Strone Cottage by Loader Monteith - SheetStrone Cottage by Loader Monteith - Sheet2
Fireplace ©Nigel Rigden, Gillian Hayes

Because the existing cottage was very small, we had to more than double the area of property – a significant challenge in planning terms. We worked closely with the local planning department to make sure we arrived at a design response they would support.

We proposed making the two extensions out of contrasting materials, but ones with provenance to the local area and that were sympathetic to the rubble walls and slate roof of the existing cottage.

Strone Cottage by Loader Monteith - Sheet3
Exterior View ©Nigel Rigden, Gillian Hayes

We sought to match the tones to the property already there, as well as to the landscape. With our approach to create a house of two eras – the original, traditional stone cottage and a series of timber clad extensions – planning happily supported us.

The results are just as beautiful as the landscape it’s surrounded by. It’s a property of paradoxes – small but generous, understated but confident, new and old. We helped Ian and Patricia achieve their goal: a home that feels harmonious with its surroundings – connected both visually and materially.

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