Groves-Raines Architects

Kyle House

Residential

Located at the Southern tip of the Kyle of Tongue, Kyle House sits elevated in the wild landscape and is the only inhabited house to enjoy uninterrupted views along the length of the sea loch to the North. On approach, it reads as a simple, symmetrical two-storey classical stone-building, facing East towards Ben Loyal, The Queen of the Highlands and with its back to the prevailing wind. It is believed that the house was built from the remains of the 2000 year old Dun Mhaigh Broch, an iron-age building which still sits on the hill above the cottage.

Previously derelict, Kyle House’s exterior has been faithfully restored using traditional materials; stone, lime render, lead and slate. New openings were neatly cut into the rear elevation and on both gables to let light in and provide dramatic views out to the landscape.

With almost nothing remaining from the original interior, the classical plan was reinterpreted and simplified to form a series of rational living spaces, pared back to an almost monastic simplicity.

Contained within the stone and lime plaster outer shell, the interior is conceived as a series of finely detailed oak boxes, defining spaces within and around them. Doors are discretely hidden in pockets, allowing the building to be experienced as a series of seamlessly connected spaces.

Space is given in equal measure to sleeping, eating, living and bathing. Only the most necessary objects are placed in each space and the detail and finish of every piece has been painstakingly considered, reduced to their essential form, all constructed from a simple material palette of stone, timber, metal and glass.

The kitchen and living spaces are located on the ground floor and each has a large, deep-set window lined in oak allowing immersive views of the wild ever-changing landscape and weather outside. The North window, which commands uninterrupted views down the Kyle of Tongue, is flanked by an open fire, burning wood sustainably sourced from the estate. In reference to the connection with the natural ground outside, the ground floor is constructed of a locally-mined polished stone, heated to be warm underfoot. The kitchen itself is exquisitely crafted in the same Danish oak used throughout the house, while above it a narrow ribbon window at eye level provides panoramic views outside.

The bathroom is generously sized relative to the rest of the house, allowing space to enjoy extended bathing in the rain shower or lying in the window-side bath looking out to Ben Loyal. The bedroom is the simplest of spaces, containing just a few select pieces of furniture and a bed which was designed and built for the room. The three windows each have dramatically different views; East to Ben Loyal; North to the Kyle of Tongue and West to Dun Mhaigh Broch.

Photo credit: Alexander MacLeod and Martin Kaufmann

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