Located at the southern end of the Kyle of Tongue in Sutherland, Kyle House occupies an elevated site with uninterrupted views in all directions. The humble, peaceful, low-energy house is built to last for generations and is perfect for two people to live slowly and comfortably while immersing themselves in the dramatic, natural setting. The building dates from the early to mid 19th century and is believed to have been built using stone salvaged from the nearby iron-age Dun Mhaigh broch.
Kyle House is part of Wildland, an ambitious 200-year project established by Anne and Anders Holch Povlsen, which aims to protect and restore large parts of the Scottish Highlands through a process of careful conservation and re-wilding. At the beginning of the project, the derelict house consisted of a stone shell with an asbestos roof, which was windowless on three sides and had lain disused for two decades. Anne Holch Povlsen and Swiss-based interior designer Ruth Kramer developed a vision for the building that brings together the best of Scottish and Scandinavian design to create a special and emotive work of architecture.
From the public road, only traditionally sized windows are visible, and the building appears to be in its original form, faithfully restored using traditional materials and techniques. On closer inspection, the large, frameless gable windows at ground floor level reveal a subtle but significant contemporary intervention, while the monumentality of the heavy oak front door marks the transition from the humble exterior to a highly refined, almost monastic, interior.
With very little remaining of the original interior, the plan was reinterpreted and rationalised to form a series of equally proportioned living spaces. These spaces are formed by finely detailed oak inserts placed into the lime-plastered shell of the remaining stone structure, defining living areas within and between them. Importantly, space is given in equal measure to sleeping, eating, living and bathing. Everything is constructed using a simple material palette of Caithness stone, heart oak, lime plaster, brass, leather and glass. Technology is used sparingly and discreetly, and only where it supports easy and efficient living in the house.
RIBA House of The Year Award Longlisted 2021
RIAS Award for Architecture Winner 2021
Scottish Design Award Chairman’s Award Winner 2020
Ruth Kramer, Wildland
Kyle House Details
A series of finely crafted oak boxes inserted into the stone shell
Ground Floor Plan
First Floor Plan
With Kyle House, we wanted to make a small but very luxurious holiday home. A hide-away den for you to sneak away with your loved ones for a few days. Quality in every detail and superior materials are the fundamentals that ensure a safe and sophisticated base in the middle of raw Scottish nature.
- Garde Hvalsøe kitchen
- Diensen HeartOak
- Caithness stone
- Viero Marmorin plaster
The humble use of materials and almost monastic simplicity of the design places greater emphasis on the space and landscape.
Gunnar Groves-Raines, Project Lead