Home > Houses > Breathtaking Lochside House provides off-grid highland haven and wins RIBA House of the Year for 2018

Breathtaking Lochside House provides off-grid highland haven and wins RIBA House of the Year for 2018

By Courtney Constable


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While Lochside House by Haysom Ward Miller Architects provides an undoubtedly unique highland experience thanks to its off-the-grid location and its breathtaking surroundings, it’s not the traditionally rustic experience you might be expecting!

As the winner of the RIBA House of the Year for 2018, this lovely house gives you a natural neutral experience that simultaneously combines into the landscape of the wild Scottish Highlands and provides a cozy yet modern escape inside its wooden walls, all at once. The effect is truly a feat in blending aesthetics and atmospheres!

Lochside House looks like yet another humble cottage on the edge of a lake, but you know there’s more to it the moment you learn that it was awarded the title of being the UK’s best house in 2018, winning out over a shortlist of seven other rather impressive projects.

Lochside House was created for a ceramic artist who desired private space amongst nature in which to create and seek inspiration. The house consists of three humble buildings and is hand crafted using traditional techniques and natural materials that perfectly complement the home’s beautiful surroundings.

In order to create the proper aesthetic, designers used charred Scottish larch to clad the building’s exterior, complementing sections that are shielded by traditional drystone wall. The wooden theme continues inside but in a slightly less intense way, providing a natural but lighter and more airy aesthetic. High ceilings are lined with oil timber, for example.

In the centre of the living room, a beautiful painted stone fireplace serves as a toasty focal point for guests and family gatherings. Large windows, running almost floor to ceiling, perfectly frame a vivid and wonderfully positioned view of the lake and the mountains outside.

Although the materials inside sound rather rustic and natural in their nature, the scaled back approach that designers took allowed for smoother lines and colour schemes that somehow make things appear more streamlined and contemporary inside, despite the consistency in materials.

Beyond the charm provided by slightly more contemporary colour schemes and shapes inside the home, there is beauty in the more detailed decor and layout as well. Remember that this home was created for a ceramics artist and then view how the home’s shapes and spaces merge with the artist’s own works and wider art collection. This establishes a thorough sense of cohesive style that is all at once impressive, comforting, and effortlessly homey.

Now, when we say the house is “off the grid”, we don’t just meant that it’s rural; we literally mean it’s off the power grids provided by local municipalities. Instead, Lochside House produces its own electricity using solar panels. It also sources clean water from its very own independent borehole.

Part of what influenced RIBA judges to choose this house as the UK’s best home of the year was the beauty and efficiency with which it was built despite the nature and weather challenges presented by its remote location. Not even the often harsh weather of the Scottish highlands during the winter prevented the team from achieving their vision.


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About Courtney Constable

Courtney has over five years experience as a writer, editor and consultant who specializes in architecture and home interiors. She has contributed content to HomeDSGN since 2018 and her work has also appeared on MyDomaine, Archilovers and Apartment Therapy. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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