A perfect match: spectacular farmhouse extension in Aberdeen

The owners of this granite farmhouse bought it knowing it wasn’t right for them. But the addition of a spectacular extension has changed all that.

At the end of a journey over twisting roads through rolling Aberdeenshire farm­land lies Bogindhu, the home of Wayne and Lorrie Bilsborrow. Bogindhu translates as ‘black bog’ but this house couldn’t be further from such murky connotations: it’s an imposing and clever conflation of a traditional 19th-century granite farmhouse with a new extension made of stainless steel and larch (which has, essentially, doubled the house’s size). Rather than reduce the farmhouse’s history to rubble, the owners have instead embraced and enhanced it through contemporary design and modern technology.
But it could have all been so different for Wayne and Lorrie. Having spent the best part of a quarter of a century living and working in Aberdeen, their aim had been to get out of the city, buy a few acres and build a new home in which to enjoy their retirement.
And they did manage to achieve this pastoral idyll, at least in part. In the event, the few acres they had in mind actually ended up as 89 acres of surrounding field and forest, 14 of which are a trout fishery, which they now run. And the new house they were going to build? This idea didn’t quite materialise in the way they had envisaged either. Instead, Wayne and Lorrie opted to move into the existing estate farm­house, Bogindhu.
The farmhouse, complete with draughty 1980s extension, was not ideal for a comfortable retirement. “It wasn’t what we were looking for,” admits Wayne, “but that wasn’t important because it was always in our mind that “The planning process was straightforward – it counts as an extension since it was replacing an existing structure. And there were no neighbours to notify!”whatever we bought we would probably change to meet our needs. But we lived in the house for a year or so, to get a feel for the place, before deciding what to do next.”
By this point in proceedings the couple had worked up a fairly detailed wish list for the new-look Bogindhu. Lorrie was keen to retain the three bedrooms in the original house but was also looking to create additional space, in particular a new master en-suite bedroom, and a lounge downstairs that could also be used as an extra en-suite bedroom for her mother. “And I wanted a new bathroom where I would be able to soak in the bath while looking out at views of the mountains,” she smiles.
One of Wayne’s main bugbears was internal doors. “I don’t like doors! I’m Canadian and most houses back home don’t have lots of doors inside. I like the feeling of open space. And I like double-height spaces. In the new extension we wanted to take advantage of the views and bring in as much light as possible, with floor-to-ceiling windows. Underfloor heating was also important – I didn’t want radiators cluttering up the place. And I wanted a central vacuuming system. I hate vacuum cleaners – vacuuming is often just moving dust around!”

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 92-99, issue 89.

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What A substantial extension and the internal remodelling of an existing stone-built farmhouse
Where Aberdeenshire
Architect Room Architects, 01330 830088
Construction time 14 months
Builder MCC Joinery & Building Contractor, 01651 821182
Words Caroline Ednie
Photography Nigel Rigden