Nature versus nurture

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There is much to be gained by ensuring a new house is part of the landscape

When Mhairi Grant looks at the results of her first architectural commission, a project that has also been her most personal job to date, she is still delighted with it – despite the fact that it took ten years for the house to be built.
The job was to re-imagine and extend the Old Farmhouse in Invergarry. Her dad had been born and brought up in the house, and when he and his wife Grace inherited it in 2003, they decided it would be a great place to retire. It was sorely in need of an overhaul, though, which is where Mhairi came in. “I became a chartered architect in 2004, which was also when we got the planning approval,” she says.
“When the house was built it had two wooden byre/barn buildings arranged around it in a U-shape. The cottage had 1950s brick-built bedroom extension, which itself had a lean-to kitchen attached both to it and to the adjoining barn. It was a real ramshackle arrangement.”
Knowing what a big task lay ahead, Ken and Grace bought a neighbouring property speci­fically as a base to manage the Old Farmhouse renovations. The detailed design for this and its new-build elements was completed by PaperIgloo, run by Mhairi and her husband Martin McCrae.
“Our brief was simple,” says Ken. “We wanted something that fitted within the landscape. Although we were down­sizing from a large house in Glasgow, we didn’t want it to be too pokey – we wanted some­thing comfortable. And it had to be modern, as we’d always lived in traditional houses.”


This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 211-222, issue 100.

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Photography David Barbour
Words Caroline Ednie