Some people cast the net wide when they’re looking for a site on which to build their dream home – anywhere will do if the views are nice and the price is right. Others know to within a square mile the only place they could ever imagine living. Keith and Mairi O’Connor fell most definitely into the latter category. They’d been coming to Loch Ailort, in Lochaber, for family holidays for the whole of their married life (and even earlier for Keith, who spent his childhood summers here). They knew that if they ever got a chance to build a home here they’d grab it with both hands.
So, when a friend offered to sell them a two-hectare plot on a swathe of Glenuig hillside that he’d purchased, the couple were thrilled. “We’d been looking for a piece of land for years,” says Mairi.
Although it was a beautiful site, buying it was a gamble as there was no planning permission in place. But it was a gamble they had to take, and while the planners deliberated, the couple had time to think about how their new family home might take shape. The big idea, as Mairi explains, was to take full advantage of the spectacular surrounding views – the site had open vistas across Loch Ailort and spectacular sea views towards the isles of Eigg and Rum. “We also wanted a place that would be our long-term home, so it had to take into account the way we’ll live as we get older. So that meant a single storey, no stairs and wide doorways,” says Mairi.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 98-106, issue 101.
Photography David Barbour
Words Caroline Ednie
What A new-build four-bedroom house
Where Near Lochailort, Lochaber
Architect Ewan Cameron Architects
Main contractor Leven Homes, Kinlochleven
Structural engineer David Narro Associates