Loch Tummel House contributes to the completion of a ruined walled garden

Loch Tummel House sits at the feet of mighty Schiehallion gazing out along one of Scotland’s most iconic reservoirs. WT Architecture worked alongside an exceptional client, and a team of talented designers and craftspeople to create this remarkable estate house and steading. The new house replaces a Victorian farmhouse and outbuildings, on a site that has been an important place of settlement for many centuries. Buried into the hillside and set across three floors, the building contributes to the completion of a ruined walled garden fabled to have been abandoned incomplete by young men called up to fight in the Jacobite rebellions.

Spaces are arranged between dramatic parallel walls of sawn Caithness stone and polished concrete, which flank both sides of the house and shelter it from blasts of Highland weather. A wildflower-topped garage, boot room and arrival lobby, clad in stone recycled from the demolished buildings, is built into the adjacent hillock and helps root the new structure into its context. At the building’s heart is a grand vaulted dining hall, from which all other spaces are accessed. At the northern end a dramatic main sitting room, surrounded by two-storeys of frameless glass, projects out towards the water below and is the perfect look-out to spot waterfowl, deer and a rare otter. Master bedroom quarters occupy the southern third of the ground floor, orientated south and east to embrace views of the closer hilltops backlit by morning sunlight. From the first floor bedrooms and private study, views extend to the southern peaks Cairngorm mountains. Descending into the lower cellars allows access across the gardens to the adjacent converted steading, now a guest annex, and down to the loch shore.

The elongated forms and visual horizontality in the masonry walls and Douglas fir flooring emphasise an irresistible sense of movement through the building’s largely continuous spaces. Although predominantly open plan each space is clearly distinguished by changes in ceiling heights, lining materials and intensities of natural light. The kitchen, which is the only main space to protrude beyond the boundaries of the stone walls into a sheltered courtyard, can be screened away by sliding perforated copper panels. Being orientated almost precisely on a north-south axis, natural lighting changes dramatically through the day.

Design and info © WT Architecture

Images © dapple photography

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