The house replaces a cluster of 19th-century steading buildings that had fallen into disrepair. Its courtyard form echoes their original arrangement, providing a central space sheltered from the weather with the layout consisting of a main house with a timber-clad office and guest studio lying to its west, connected to it by a red aluminium and timber pergola.
The house’s overall form is characterised by three pitched red gables increasing in volume from east to west.
Inside, the volumes formed by the gables accommodate a lobby, kitchen, dining, living room and reading room, with a guest bedroom contained in the first floor of the largest. The north-south wing contains the children’s bedrooms leading to the master bedroom in the north part of the house.
The house’s design is intended to celebrate the long connection to the surrounding land of the family who live there, with continual views out to the farmland around. This connection is also reflected in the house’s name, Ceangal, which is derived from Scot’s Gaelic meaning ‘to bond’.
A large glazed corner reading room is designed to provide a quiet space to rest and watch the weather, while each ground level bedroom connects directly into the private courtyard by way of sliding or french doors. Large expanses of triple glazing along the house’s southern elevation are intended to open up its interiors to the changing seasons outside.
The scheme reclaimed 90 per cent of the original masonry from the old steading, using it throughout the new house. The clients also hand-cleaned and reclaimed over 4,000 locally cast bricks, which were used to lay a herringbone floor, intended as a grounding for the new house, as well as acting as a slow-release thermal store from the underfloor heating.
To keep running costs low, the house is highly insulated, featuring triple glazing throughout and super-insulated metal cladding. It also has an air source heat pump and a rainwater harvesting system.
Externally, red sinusoidal cladding references the agricultural heritage of the site and surrounding region, while reinforcing the presence of the house in the wider landscape. It also features reclaimed sandstone cladding.
We were given a clear brief but creative licence by the clients, James and Lorna. We envisioned Ceangal House as a place that protects and holds you within the wild Scottish weather, balancing open, light spaces with warm, cosy nooks. This is achieved by the semi-broken plan, visually connected by the pitched roof form; the family can be in the main wing together, yet have their own space to enjoy the views beyond.
Iain Monteith, director, Loader Monteith
Growing up in the Scottish Highlands, I had a lifelong ambition to build a home of architectural merit that allowed me to enjoy the outside all year round. Ceangal House is just this, a beautifully designed, interesting home that we hope will contribute to our children’s appreciation for design, local craftsmanship and materials, and family history.
The farm has been in my wife’s family for generations so we hold a close connection to the land and the materials used in construction, many of which were salvaged and reused from the old stone and brick farm buildings.
My favourite place is the sitting room. The large windows throw wonderful light around the pitched ceiling, and it’s a very beautiful place to relax.
James Hamilton, client
Start on site March 2020
Completion August 2021
Gross internal area 220m2 (house) 50m2 (studio)
Form of contract or procurement route SBCC 2016 Minor Works contract with contractors’ design
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Loader Monteith
Clients James and Lorna Hamilton
Structural engineer Entuitive
CDM co-ordinator Principle CDM
Main contractor Lawrie Construction
Interior styling Nordic Living by Biehl
Joinery Lawrie Construction
CAD software used AutoCAD