Trying to find a way forward, we met Jonathan Bridge, who is a chartered civil engineer living on South Uist. Jonathan is a meticulous man, with huge technical knowledge - and he was ready to take on the challenge of turning our dream into a reality.
The building stayed true to concept as far as we could, with the notable exceptions that the roof became thatched rather than grass. We could not actually blend the grass it into the hill, as the house needed to sit on the site rather than be dug into it. It did, however, have a lower floor which was to be sunk into the ground, and a double garage to the north.
Jonathan’s advice was to treat the project as self-build, get the technical stuff worked out at the beginning, and find local builders and specialist craftsmen. This approach had the additional advantage of employing island people and keeping the benefit of the investment in the Hebrides as far as we could.
The design developed, the engineering was worked out, tests were carried out on the site, and we had both a practical design and a (potentially) viable project. Planning permission was granted, with the council being very supportive of our design and overall approach.
We made the commitment, and the project started in earnest - 12 years after we had bought the land!