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Provides information about a new luxury self-catering house on the Isle of Harris

Luxury Self- Catering Cottage Isle of Harris

Luxury Self-Catering Accommodation, Isle of Harris, Scotland. Beach view holiday home. 

Chapter Five – Walls and Roofs

Paul Honeywell


Having a curved building (both in plan and elevation) is a pretty challenging thing to build.  Add a thatched roof, to use traditional island materials and techniques, and the challenges multiply.

The walls are mostly going to be of local stone, and lots of it.  They will be very deep, providing a really solid look to the house as well as excellent insulation.  Angus Williams, from Harris, is our stonemason, and as I write he is spending weeks in the quarry selecting exactly the right stones for the job.

This is where a team of experts come in.  The roof trusses are a work of art - every truss is different, and were expertly designed in conjunction with our supplier, Pasquill.  Much of the interior will feature a domed, curved ceiling - so the trusses have to allow for this. 

The thatching will be carried out by Neil Nicholson, from Uist, who harvested a vast amount of marram grass in Autumn 2013 - luckily it was a very good season for marram.  He has been guiding the final roof detailing, first to accept turf as a base material, then to  be thatched with a domed, netted and weighted technique.  We researched ancient houses on the islands to advise the design detail.  This type of thatching was used in the Iron Age, so is over 1,500 years old.

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The windows are triple glazed and manufactured to our specifications by Nordan.  They come from Norway - these are a critical part of the building, being so large and varied, and having to withstand a very harsh environment.

And, of course, all has to be brought together by our expert on-site team, led by our Project Manager Jonathan Bridge, and our Harris-based building team led by Kenny MacKay.

Battens in place ready for the turf that goes under the thatch - and the beginning of the stonework 

Battens in place ready for the turf that goes under the thatch - and the beginning of the stonework