Neo-traditional Scottish longhouse….

According to the design statement from the architects, we’re building a “subtle neo-traditional Scottish dwelling that alludes strongly to the longhouse design whilst incorporating a modern, energy efficient interior”.

The phrase neo-traditional had us both hooting with laughter. Honestly, the marketing speak that gets rolled out in the interest of persuading planning departments!

It will be a very simple, slate roofed, larch clad house.

It should sit low and silver slowly and quietly into the landscape amongst the trees. It will be well insulated, snug and energy efficient.

We’re running final checks on the planning permission pack this weekend, then off it will go into the laps of the planning department of the Highland Council to seek it’s fortune.

We have everything crossed that it is accepted. Another milestone reached on our journey…

16 Replies to “Neo-traditional Scottish longhouse….”

  1. Hi Lesley,
    Love the traditional design and larch cladding. I am following with interest as our respective houses have to withstand strong coastal storms. Ours is on top of a 300 ft cliff and bears the brunt of the winter northerly gales. It has horizontal oak cladding fixed with marine quality stainless screws. Built in 2000 and wood never treated. It has shrunk and got a bit thinner, is hard as nails and hasn’t cracked. You do need best quality stainless for all external fixings. Sadly it’s not as strong as normal steel so has to be bigger than it’s rust prone equivalent. Good luck with your neo classical planning permission!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Peter! We face similar environmental challenges with the winds, salt and rain on this coastal plot in Skye. It’s great to know that your oak cladding has held up to the elements, and thanks for the advice on the fittings. Will keep you posted with progress!


  3. I’m in agreement with Peter. You will ned marine quality stainless steel fittings for everything, even the bits you can’t see. It is expensive, but it will save money and work in the long run. In the photograph there is a very nice external light and galavanised guttering, sorry to disillusion you but despite the manufacturers claims they are not suitable for this environment. Sadly we learnt by experience. Unfortunately pragmatism is required, it has to be plastic with stainless steel fittings, the latter you will have to supply!
    We had no trouble with planning permission and I hope that you will get a positive decision quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christine. All on the ground suggestions are gratefully accepted, and it’s good to know about the galvanised guttering as we are soon about to specify that, and I was veering towards that, not liking plastic. 😕


  4. I have an issue with the design of the house: except for the slate roof tiles and the larch cladding, the very shape of the house looks very standard, in fact modern European to me (like Skandinavian or German). Shouldn’t a traditional scottish house have a roof that slopes downward on all four sides (hip roof) ? Also, the slope of the roof seems a bid too steep for my feeling. And: the roof should have overhanging eaves that extend beyond the lines where the rafters sit on the side walls of the house.
    But maybe my understanding of Scottish longhouse is wrong.
    Regards, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Michael, on the island the traditional houses are all gable-ended like this, and the slope of the roof is also traditional and the degree of slope is specified by the Highland Council planning department.

      The architects that we are using are local to the island and are known for their respect to the local, old tradition of longhouses. It doesn’t surprise me that they look similar to Nordic or German houses – the heritage is very similar.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Luffy, sorry for my ignorance and thanks a lot for the explanation. I was probably too much misled by what type of houses I remember from mainland Scottland. Thanks again and good luck with the building projects.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. J > I have myself constructed a number of houses with timber cladding (larch or otherwise) – some entirely timber clad. Can I add a big note of caution. I’m not at all sure you can buy marine-grade / Austenitic / 304-grade stainless screws – certainly not at a sensible price. What you can get very readily is A2 grade, which from my experience of building and maintaining houses exposed to the full force of Hebridean storms (west coast of Uist and Harris), has not resulted in any staining. However my main concern is about the choice of screws v nails. Screws give a much stronger fix than nails (because of the screw itself, however is not the only consideration. Stainless screws are soft, and if there’s any significant resistance during the driving (most likely if there’s any knots in the larch or – more likely – in the batten), then they will shear just below the head (ie at the neck). This is a bad outcome! The screw can neither be removed, nor can it be driven in further. It’s hold will be questionable, and it would need to be snapped off at the surface and then a replacement screw inserted – at a different and less than satisfactory location. This is not a rare occurrence – far from it! Yes, holes can be pre-drilled, but that will greatly reduce the hold of the screws. Also, screwing is very labour intensive, especially if pre-drilling. Ultimately, I have found that stainless Paslode Stainless A2-grade nails (ie using a nail gun) is vastly preferable. Very quick to apply, neat finish, they don’t corrode, and – with the right technique, it is possible to remove the board without significant damage. (Errors or changes are not unknown in building!) And future maintenance or making modifications in future years will be greatly simplified. The length of penetration into the fixing batten is at least as important as the guage of the nail (or screw) – particularly for nails. Typically, both nails and screws are likely to be 70mm long, screws 6mm with Pozi 2 heads, nails 3.1 x 70 (or even 90mm). And if these technical arguments don’t persuade you, then the cost will!

    Liked by 1 person

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