Rural Design Architecture Ullapool Project Page


Ullapool, Wester Ross

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The original house was largely self-built in the late 1980s, occupying a site overlooking Loch Broom on the edge of the village of Ullapool in Wester Ross. While our clients had brought up their family there and had great affection for the memory and the location, the existing house performed badly. It was poorly insulated and had significant cold bridging to the south facade; in addition the upper level spaces were very constrained and the ground floor had multiple changes of level, creating accessibility challenges. The project was for the remodelling and extension of the building, to form a more spacious and convenient home to suit the clients’ current and future needs.

The site is steeply sloping and provides expansive views south over the loch and west towards the village, so the clients were keen to make better use of its potential. It is also visible from the village centre of Ullapool forming part of the backdrop to the harbour.

The remodelled building is centred around 3 main spaces; the living room; the dining room and the master bedroom which are all on the south side of the house orientated to the sea views. These spaces are incorporated in a new extension which replaces an original wing. The view is at an oblique angle to the house, so the south elevation is turned to maximise the outlook and this gives an angled cut to the facade. The living room on the ground floor commands a wide view up the loch. Above it, the master bedroom also has large glazed openings up to the sloping ceiling and a balcony looking out over the garden.

The ground floor spaces flow between living, dining and kitchen and a new staircase links the the original rear part of the building which incorporates the kitchen and ancillary accommodation. The lowest floor in the extension is a semi-basement comprising guest room, sauna and plant room.

The house sits within a mature garden which has remained undisturbed. The ‘cut-out’ external space at the dining room forms a sheltered sitting out area and the deck extends out over the landscape. The basement also opens onto a new stone-paved terrace at garden level.

Internally the building is finished with a palette of natural materials. The floors are laid with herring-bone-pattern oak and the walls in the entrance corridor and living space are lined with random width Douglas fir boarding with a pale stain finish.

The site was challenging both in terms of its steep gradient and narrow private access road, and also because of its visibility from the village. Maintaining most of the existing house while constructing the new extensions and retaining walls required careful planning. The project started in summer 2019 and the contractor managed the work through the process of Covid restrictions so that it could be occupied for Christmas 2020.

  • Project Type

    Alterations and extension to an existing house

  • Client


  • Size


  • Completion


  • Team

    Alan Dickson, Nick Thomson, Joanna Jagger, Alex Rece

  • Photography

    David Barbour