The contemporary yet understated 400m2 four-bedroom house is situated on a plateau at Achabeag, in the remote West Highlands of Scotland.
Eagle Rock nestles into the surrounding landscape with sedum and lead roofs, lime-harled battered walls and an internal Douglas Fir glulam structural frame. Its unique elliptical shape takes advantage of the incredible views down the Sound of Mull.
Eagle Rock was designed by its architect owners, Roderick James and Amanda Markham, as well as their partner at Roderick James Architects LLP, Mike Hope. It was built by local builder Macdonald Joinery Limited.
As the build took shape, Roderick and Amanda had a change of heart about Eagle Rock being a high-end rental property. “It was such a nice house that we wanted to live in it ourselves,” said Roderick.
Their intention was to create a contemporary interpretation of the country house. “The sort of house that anyone can slip into,” says Roderick. “A lot of modern houses nowadays are so minimal that they feel rather austere and cold, but that's certainly not the case with Eagle Rock. It’s got an incredibly warm textural feel to it.”
The house is designed with an unique elliptical shape that fully takes advantage of the panoramic views. Predominantly single storey, Eagle Rock has a high-level viewing gallery around a glazed internal courtyard. Downstairs, there are four large double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and an open plan kitchen and living room. Two curved staircases lead up to the gallery, which provides additional accommodation as well as a cinema and library.
To fully take advantage of the 270° panoramic views, Roderick and his team chose products from VELUX and sister company VELFAC throughout the house.
“We've got triple glazing all the way around the outside of the house which was supplied by VELFAC. We have VELUX windows in the main living room area. Because we used high levels of insulation - 450 mm thick of Warmcel recycled newspaper - that means that the VELUX roof lights are situated quite high above the ceiling level.
“That has two huge advantages. One, it gives us light everywhere in that room. But secondly and most importantly, we don’t get any glare at all. Glare can be a big problem when you’re trying to get light into a room, it can be an unpleasant problem in summer. That doesn't happen with VELUX. We’ve also got the added advantage that we can vent the room if needed, just by opening the windows and releasing all the hot air to the outside.”
Achieving 100% on its environmental impact rating and 99% for energy efficiency, Eagle Rock also has exceptional green credentials. “In terms of energy it costs virtually nothing to run,” says Roderick.
In addition to the 450mm Warmcel recycled newspaper insulation, the house is further heated by a wet underfloor heating system with floor pipes laid 100mm apart for maximum efficiency. A bank of 15kW pholto-voltaic panels provides virtually all its power requirements throughout the year, supplemented by an 8kW air source heat pump, two woodstoves and off-peak electricity.