Emily Escaped


Emily Escaped: reviews and photos of holiday homes for design lovers

Emily Escaped

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Written by homes journalist Emily Brooks, this blog is dedicated to seeking out UK holiday rentals that are all about great design

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The Hill Cottage, Highlands

Experience the Highland elements from a contemporary bolthole for two overlooking Loch Eriboll, built with love using local materials and local craftspeople 

Go north, keep going, keep going, yep, a little bit further, and eventually you’ll get to the Hill Cottage, one of two contemporary Highland holiday homes overlooking Loch Eriboll. The pair of houses, both of which sleep two, are run by Fiona and Robbie Mackay, who run a mini hospitality empire in their beloved north-west Sutherland, which includes a highly regarded hotel and another couple of holiday homes. This one seems like the peach of the lot to me, though – swung, I think, by the outdoor bath for two overlooking the flawless view.

A sensitivity towards the landscape, and towards local craft traditions, pervades this project. The aim was to produce ‘simple but striking buildings that contrasted with but complemented their surroundings’: Hill Cottage is low-rise, and with a footprint in the shape of a fan, which makes the view all-pervading. It’s built with local stone, insulated with sheep’s wool and ‘bales’ of old car tyres, and powered by its own wind turbine.

Inside, the Mackays took the trouble to commission local craftspeople to make fixtures and fittings, including the formidable steel and leather bed by artist/blacksmith Sam Barlow, and ceramic tiles by Lotte Glob, whose own contemporary home and studio are nearby. Furniture is few and far between, so as not to detract from the simple forms of the house and the natural materials from which it’s made – but what’s here is big and squashy, and you won’t want to get up from it. Except maybe to hop into the bath outside (Highland gales permitting).

If you want to find out more about the build, Fiona Mackay talks more about the project in this feature from the Scotsman.

Nearby: Walking, from the door, including glorious Highland beaches such as Balnakiel; ceramic artist Lotte Glob’s ‘sculpture croft’, a series of otherworldly ceramic pieces growing up from the land around her contemporary home; Smoo Cave on the outskirts of Durness (saying ‘Smoo Cave’ out loud really is one of life’s pleasures); pop into Cocoa Mountain for hot chocolate with the best view ever

Essential details:

  • Durness, Sutherland, The Highlands
  • Sleeps 2
  • From £1,000 per week
  • Available from croft103.com

More photos:

Photos via Croft103



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