By Fiona Robinson24th August 2022

Thomas Robinson Architects houses on Scottish Islands 

Scottish islands have a unique character. The classic image is of single-track roads, stunning beaches, and rugged heather-strewn interiors dotted with hardy sheep. That cliché isn’t far from the reality. We have built a range of homes on Scottish islands in the last 20 years. We love the challenge of each project, relishing the beauty and wildness of working off the mainland and ensuring what we create fits within the unique landscape.

These are six of our favourite Scottish island architecture projects.


The Arran Newbuild

Arran Newbuild 1
Arran Newbuild 4Arran Newbuild 2 Arran Newbuild 3
Arran is one of the tamer of Scotland’s islands, easily reached from Scotland’s central belt and well loved by seaside-seeking holiday makers. We built this contemporary home on the island to help our clients feel connected to the seascape and to see the ever-changing weather. They were keen for a Cape Cod look, so this house has a real holiday feel about it, which suits the location. The open-plan kitchen-diner is on the first floor to take maximum advantage of those views from the most used space in the house, with direct access to the wraparound balcony. This covered wooden veranda is the perfect place to sit and watch the sun set.

The Coll Holiday Home

Coll Holiday Home
This is a hugely successful newbuild holiday home for our clients. It has direct access to a picturesque little beach, and its breezy and spacious interior makes for perfect mornings sipping coffee while gazing out over the sea. It’s a similar scale to other island houses, yet the interiors are more spacious than the exterior suggests as we created a double-height space for the living areas. The elongated section housing the bedrooms nods to traditional Scottish island barn design with its curved roof profile. The vertical Siberian Larch cladding has weathered well and looks like it completely belongs in this beautiful spot.  

The Jura Beach Cottage

Jura Beach Cottage 1
Positioned close to the coast in a remote spot on Jura, this is a lovely three-bedroom island home. The design is for a replacement traditional Scottish white croft house in-keeping with the style of typical west coast island homes. The beauty of this is that it is filled with 21st-century comforts and energy-efficient systems, including substantial insulation and heat-pump technology. The central section houses an open-plan living and dining space with the master suite and guest bedroom on the first floor. A further bedroom and cosy snug are tucked to the side on the ground floor. And there’s also that essential Scottish island utility – the heated boot room. 

The Lewis Holiday Rentals

Lewis Holiday Rentals 3
These two luxury Hebridean holiday houses are elevated above simple white-holiday-cottage status with the addition of a dynamic glazed courtyard between them. This not only allows them to be used either as two separate rentals or as one large space for a family group of ten, but adds an exciting modern element. It provides a wonderful airy spot from which to relax and gaze out at the huge view from the mass of glass. In the islands, simply watching the weather change and the clouds scud by can be entertainment in itself. And, of course, we’ve designed in spaces to dry wet boots and hang dripping coats for all those who have spent the day on the water or the hill.

The Skye Croft House

Skye Croft House
Set just behind one of the most beautiful sandy beaches on Skye, this house looks as if it has always belonged here. In fact, it’s a newbuild, designed precisely to that specification. We used the traditional exterior proportions of an island croft house, so that it feels exactly right in its spot. Inside, we created a spacious, energy-efficient and open-plan space to suit the client’s lifestyle. The positioning of this house allows the views to shine. Front windows frame a dramatic view of Eigg and Muck across the water, from the rear the Red Hills are visible, and to the east the views are angled towards the Black Cuillins.

The Islay Coastal Home 

Islay Coastal Home
The hardy owners of this newbuild cottage on the Islay coast have moved from an utterly remote lighthouse-keeper’s cottage, which could only be reached by walking, boat or quadbike. This new house is still in what many would consider a remote location, as part of a small hamlet of coastal houses. The cottage is charming with a mostly traditional look and feel from the outside and a flowing interior suited to 21st-century living. We have designed it to sit low in the environment so that it doesn’t impose on the natural landscape. Use of natural materials including timber cladding and natural slate help it blend seamlessly into its surroundings.

Do you want to build on a Scottish island? Do get in touch. We’d love to start a conversation. Contact us here.


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