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Inside 'unforgettable' Scots homes on Grand Designs hoping to win house of the year


Two ‘unforgettable’ Scottish homes will spark some serious envy when they appear on Channel 4’s Grand Designs as they bid to win House of the Year.

Every year the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) looks for the best new home in the UK, and this time popular show Grand Designs is along for the ride.

Two entries in the 2021 longlist are from Scotland and will feature alongside stiff competition to be crowned House of the Year.

The RIBA House of the Year is awarded to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK.

The two homes up for the prize are House in Assynt and Kyle House – both in the Highlands and designed by Scottish architecture firms.

One remote house is in an “inaccessible location”, while the other was a previously derelict building that’s now been restored.

Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud will be on hand to reveal which houses the RIBA judges have put through to the shortlist before announcing the winner of this prestigious prize.



Stone house in the Scottish Highlands
Kyle House was designed by Edinburgh firm GRAS (Groves-Raines Architects Studios)

Over the course of the four-episode series that started last week, seven houses will be shortlisted for the award.

Kyle House will feature on the Grand Designs: House of the Year programme on November 24, while House in Assynt will be on the show on December 1.

Design lovers will see the big winner announced on the final episode on December 8.

Take a look inside the homes in Scotland…

House in Assynt described as “unforgettable experience”



New build home overlooking a loch in the Scottish Highlands
House in Assynt was designed by Mary-Arnold Forster Architects in Dunkeld



Hallway with full glass ceiling and end of hallway look out to Scottish loch
RIBA deemed House of Assynt an “exemplary model of sustainable and considered architecture”



Twlight looking into square-shaped illuminated room in modern building in Scottish Highlands
RIBA noted House in Assynt’s “exquisite study in volumetric space and light”

House in Assynt is described as an “unforgettable experience” in the “inaccessible location” of Assynt, Sutherland.

Designed by Mary-Arnold Forster Architects in Dunkeld, RIBA’s website sung the praises of House in Assynt’s “quality of natural light and the well-balanced proportions of the spaces”.

They noted the construction challenges involved and the harsh exposure of the remote location tucked in the northwest corner of Scotland.

RIBA concluded: “House in Assynt is an exemplary model of sustainable and considered architecture which makes as minimal an impact on its environment as is possible and yet which leaves a lasting legacy for its occupants to enjoy.”

House in Assynt will be on the show on December 1.

Kyle House praised for “immaculate attention”



Exterior of Scottish stone house
Kyle House was a derelict building at the tip of the Kyle of Tongue sea loch



Woman sitting indoors leaning against wall by a large window in the Scottish Highlands
RIBA praised Kyle House as an “exquisitely simple, elegant, and architecturally luxurious holiday cottage”

A previously derelict building situated at the tip of the Kyle of Tongue sea loch, the home has now been restored to a “new level of opulence”.

Edinburgh firm GRAS (Groves-Raines Architects Studios) designed Kyle House and RIBA praised the “immaculate attention” to detail.

It was deemed an “exquisitely simple, elegant, and architecturally luxurious holiday cottage”.

Kyle House’s design maintained the original character of the Highland house as well as bringing a “contemporary feel”.



Sitting room with dark furniture, wood ceiling and partial wood walls. Full windows.
RIBA said occupants can now enjoy a “new level of opulence”



Portrait photo of dining area and floor to ceiling window
No view around Kyle House is missed with these windows

RIBA praised the teamwork involved: “This is a skilful restoration, demonstrating how the client, architect and contractor can work together to produce crafted architecture, which is sustainable, enduring, and beautiful.”

The last time a Scottish home won the top prize was three years ago.

Lochside House by HaysomWardMiller Architects in the West Highlands was awarded RIBA House of the Year 2018.

“This building has been tailored to its site. It’s been stitched and woven […] seamed in to the tapestry of this place and it is so much the better for it,” said Grand Designs presenter and designer Kevin McCloud.

Kyle House will feature on the Grand Designs: House of the Year programme on November 24.

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