Black Sheep House was borne from the dream and hard work of Yorkshire couple Pete and Christine Hope. When they found an old stable in the remote location of the Isle of Harris, they decided to renovate and extend the existing building’s ruins into their green haven. Helped by architect and friend Stuart Bagshaw, the goal of the project was to maintain as much of the existing stonework and local wood as possible, while minimizing visual impact.
In the words of Grand Design’s presenter Kevin McCloud, “What I love about this house is that it’s almost as if they went up the mountain, collected bits of mountain, brought them back down and built their house out of them”
Mr. Hope is a dry stone dyker by trade and probably the person mad enough to take on the job of re-building and re-shaping the 3 stone 1-meter thick walls by hand. For the curvy Douglas Fir’s roof structure and walls, he employed the help of local jointer and plaster. Black Sheep House’s interiors are open, spacious and cozy, with a Scandinavian feel that melds with the surrounding environment. The couple turfed the roof and had below floor heating installed, which is run by an exhaust air heat pump.
Black Sheep House is probably the oldest inhabited house on Harris Island. As a Blackhouse renovation, the house is a traditional typology common to the Scottish Islands naturally that is built with earth and stone double walls and wooden beams covered with turf or straw.
Standing meters away from the shore, Black Sheep House is now up for sale as the Hopes are relocating to New Zealand. Unfortunately the house proved to be a money pit, and as stated in The Guardian, it is now worth £225,000 — about half the current rebuilding cost of £440,000.
But until it is in private hands, it will be available for renting on a weekly basis (you can check prices and availability here). The Black Sheep House provides the perfect escape to enjoying relaxing evenings all fresco looking at the sky — and if you are extremely lucky, spotting magical northern lights.
Photo © Knight Frank