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Having the opportunity to build a new house on Skye, my wife and I were anxious to find someone with genuine experience of such a process. We were quickly directed to Archie MacDonald Design and Drawing Services. This initial lead really did prove to be the best possible start to our project and despite the seemingly complex procedures involved in designing and gaining planning permission for a new house, Archie's efforts on our behalf were excellent.
From research made after a site visit the resulting house design made full use of the location & outlook in ways that simply hadn't occurred to us. We couldn't have been happier with our design. Archie steered us through the subsequent planning approvals, guiding us through any potential problems enabling us to avoid possible delays.
Having seen a number of Archie's house designs we were spoiled for choice by the ingenious use of available space in all his work and the stunning look of finished builds. We would have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Archie's services to anybody considering such a project of their own.
John and his Texan wife Courtney, with the help of Scotframe, the UK's leading full kit manufacturer - built a perfect family home which is a study in light and form and enjoys unparalleled views across the rich and rolling countryside.
The most important decision for their self build project was to specify Scotframe's unique Val-U-Therm® closed panel timber frame building system with it's industry-leading insulation, energy efficiency and airtightness performance properties. Mrs O'Grady said: "Our architect had worked with Scotframe before and told us about the factory injected insulated panels. They do everything that was promised. This is without a doubt the warmest house I have ever lived in.
We also used the Val-U-Therm® system for the ceilings and floors. In the ceiling, their strength means that we don't need roof trusses, so I wake up in the morning to a 12-foot high room which is bathed in light."
The O'Grady's build took just eight months from start to completion.
Mrs O'Grady said: "Scotframe were very easy to work with - particularly helpful - and I can't speak highly enough of their Val-U-Therm® timber frame systems. They have really lived up to both their reputation and our expectations."
I was Highland Council's Area Planning and Building Standards Manager for Skye and Lochalsh from 1998 to 2007, and worked closely with Archie MacDonald throughout that time.
Archie was invariably successful in coming up with designs which both met the needs of his clients and respected the often spectacular landscape in which his projects were sited.
Archie always worked closely with the Planning Authority to find an amicable solution to any problems which might arise. I know this rapport ensured a better service for his clients, as well as helping to drive up design standards as a whole in this
We chose Archie MacDonald to design our new home as we love his house designs. As our site was quite high and exposed, we opted for a single storey design which we wanted to reflect the older cottages in our area and our new house does this perfectly. Given we are both from Skye and know the weather, and our house is facing directly west, we know his design will withstand those strong south westerly winds coming straight off the Atlantic. Archie was so helpful when we decided to add an extra bedroom at a fairly late stage. He gave us a couple of options and ensured we didn't lose space elsewhere in the house which was important to us. We have had so many lovely comments from neighbours and workmen with regard to the house design. We wouldn't hesitate in instructing Archie again and would recommend his designs to anyone that will listen! We also had the added bonus of opting for a Scotframe Val-U-Therm kit which is amazing. The kit was up within two weeks and it was at that stage we could see just how amazing our new home is! We love it!
The site Brian and Margaret found was just what they wanted but it contained an old estate cottage and, though the couple had undertaken home extensions in the past, they knew at once that it would not be viable to extend the cottage - and that, because the design they wanted was so unique, self-build was the only option.
What made the building very unusual was an existing architectcreated oak frame, around which the stonework had to be erected. The Gardens were insistent that insulation had to be of the highest quality and chose Scotframe's Val-U-Therm® panels, with very low U values, industry-leading insulation, airtightness and thermal performance.
Margaret said: "We are very environmentally conscious, and this was a one-off opportunity, so it had to be right. We also have a bio-mass boiler for hot water and heating, so the house is very sustainable.
"The Val-U-Therm® panels also feature a service void for wiring and pipes, so it is very easy for the builders. But when they were in place, it was remarkable. Every new build house has to have an airtightness test and the man who did ours could not believe the levels we had achieved."
She added: "I would recommend Scotframe 100%. They were so professional, from the moment the sales person walked through our door, just tremendous. The quality as well as the service was truly outstanding."