A dream property which uses NorDan windows to frame a stunning view of the Scottish islands has been voted Home of the Year 2008 by Grand Designs Live viewers in a week-long television show broadcast on Channel 4.
The award-winning house that has emerged after a painstaking 18-month build by homeowners Christine and Pete Hope combines a spacious modern feel with a traditional longhouse footprint and also features metre-thick walls and a turf roof, with NorDan providing all windows and external doors.
Located on the remote Hebridean Isle of Harris looking across the water to North Uist, Blacksheep House has been created from the ruins of a traditional Black house (crofters cottage) which was being used as a sheep pen. With a tin roof and only three stone walls standing, its potential would perhaps not be apparent to everybody. But architect Stuart Bagshaws passion for Scottish cultural heritage, coupled with a desire to create low carbon buildings that complement their surroundings, inspired him. In fact I aim to design buildings that cant be seen because they fit the landscape, he explains.
A key element in the airy feel of Blacksheep House is the spectacular nine metre semi-circular window in the living room, at one end of the house. Taking in views from northwest to southeast, the window uses NorDans argon-filled fixed lights with a low U value of 1.4W/m2K. Stuart describes the idea behind this feature: The view is like a picture and a window acts as a frame which improves the picture.
With the exposed location, where changeable Force 10 winds are a regular occurrence, high performance windows are absolutely essential. NorDans window designs have been developed over years of experience in the harsh Scandinavian climate and are used throughout Europe wherever weather conditions are demanding.
The aim of Blacksheep House was to be as close to zero carbon as was possible, comments Stuart, and the thick walls and low U value windows give high levels of energy efficiency.
Donnie MacNeill, technical co-ordinator at NorDans Wishaw branch, worked closely with the architect on the windows for the house and explains: The location and climate certainly presented us with a challenging project, but it was nothing we couldnt cope with, as our high performance windows have been developed to cope with rigorous climates like this. Were pleased to have contributed to this distinctive home and congratulate Stuart, Christine and Pete on the Grand Designs win.