Stay in a Modern Tin Cottage on Scotland’s Isle of Skye

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By Michele Koh Morollo
On the northwestern tip of Scotland’s Isle of Skye is a vacation rental that's inspired by the region’s traditional “crofter style” cottages, but covered with a skin of tin.

Designed and built by Gill Smith and Alan Dickson of Scottish practice Rural Design Architects, this house sits along the rugged Isle of Skye coast and has a rudimentary form that recalls children’s drawings of pitched-roof homes. 

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Smith and Dickson constructed the house using corrugated metal sheeting, which is commonly used for agricultural sheds or "crofter’s cottages" in the rural areas of Scotland. However, they applied the material in a refreshingly modern way using mill-finished, corrugated aluminum to clad both the roof and external walls. 

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The house’s metal skin not only creates an exterior look that's different from similar-shaped houses with ubiquitous white facades, but it also offers protection against fierce storms. 

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Minimal but strategically located openings were cut out from the metal to create windows that frame incredible views. 

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An elongated, horizontal slot was cut in to the north elevation to reveal views of the seascape in all types of weather.

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Within, concrete floors, timber boards, and plywood cabinetry create an interior that's contemporary yet rustic. 

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Simple construction techniques were used to give the interiors a modern simplicity. For example, recycled timber pocket doors have cutouts rather than ironwork, leftover cement boards are used as frames for the shower area, and wooden dowels act as door handles and coat pegs. 

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Colors inspired by the landscape—grass green, sunset orange, sky and sea blues, and wildflower pinks and oranges—give the interior a chic, yet down-to-earth look that connects it with the environment. 

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Furnishings, which include a concrete-topped dining table on Douglas Fir sawhorses, Douglas Fir beside tables, and beds and seats made out of leftover structural timber, celebrate the handmade, self-built spirit of the house. 

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The property, which accommodates two people, is available for rent through Urlaubsarchitektur.  

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