Ruins to riches: A piece of history is saved

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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The importance of protecting buildings with cultural and historical value is thankfully widely acknowledged. In protecting the properties which housed our ancestors, witnessed the passing of centuries, and saw the drastic transformation of our landscape, we protect our own heritage, and are able to access and understand our own history. However, sometimes, special buildings can 'slip through the cracks' and fall into a state of ruin. That is exactly what happened to today's property, before it was rescued and lovingly restored beyond its former glory by WT Architecture, in partnership with the new occupants.

'The White House' is located on the Hebridean Isle of Coll, and derives its name from the black houses which used to surround it, being typical to the island. Never one to conform, the updated and renovated version of The White House incorporates cutting edge design and a modern interior which is in stark contrast to the centuries-old exterior. The transformation of the property from a dilapidated ruin with no roof, to a contemporary family home, is quite extraordinary. Let's take a closer look at what this renovated 18th century house is like today.

Remnants of the past

Exterior View: modern Houses by WT Architecture
WT Architecture

Exterior View

WT Architecture

Built in the mid 1700’s by Maclean of Coll for his Tac man, the White House was the first lime-built square-cornered house on the island. It's a truly spectacular building, especially now that WT Architecture have brought it into the 21st century, without compromising any of its antique charm. 

The main structure itself managed to remain in tact, despite many years of neglect and exposure to the elements. One part was unfortunately beyond repair, though it was decided that the ruined section could still be partially occupied, and connected to the new accommodation alongside. The ruin was consolidated, and the old walls built back up with recycled rubble from the site and traditional Isle of Coll stone. As you can see here, a section of the ruin has been left uncovered, forming a quaint courtyard that further adds to the unique appearance of the exterior. 

Old meets new

Exterior View: modern Houses by WT Architecture
WT Architecture

Exterior View

WT Architecture

Here we can see the rear of the property, with the glass extension connecting the old ruin and modern part of the building. The expanse of clear glass allows for panoramic views over the landscape and out to the horizon. In the now renovated, original part of the building you will find a kitchen and master bedroom, and located in the connecting section of the home is a shower room, WC and larder, as well as plenty of storage spaces. New rooms have been added by extending the house, and these include four further bedrooms, a snug, and a utility area.

A living room with a difference

Living Dining Space: modern Living room by WT Architecture
WT Architecture

Living Dining Space

WT Architecture

The contemporary living room looks out over the rolling green hills and the beautiful coast, negating any need for the sofas to be pointing towards a TV! Unsurprisingly, a telescope sits atop the coffee table for curious guests to get a closer view of the wonderful location. The grey tiled floor and sober colour scheme compliment the soft tones of blue and grey outside.

A cosy capsule

Cherry Panelled Study: modern Study/office by WT Architecture
WT Architecture

Cherry Panelled Study

WT Architecture

This intriguing looking room is the panelled snug space, separated from the main living room by a wall of shelves. Whether the occupants feel like locking themselves a way with a cup of tea and good book, or whether they have to get down to work to meet a deadline, this luxurious little room is the perfect place to visit. 

Stark contrast

Triple Height Hallway:  Corridor & hallway by WT Architecture
WT Architecture

Triple Height Hallway

WT Architecture

In the hallway, exposed brick from the original building contrasts with the ultra-modern staircase complete with glass balustrade and steel frame. The juxtaposition of the two materials, of something worn and old with something contemporary and man-made, works to stunning effect. This transitional space really summarises the approach taken with this project, and perfectly reflects how the old ruin and modern extension interact in perfect harmony. 

Open plan living

View to the Playroom: modern Nursery/kid’s room by WT Architecture
WT Architecture

View to the Playroom

WT Architecture

In this house, space is fluid, with every section coming together seamlessly. The playroom, rather than being enclosed and stuffy as many can be, benefits from an open plan layout. With stunning views to the nature outdoors, and a constant feeling of space and freedom, it's the perfect place to let a child's imagination run wild. 

If you've enjoyed this project, take a look at the following ideabook:

West London lifestyle: Salvaging a lower ground floor flat.

What do you make of this renovated coastal home? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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