We bought a plot of land in Gullane and decided to build a "Murphy". Richard drew us a house and two years later building was finally able to begin. While the planning, costing and building warrant processes worked through their machinations we watched the plot transition through the seasons a number of times.
The house takes on the form of a "long house" with all the rooms in a line, off a central corridor. Langskail is Norse for "long house" and is also the name of the house in which Kim was brought up so was a fitting name for us to use.
Read Richard's blurb here: www.richardmurphyarchitects.com/House-at-Gullane
Mar 2019. Estate agent's photo. This looks interesting.
Jul 2019. Summer viewing of the plot ahead of making an offer.
Jul 2019. Beautiful summer day.
Jul 2019. We visited Richard at Hart Street, had a glass of wine on his patio and he introduced us to his early ideas and sketches. The layout has changed a bit since this drawing, but still looks broadly similar. We liked it.
Jul 2019. Many bike rides have swung around here.
Aug 2019. An early visualisation.
Sep 2019. Mum and Dad come for a wee look round. In retrospect, quite poignant.
Nov 2019. The deal is done, a fence is erected to mark the boundary with the neighbours and we take possession. It's our place now so we "claim our territory" by driving on and trying out the parking for size.
Dec 2019. The back fence in winter time.
Dec 2019. Midwinter sunset view from the back of the plot.
Dec 2019. Ali drops in to look around and give it his seal of approval.
Apr 2020. The latest incarnation rendered.
Apr 2020. The Long House
Aug 2020. Summer number two and the weeds invade again.
Oct 2020. Autumn colours and the new boundary hedge is maturing well.
Nov 2020. Winter again and time to dig our soil survey holes. Kim gets stuck in with the mini-digger.
Nov 2020. The holes are covered to avoid rain water getting in ahead of the engineer's inspection. We needn't have bothered as we'd dug down below the water table in any case and they quickly filled with water.
Jan 2021. A frosty morning from the back of the plot with the corners of the building approximately staked out.
Jan 2021. Fence repairs. Well, it felt good to achieve something during lockdown number two, no matter how minor.
Feb 2021. It never snows at the seaside!
May 2021. Another architect's impression.
The repaired fence, badly requiring painted.
Jul 2021. Huge excitement, after two long years of preparation, signs that something is about to happen on the site as the builder's hut arrives.
Jul 2021. A final inspection of what has so far been a very expensive quarter acre of weeds. We now have to hand control of the plot over to the builders but look forward to seeing it turn into something resembling a building site.
Jul 2021 - Our first visit since the builders arrived - exciting to see some action at last.
Jul 2021 - Beautiful summer evening and the house position is now staked out.
Jul 2021 - Evening sunshine on the empty plot.
Jul 2021 - That'll be the front door then.
Jul 2021 - Kim stands in her bedroom
Aug 2021 - Digging down and levelling the plot means we now have a decent mountain of beautiful sandy topsoil, for spreading once the building is complete.
Aug 2021 - It's a bit closer to level at the back now. The first pour of concrete is arriving later this week though, so plenty more digging to do.
Two years is plenty of time to mess around with design software. There are lots of inaccuracies here due to limitations of the software and its user, but I'm hoping this gives a vague "feel" of how the livingroom might look.
Aug 2021 - Neighbour's view of the foundation pouring... Thank you to Prue for sending us the photo. Sorry to have interrupted your morning coffee, but at least this was something different to watch from your patio windows.
Aug 2021 - Just managed to beat the rain and we have some foundations
Aug 2021 -That front door again.
Aug 2021 - Some timely sunshine after the downpour which is helping to dry out and set the freshly poured concrete.
Aug 2021 - The view from the office. The foundations clearly visible from 1300' above in the microlight.
Aug 2021 - Another big hole in the ground - this time for the rainwater attenuation system... Thanks to great negotiating with Scottish Water by Calum, our engineer, we are to be allowed an overflow from the soakaway to the sewer in the street. This is very much against their policy for new builds. Hopefully though, this concession means the garden wont turn a huge muddy bog every time there's heavy rain on the roof of the house.
Aug 2021 - Site meeting with Tom the architect and Phil and Alex the builders... Discussing how to deal with the embankment that's been created by digging into the rising ground to level the plot at the back. A minor structural change to the design will be required, but the external appearance will be unchanged.
Aug 2021 - Kim stands at what will be the window of her "dressing room"... The floor level of the house will be at the top of the two breeze blocks on the right. The garden ground will come up to this level to ensure no steps and a level transition between inside and out.
Aug 2021 - The mountain of topsoil is Gullane's new highest point... It will be used to backfill around the edges of the house, to bank up some of the slope at the rear and to provide a spread of good quality topsoil all over the main part of the garden.
Aug 2021 - The soakaway crates are now installed into the huge hole in the ground and the topsoil has been pulled back over... There's plenty of height now to allow a level transition. Slightly sad that the builder's van key is lost under there somewhere - for all eternity.
Aug 2021 - The soil pipe, mostly buried and the rainwater pipe, mostly visible, routing their way from the back of the house, around to the south and west sides... Builder Peter nervously enquires about progress on the cutting of the new van key so that he can eventually get home.
Aug 2021 - Kim chats to builder and the main man, Phil Green. Some infill hardcore is now down and a small wall is being built at the back with the rainwater drain pipe is still prominent for now... The house is of timber, steel and glass construction, but there's a little blockwork to be done to get us out of the ground. This will be below floor level though, with no hint of brickwork evident in the finished building.
Aug 2021 - Getting us out of the ground... The rainwater pipe sits a little higher than the soil pipe as they exit the building, in this instance, where the bike store meets the utility room. Shortly after the photo was taken a block was dropped on a toe and the language became a bit more colourful.
Aug 2021 - The levels are bonkers for now in what will become the garden... There's so much topsoil after excavations that we'll be able to make the garden whatever level we like. Maybe at the end we'll even have some excess to bag up and sell on ebay - "buyer collects"!?
For context, the floorplan.
For context, the site plan.
Aug 2021 - Got to start somewhere. Even beautiful architecture is a little bit industrial and unglamourous to begin with.
Sep 2021 - There's a bit more below ground blockwork now. Kim tentatively investigates.
Sep 2021 - The view from the top of "the hill". Who needs a drone with all that topsoil to climb up and observe from?
Sep 2021 - Our building has legs... We're missing this excitement due to being on holiday but received this photo via Phil and Richard as we ascended into network coverage on a mountain in Knoydart.
Sep 2021 - We've moved into the third dimension. Out of the ground and upwards. Great work from Icon Fabrications brings the shape of the main section of the building to life... There are a few more pieces of steel to be bolted on, but the primary structure is now there. That's the living/dining room, the office and the two bedrooms. The remainder of the house, on the north side, will be of timber construction, containing the lobby, kitchen, corridor, bike store, bathroom and shower room.
Sep 2021 - The clerestory windows' overhang starting to take shape... The roof's 12° pitch and its overhang distance combined are computed to provide shade in the summer, but allow direct sunlight in in the winter.
The steel superstructure, in almost all of its glory.
Sep 2021 - Phil and Kim enjoying the sun and admiring the steelwork. Phil just can't keep away, even on his day off.
A reminder of where this is all going, to put the steel structure into context... The triangular top sections of each internal wall will be mirrors on both sides which will give the illusion of the roof floating in space and being infinitely long. This will also "play tricks" at each end of the building, where there will be similarly shaped triangular windows, leaving the observer trying to work out whether they are looking at a mirror or through a window. All classic Murphy stuff.
Sep 2021 - Good to see the boss getting stuck in... Phil lays the final few blocks that will contain the concrete slab - 24m³ of concrete due to be poured in two days' time.
Sep 2021 - Pouring the slab. Two lorry loads done and half way... This isn't the final floor level though. On top of this concrete subfloor will be a thick layer of insulation. Then, above that, the sand and cement screed, containing the underfloor heating pipes, will be poured, with the final floor finishes sitting above that. The screed layer will act as a huge storage heater throughout the house, split into separate rooms and zones for control.
Sep 2021 - The next load arrives - from Galashiels - after quite a lengthy wait to the frustration of the builders.
Sep 2021 - The concrete is poured into the hopper from where it will be pumped to its location via the high pipe.
Sep 2021 - The concrete arrives from miles above the tree height. This thing is visible on the skyline from all over the village.
Sep 2021 - Over the top it goes. I guess that pump has to be able to deliver concrete over the top of buildings much bigger than ours.
Sep 2021 - Pouring and laser levelling the slab, carefully supervised by Phil of course.
Oct 2021 - A loose fit of the bespoke timber kit... The timber structure was built offsite at the builder's workshop and transported in sections to Gullane. This is the front door to the right and the bike store door, which will be disguised, to the left.
Oct 2021 - Looking inside through the bathroom window.
Oct 2021 - Lovely looking powder coated steel finishing sections ready to be added.
Oct 2021 - Site meeting with the builder and architects. Phil, Richard, Tom and Kim in the makeshift “meeting room”.
Oct 2021 - Richard and Phil consult in the autumn sunshine.
Oct 2021 - The front door and the bike store door cut properly down to size now.
Oct 2021 - The timber kit. High level bathroom and utility windows to the north side and the large feature window over the bath at the back.
Oct 2021 - The master bedroom, dressing room and bathroom.
Oct 2021 - The powder coated steel finishing pieces now fitted to the large overhang.
Oct 2021 - Its going to be a strong, solid feeling house. That is chunky, heavy steel up there.
Oct 2021 - The front door and bike store door from inside.
Oct 2021 - Timber and steel meet in perfect harmony... The overhang brushes against the nearest silver birch tree, but luckily the tree can remain and doesn't need to be sacrificed.
Oct 2021 - The front door and the bike store door.
Oct 2021 - The "disappearing corner" appears.
Beautiful galvanised and powder coated steel edging pieces in the north west corner.
Oct 2021 - Keeping an eye on the build from above.
Oct 2021 - Man on a roof. We now have some roof with insulation too... Phil and the team are packing up on a Friday afternoon for a well earned weekend after a great week of progress on the house.
Oct 2021 - Some shelter available now, should it rain.
Oct 2021 - The steelwork is finished now and gleaming in the beautiful autumn sunshine.
Oct 2021 - Housewrap - Goretex for houses. Langskail now sporting its waterproof, breathable anorak.
Oct 2021 - Wide shot from the front corner of the garden.
Oct 2021 - Housewrap at the back.
Oct 2021 - Aerial view.