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Strone Cottage

A Highland cottage transformed by timber

It’s an architect’s dream: a stone cottage on a hillside in the Scottish Highlands, mountain views in every direction, and a brief to extend the footprint with a contemporary contrast to the traditional building. When Strone Cottage’s owners commissioned Glasgow-based Loader Monteith to transform their newly bought house into a light-filled family space, the firm took the approach of “making openings and pointing them towards the views”. 

A dormer extension, new living area and retreat wing behind the main house are all clad in Russwood Thermopine® cladding painted black.

Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography
Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography
Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography
Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography

A quality product, locally sourced

The team at Loader Monteith was searching for an external finish that would provide a contrast to Strone Cottage’s parged rubble walls, yet look great alongside those and the traditional slate roof. With the cottage being in the Cairngorms National Park, the practice was also conscious of the need to choose a material that would be easy for the planning department to approve. 

Strone Cottage is less than a mile from our main office and production yard, so for Matt Loader, architect at Loader Monteith, the decision to use Russwood was an easy one. The practice had already used our products for previous projects “to great effect”, and our thermally modified Scots pine cladding is ideal for use with paint coatings, so the black timber finish they had envisioned was easy to achieve. 

We didn’t see this as a difficult decision,” says Matt. “There is nothing more sustainable than supporting a local business and using materials with low embodied energy, plus the Russwood Thermopine is such a high-quality product.

It’s all in the detail

There were several reasons Loader Monteith was keen to specify Thermopine® for this project, but one was of particular importance: the detailing. We worked with them and the contractor, Anthony Robinson, from the very early stages to ensure that the new elements of the house would be super-sharp. The design includes both horizontal and vertical cladding which butt up against each other, plus areas where horizontal cladding meets the original stonework. Thanks to the quality of the Thermopine® and its stability, Anthony Robinson was able to create extremely neat finishes at these crossover points. 

Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography
Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography
Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography
Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography

An ideal substrate for paint coating

Thermopine® ticked all the boxes in many other respects, too. Its treatment with heat and steam means it is dimensionally very stable, so paint coatings can last up to three times longer than when applied to non-modified timber. This increases the lifetime of the cladding and substantially reduces maintenance, since the wood doesn’t shrink and swell like untreated wood. We factory coat the timber boards at our premises, which enhances adhesion and longevity compared to on-site application. 

Thermopine®’s durability in the face of the elements was an important consideration, as Strone Cottage is in a fairly exposed location that receives heavy snowfall and high winds. 

“We wanted something with a durability to it, without it costing the earth. The Thermopine® met all of these demands,” confirms Matt.

Specifier Tip: It is best to use secret fixings (rather than face fixed screws or nails) with coated or painted cladding, to avoid the risk of moisture ingress at the fixing points.

Strone Cottage is a home now

This story has a particularly happy ending. Strone Cottage’s owners, Ian and Patricia, originally purchased the house as a rural retreat for weekends and holidays. Since the work was completed, they have chosen to move in permanently, which allows them to enjoy the quality of the architecture – and the cottage’s incredible views – on a daily basis. 

Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography
Strone Cottage | Brushed Thermopine® cladding factory coated in RAL 9005 | Loader Monteith Architects | Nigel Rigden Photography

Products Used

Thermopine®

Thermally modified Scandinavian Scots Pine, modified using only heat and steam.
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