This gorgeous contemporary lodge, a two bedroom new build on the edge of Loch Venachar in Stirlingshire, is a must-go destination for the adventurous. The owners are property design duo, Debbie & Dene Happell of Nest Scotland

Debbie & Dene Happell

Debbie’s family have owned a holiday home on the edge of Scotland’s Loch Venachar for nearly 20 years and they recently had the opportunity to build another place for rental on the land. ‘’The surrounding hills are great for walking and mountain biking, and for watersports the lochside location is perfect’ Debbie shares. An old shed sat on the site originally, but Debbie and Dene wanted to build something quite ambitious and architecturally significant to really make the most of this unique spot.

They regularly work closely with a Glasgow based architectural practice called Cameron Webster. ‘We appointed them as the architects, but we all collaborated on the design and Nest acted as main contractor’ Debbie explains. So, although it was clearly a major undertaking, as both contractor and clients Debbie and Dene were able to ensure that everything went very smoothly. The result is a wonderfully creative space, carefully designed to incorporate the beautiful surroundings.

They named the house ‘Coorie’ a Scots word for ‘nestle’. It has similar implications to the Danish word ‘Hygge’: a feeling of cosiness, that is hard to define or measure, but is unmistakable when you experience it!

The main living space is upstairs and enjoys a large, sheltered balcony, deliberately angled to overlook the nearby loch and the spectacular views of the surrounding forests and mountains. ‘None of the rooms are quite square, in fact there are very few right angles in the house’ Debbie points out. ‘The interior styling is spare, almost minimalist, as we wanted the views to be the star feature’ Debbie explains, ‘but the finishes are all very luxurious. At the end of a day kayaking or mountain biking, home comforts are very much appreciated!’

Clad in black timber, with the aim of almost camouflaging it among the surrounding trees, the results are still extremely striking. You feel enveloped in the space: both the interior and the extraordinary setting offer a strong sense of well-being.  Their home sparkles in sunshine, of course, but also makes a wonderful haven in a storm. Whatever the weather, all year round, the building is a delight, inside and out.

Triple glazing, an air source heat pump, excellent insulation and underfloor heating all seriously contribute to the house’s eco credentials which was a fundamental aim of the project. An abundance of sheepskin rugs, traditional style tongue and groove wall paneling and a woodburning stove all add to the cosy ambience when the Scottish winter sets in.

Interior choices contain a mix of mid-century furniture, contemporary artwork, a passion of Debbie and Dene’s, and natural materials, such as tree trunks salvaged from the nearby woodland. All skillfully blended with chalky paint tones and a gorgeous selection of Scottish textiles, including pastel Harris Tweeds and vivid Timorous Beasties prints. 

There is no denying how perfectly the heathery tones of the tweeds and plaids complement the colours surrounding the house. As a result, inside and outside weave together perfectly, so whether you are in front of the fire on a blustery evening, or out on the balcony enjoying a burst of sunshine, the scenery can be enjoyed to the max. The interior finishes chosen, allow the landscape to enter this newly built home through every crevice.

Considered lighting, with a hint of fun and colour, was not a finishing touch, but rather, sensitively planned from the start. The sun sets earlier in winter here in Scotland, rather like their Scandinavian neighbours. So, although you will find it is still broad daylight at 10 or 11pm in summer, in winter, dusk falls at 3 or 4 pm so cheerful, so gentle lighting is essential and gives their home a friendly, welcoming glow.

Chic and cosy, with so much to do on the doorstep, the Happell’s country home offers both endless opportunities for exploring and adventure with a sense of escape that is quite exceptional in a property only an hour away from Glasgow. ‘Callander is a five-minute drive and provides every convenience’ Debbie explains, ‘but the moment you are back home you feel an amazing feeling of retreat!’ 

You can read more about Coorie in the February 2023 issue of House Beautiful magazine.

Find out more about Coorie and Loch Venachar Lodges here

Coorie sleeps 4, from £260 per night


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