Beekeepers Cottage

So delighted with our latest feature for Grand Designs magazine – yay we made the cover!

The feature looks fantastic

The owner, Kate Atchley, is a beekeeper and has built herself a contemporary home in the Scottish Borders. The house references the timber construction of a traditional beehive in a garden. There is a kink in the design to follow the bend in the lane that the house is located on and as a result, the house is very distinctively shaped: few of the rooms are square, ensuring that it fits perfectly on the relatively tight site.

Kate chose Edinburgh based Zone Architects and a productive collaboration ensued, they were able to include all of Kate’s ideas and some from her grandson who was studying architecture at the time at Edinburgh University. The result is a unique solution, a true haven, with high scoring eco credentials, which were paramount to Kate, sustainability was her starting point.

The house has been constructed in SIPS panels, offering a relatively swift process but the build still took three years to complete and a huge amount of energy and attention. However, in the end, Kate has a beautiful home in a glorious setting where she can enjoy her many interests. These include her beekeeping: she sells honey at her gate, makes beeswax candles and preserves with fruits and vegetables. She has become an expert in fermenting, for which she has a spacious larder and utility room, where she makes Kombucha and a wide variety of delicious drinks, jams and chutneys.

I was alerted to the house by the landscaper Nick Burton who is rightly proud of the beautifully designed garden, abundant with pollinating flowers.

The interior is more colourful than you might expect in such a contemporary house. ‘There is no white’ Kate explains, ‘I did not want my home to be a clinical white box.’ She has, instead painted most walls a pale warm grey and the woodwork a slightly darker shade, introducing strong earthy colours in the main living spaces. She admits that she is very fortunate to have a daughter who is an interior designer in London, Zoe Moore, with whom she consulted frequently.

Kate moved in on March 23rd, 2020, the first day of Lockdown, a bleak moment, but the house gave her everything she needed during that difficult time. ‘I had been renting in the village throughout the build, so my neighbours were not strangers, thank goodness, and the house gave me comfort and solace during the months when I was unable to travel or see my family.’

There are three bedrooms, and a self contained guest space, above, with its own kitchen area and bathroom, below. Kate has named this space Wren Studio, and it can be found on Airbnb as well, if anyone is looking for a peaceful, healing break in this amazingly tranquil setting.

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