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Blair House

Glen Doll, Kirriemuir, Angus, DD8 4RD


  • 1 reception room. 5 bedrooms

  • Oriented to the south for passive solar gain

  • Highly energy efficient

  • Integrates multiple biodiversity features

  • Views south into Glen Doll

  • Opportunity to complete the finishing and fitting

Blair House is located in the stunning Glen Doll and enjoys beautiful views south into this iconic glen which is within the Cairngorm National Park. Not only is Glen Doll naturally dramatic countryside, it is a nationally important habitat …

Blair House is located in the stunning Glen Doll and enjoys beautiful views south into this iconic glen which is within the Cairngorm National Park. Not only is Glen Doll naturally dramatic countryside, it is a nationally important habitat for species like Alpine catchfly, Woolly willow, Fragrant orchid, Silver ladies’ mantle and Blue sow-thistle. The friendly and supportive community in the glen includes a ranger station, pub and restaurant at the Glen Clova Hotel which is open throughout the year and shops and facilities can be found at the historic village of Kirriemuir about 18 miles away. The town of Forfar has a range of facilities including a health centre, supermarkets, golf club, rugby football club, cafes and restaurants. Further afield the city of Dundee offers a wide range of facilities and attractions such as museums, major supermarkets, shopping centres with national retailers, and the new Victoria and Albert museum on the waterfront. Dundee has excellent bus and train links to the rest of Scotland as well as an airport with regular flights to London City airport and Belfast City airport.

There a number of options for education in the local area including Websters High School, Forfar Academy and the High School of Dundee as well as the University of Dundee and Dundee and Angus College.

Angus provides a range of recreational opportunities. Hiking and cycling may be enjoyed locally and the surrounding hills and glens provide a rich environment for many different country and outdoor pursuits.

Blair House has been designed by Tom Morton of Arc Architects in Cupar. It has been created to an impressive environmental standard, with a focus on passive design and to aid species-specific habitat biodiversity. One objective of developing the house was to incorporate features into the property which are designed to establish habitats for plants and animals and to help local flora and fauna establish and flourish.

The property remains unfinished and it will allow a new owner to continue and complete the house.

The mains walls are finished in vertical larch boarding and include bird boxes and bat roosts. These are already encouraging the return of species like swallows, blue tits, pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats that inhabited the old farm buildings formerly on the site. The main roof includes solar panels on the south side and a passive ventilation heat recovery terminal on the north roof. The single storey section on the principal elevation is finished in turf walling with a stone and turf base course and a roof designed to be colonised by moss over time.

Blair House benefits from good solar exposure throughout the year, with unobstructed views east, south and west. The arrangement of the windows allows for minimal artificial light pollution during the night with spectacular views of the Milky Way at night. The house also benefits from a low carbon design with energy being minimised through high levels of thermal insulation of natural fibre to reduce condensation risk, there is triple glazing, high levels of airtightness and natural ventilation including innovative passive stack ventilation with heat recovery. Passive solar gain is achieved from the south facing aspect and minimal glazing on the north side of the house, hot water is provided by solar thermal panels and the design allows for the future installation of photovoltaic panels. Clay plaster is used on the internal walls that are not already built from clay block with the aim of regulating the temperature and humidity inside.

With regards to the strategy for supporting flora, the roof on the north lower roof is designed to be colonised by local species of moss, and natural timber cladding to attract lichen growth. A turf and stone wall to the north side was created to also support ferns, grasses, moss and flowers. On the balcony, a planter out of reach of browsing animals was designed to provide the opportunity to grow some of the rare alpine flowers which grow naturally on cliff edges high in the glen. The boulders around the house soften its profile into the landscape and replicate habitat in wilder parts of the glen, providing niches for biodiversity to colonise. The exterior of the house uses local and traditional materials, with minimalist detailing, in support of the biodiversity objective of Blair House. To complement this, the walls are clad using natural timber boards of different widths, which takes inspiration from the surrounding woodland and the roof has corrugated sheeting with moss/lichen covering.

Ground Floor: Vestibule, Utility, Sitting Room with Dining Area, Kitchen, Two bedrooms, Bathroom

First Floor: Gallery, Study, Three Bedrooms, Shower Room, WC, Bathroom

Blair House has a south facing garden with stunning views over the open countryside into Glen Doll. There is a parking area to the north side of the house. The landscaping would be undertaken by the new owner, the landscape strategy was focussed on the house being set with a mina axis east-west to create a strong differentiation of character between the two sides.

The initial objective was going to be the planting of suitable fern, moss and other woodland species on the north side to complement this woodland side. The east and west side followed the natural ground slope south and this was going to include local boulders planted with local species at risk from browsing deer such as Downy Birch. The south side of the grounds reaches the open landscape into Glen Doll which is identified as good feeding ground for insects, birds and bats. It was thought that a pond and wetland area fed by rainwater would be a sustainable use of this land for supporting this wildlife. A new owner may wish to work with this initial strategy or implement their own ideas.