The owners of Three Glens House in Dumfriesshire, Scotland have achieved something rare. They built a stunning carbon-negative property in the middle of a farm and transformed it into a luxurious guest house with a unique style and approach to hospitality.
Within less than one year, the property became a Scottish Design Awards 2014 finalist, it was awarded five-stars by Visit Scotland and the Rising Star Rural Escape award at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2014.
The property is a sustainable, energy efficient, ultra-modern eco farmhouse, guests have access to 360 degree views of breathtaking scenery, fresh produce from the farm itself, unrivalled privacy and a ski-chalet style service with a live-in chef and concierge.
Neil and Mary Gourlay, owners of Three Glens, enjoy a deep-rooted love of the land. A fourth generation local farmer, Neil was awarded Green Farmer of The Year 2011. With the help of Mark Waghorn Architects they achieved a lifelong project of creating a sustainable, environmentally conscious property where luxury and comfort would not be compromised.
Full height glass doors in a large and bright living room open electronically onto an elevated outdoor decked balcony, inside and outside light and colours interact as one.
The ‘four R’s philosophy’ of Reduce - Re-use Recycle – Recover lies at the heart of Three Glens’ vision.
All of the house's external walls have been insulated with wool from the sheep living in the farm, the stone used in the building was taken from the surrounding fields. The underfloor heating is fed by a ground-source heat pump, and supplemented by a wood-burning kachelofen set into a stone wall. The design is airtight so mechanical ventilation and a heat-recovery system was added to circulate air sufficiently.
Working towards off-grid status, Three Glens’ fascinating eco-features include:
- Electricity from the 100kW turbine on the hill.
- Ground-source heating (dug vertically to a depth of 100m)
- A biomass stove - the Austrian Kachelöfen
- Water from a bore hole
- Solar Thermal water heating
- Underfloor heating
- Triple Glazing
- Heat recovery system cleans air and redistributes it around the house
- Oak cladding from wind-felled trees on the surrounding land
- Sheeps' wool insulation - from the sheep on the farm
- Cow hide seats - from their cows
- The turf roof
- Delightful, reclaimed fittings that are over 80 years old, such as cast-iron baths and the porcelain sinks and loos
- Old disused railway sleepers are used outside and inside for furniture
- Reclaimed slate flag stones upcycled from a Victorian Greenhouse
If developers need evidence that a property can be both luxurious and completely sustainable, Three Glens is it.
By Renata Parolari Fernandes