Posted on: 20th February 2018


Sitting in the office with a wood burning stove warming my back I listen to the roof squeaking in the gales.  The Northerly winds bring a chill but also to mind images of the beautiful, weather beaten landscape of Scotland.  Although my office at Carpenter Oak is based in Devon, we have projects spanning the breadth of the UK.  Many of the Scottish projects are with Roderick James architects who have offices in Devon, Wiltshire and Scotland.

Placed a few hundred feet above the Sound of Mull is Achabeag in Morvern, an estate boasting exceptional views, with homes that compliment the landscape and maximise their surroundings.  Achabeag is for locals and newcomers alike and includes plans for at least 6 affordable homes, two of which have been built by Carpenter Oak. The Fair and Square House and The Croft House are two affordable, energy efficient homes, designed by Roderick James ,with inexpensive low maintenance technology.


Also based at Achabeag is Carpenter Oak’s faceted curved timber framed house, ambitious in its design the curved structure is mounted by a glass shard which is double glazed to enjoy the view of the Loch.


“The lower section of the frame is faceted with a radius of nineteen and a half metres, with each bay of the oak frame being turned by six degrees in plan relative to its adjacent bay, creating a beautiful sweeping curve which compliments the surrounding views. The full front of the house has fixed glazing to increase the feel of being outside and enjoying the full outlook across the Sound of Mull.”

Carpenter Oak

Roderick James Architects continues to lead the design of Achabeag, creating sustainable modern versions of traditional Scottish buildings.

Carpenter Oak and Roderick James Architects’ other Scottish based projects include The Bothy, Tigh Na Mara and Tigh Darach.

The Bothy is built on the Island of Oronsay and involved shipping all building materials and tools to the island using a landing craft.  The traditional, simply designed, timber frame provides welcome accommodation and shelter. Emphasising the appeal and beauty of small living spaces, the Bothy embraces simple living and is free from modern technologies allowing the craftmanship of the building and the striking surroundings to be fully embraced.


Tigh Na Mara ‘House by the Sea’ is Roderick’s own property which encompasses a combination of styles, from oak rafters to glazed walls and stainless steel cross bracing.  Open plan in its design, the waterside views are maximised. Tigh Na Mara is constructed using Roderick’s ‘evolution frame’, designed to be adapted and extended easily.  The cladding system can be unclipped for the timber frame and reused in future extensions.


Tigh Darach ‘Oak House’ is of a fun and quirky design with hidden secrets throughout.  Built with expandable living in mind there are open verandas on two of the corners of the house that could be closed in at a later stage to provide further bedrooms.  The open plan design is cleverly divided using the oak frame posts instead of walls to create ‘rooms.’


Roderick’s current oak frame homes are designed to complement contemporary spaces with an emphasis on creating light filled, fun areas full of texture and interest. Roderick’s own homes experiment with and utilise sustainable technologies from solar panels and ground source heat pumps to hemp insulation and sedum roofs.

Also based in Scotland is Carpenter Oak’s most northerly yard in the UK –  Carpenter Oak Scotland.  The Angus premises are based on the banks of Loch Lintrathen on the southern edge of Cairngorms National Park.  They have built frames in the Orkney Islands, Highlands, Western isles, the central belt and Scottish Lowlands.

We are holding an Open Day on 16 March where visitors can come to the Scottish yard, see the carpenters in action and visit one of our projects just across the road.  Find out more and book your place here.

Carpenter Oak thrives on a challenge – be that in terms of design or site, they love working to realise a client’s vision.  Their talented craftsmen are motivated by past and future experiences that involve creating something out of the ordinary.  If you have a project in mind we would love to hear from you.