A corrugated aluminium clad single-storey house by Rural Design on the Isle of Skye


David Barbour

Tinhouse by local practice Rural Design is located on the north-western tip of the Isle of Skye, overlooking The Minch – a sea strait separating the Inner and Outer Hebrides.


Constructed on a steeply sloping site, the single-storey dwelling shares the same design ethic as its sister project and neighbour the Wooden House, writes Rural Design. While the latter celebrates timber detailing, the former makes use of metal sheeting commonly found on agricultural buildings. The walls and roof are clad in mill-finished corrugated aluminium to provide a contemporary aesthetic and protection from storms. A long, horizontal slot cut in the north elevation offers a panoramic view of the land and seascape.

Designed and self-built by practice founders Gill Smith and Alan Dickson, the external materials were chosen for reasons of simplicity and ease of construction by one person. This approach also extended to the interior where recycled timber pocket doors are fitted with simple cut-outs instead of ironmongery, wooden dowels are used as door handles or coat pegs, and surplus cement boards frame the shower opening. Elsewhere, timber boarding, concrete floors and plywood joinery provide a character that is both modern and rustic.


The furniture also reflects the handmade nature of the house, and includes a concrete topped dining table on Douglas fir sawhorses, built-in beds and seats constructed from leftover structural timber, a prototype ‘Mobius’ coffee table and offcuts of Douglas fir as bedside tables.

Additional Images

Download Drawings

Building credits

Rural Design
Wall, roof cladding
Rigidal Aluminium Sheeting
Aluminium windows
Bradstone Panache Paving Slabs

Kirkwood Kitchens
Ideal standard