Tinhouse – A Small Self-built Holiday Home that Cost £110,000

Set on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, this small holiday home has been completed the architecture firm Rural Design. The house, dubbed the Tinhouse thanks to its exterior cladding, contains a total of 753 square feet (70 square meters).


The steep sloping site overlooks The Minch, a body of water separating the Inner and Outer Hebrides, a series of more than 100 islands and small skerries found off of mainland Scotland.

Tinhouse - Rural Design - Skye - Exterior - Humble Homes


The project was designed and completed by husband and wife duo, Gill Smith and Alan Dickson, who are also the founders of Rural Design. As it was a “hand-built” home, most of the materials were chosen for their ease of use with regard to a single person carrying and working with them.

Tinhouse - Rural Design - Skye - Facing Kitchen - Humble Homes


According to the architects: “Tinhouse is an essay in landscape, economy, construction and imagination”. The exterior roof and walls of the home have been clad with corrugated steel. Steel was chosen because it would protect the house against the sometimes ferocious storms the site is exposed to.

Tinhouse - Rural Design - Skye - Living Room - Humble Homes

On the inside, the Tinhouse is much more tranquil. It has a breezy beach-style finish. White panel walls, concrete and wood come together to create a comfortable, relaxing environment – the perfect atmosphere for a holiday home. The house drinks in views of the surrounding landscape through its many windows.

Tinhouse - Rural Design - Skye - Bedroom - Humble Homes

There are elements of vernacular design here to, like the concrete block wall placed behind the wood burning stove. It’s a simple functional solution, but it blends in well with the other elements of the living room. The layout is split between public and private spaces.

Tinhouse - Rural Design - Skye - Bathroom - Humble Homes

The public space consists of a single open plan living room, dining area and kitchen. The private areas consist of utility spaces, the bathroom and the master bedroom. The cost of the project amounted to a very reasonable – by UK standards – £110,000 ($145,700).

Tinhouse - Rural Design - Skye - Floor Plan - Humble Homes

For more small houses check out Koda, a prefab home that mixes technology and design. Or, Enough House, an exercise in minimalism by Sweetapple Architects. See all small houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: David Barbour

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. I too like the house interior, with its spectacular views. However, I give zero marks to the architect for designing a house that makes no attempt to blend into the pristine landscape. Maybe in time that corrugated steel cladding will rust to a mellow reddish brown and that will help it harmonize with the surroundings.
    Sorry, anothother example of designers who are brilliant in some areas but myopic in others.

  2. Nice house design, but, 110,000 quid!!! Jeez that’s a lot of money for very little house!

  3. @ Mike Friend

    1: Location… Isle of Skye… bleak, wind swept island off the mainland of Scotland. Translates into higher costs for transporting materials along with other construction costs. Would you physically build a house in that environment?

    2: Check out UK wages in relation to “your” location, wherever that may be. Higher UK wages compared to other countries brings relativity to the house price.

    3: Architects “tend” to charge like wounded bulls, and all to often many (but not all) of them are mediocre and use the same old same old designs slightly modified. I’d classify this as a classic example of same old, same old.

  4. @Michael – Yes it is shiny – at the moment – but as you note it will mellow. I don’t think it needs to rust to harmonise. In a couple of years in will dull to a less overt matt grey.

    @Paul – Skye has a bridge to the mainland so build costs are not as high as islands reached by ferry. However it is remote and building anything in the UK for less than £100K is a challenge which is bound to create compromises. That said I like it. Simplicity is the local vernacular.

    @Paul – Skye looking out across the Minch can be thrilling. Rarely comfortable the environment is in constant change and you never know when a sea eagle, a pod of dolphins or a whale will show.

  5. David Dittman

    Okay, no rust only dull oxidization. It will still remain an angular metal box with no thought given to the environment.
    Just my opinion. Others may love the look

  6. …..a connection with narrow human insight to the iconic true REAL world….”Shelter Rules”

  7. Others obviously do. Me? Meh! I personally believe that while form follows function (and not vice versa) a house should at least be pleasant to look at. This house purely and simply does not, Corrugated Iron notwithstanding. Internally I think it is pretty bland too.

  8. “…..Brutal but Beautiful…” all in the eye of the beholder..nothing less and nothing more..