By November, the building was sealed against the weather. The external walls are Stirling board with fine-sawn Douglas fir cladding which has been treated with Sikkens micro porous finish and then covered with a Tyvek membrane, made from polyethylene fibres. This helps stop air flow through wall cavities and keeps out bulk water and wind-driven rain.
During the next school summer holidays, the Rochesters made a big push to get the house ready for furniture to be brought in during October half term, Pine floors, balustrades, stairs, door linings/stops architraves, door hanging, skirtings and cupboard doors were all completed by Mike. The internal part-glazed doors, with their long stainless steel handles, are a variation on doors spotted in a restaurant in Llangollen. Liming the pine floor, so that it does not turn orange in the sun, is a useful tip passed from a friend who built a home in Norway. From the vast scale of the cathedral ceiling living area to the detail of the Zen water garden, the finished house stands proudly in the Highland landscape, a testament to hard work, patience, obstinacy and sheer persistence.
Text Kirstie Graham, Photos by Nigel Rigden