Enveloped deep in the dramatic terrain of the Scottish Highlands lies an enticing hideaway in the form of contemporary build, 57 Nord.
Nestled amongst the ancient sea loch formations and the majestic Kintail Mountains sits the contemporary escape – a sanctuary for slow living, designed by owner Mumtaz Lalani in partnership with interior designer, Suzi Lee of Outside In Studio. Featuring interiors that honour the region’s Scandi-Gaelic heritage, and allow for the surrounding views to take centre stage, this unique build peacefully beckons many a guest seeking isolation and time away from the daily nine to five routine.
Situated on the edge of Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands and “overlooking the meeting point of three ancient sea lochs, the Kintail mountains and the iconic 13th century Eilean Donan Castle”, as Mumtaz Lalani describes, recharging and switching off has never looked so good. We caught up with owner, Mumtaz to learn more about the inspiration for the staycation venue…
#1 In terms of materials, how did you design the build to sit so seamlessly in with the nature that surrounds it?
“The key design focus is on the interplay between light and air with immense glass walls which roll back to blend the living space seamlessly into the landscape beyond. Large sliding doors between the bedroom and living area creates a greater connection to the landscape forming a space where guests are cocooned in luxury yet fully connected to the ever-changing elements around them, further elevating the concept of indoor-outdoor living. This careful spatial planning enhances the guests’ connection to nature, allowing them to observe the cacophony of birds, game and deer which wander across the land at different points of the day and night. In summer, guests climb into the high pillowy bed to watch the endless light at this latitude gradually dip into an inky blue. In winter, darkness comes earlier and the ancient Eilean Donan Castle is lit up as a gentle reminder of times past.”
#2 Talk us through the concept of the build and the type of space you were aiming to create, interior-wise, within 57 Nord.
“The interior design philosophy at 57 Nord pays homage to this region’s long and rich history, honouring the Norse-Gael heritage in western Scotland which dates back to the 9th century – a legacy still traceable today in local words, surnames and place names. The design is thus a luxurious balance of modern Scandinavian, mid-century and Scottish craftsmanship. The use of honest materials including wood, stone and brass are reflective of these distinct traditions uniting to form a luxurious and peaceful setting which connects to the surrounding nature. The spa-like bathroom exemplifies this with a deep stone soaking tub shaped like a worn pebble nestled within a marble canvas and stocked with luxury organic skincare products from L:A Bruket, a Swedish coastal skincare company with synergies with the west coast of Scotland. Lighting remains a key feature in the interior design. An opal and brass chandelier from Danish Nuura is inspired by the ever changing Nordic light and anchors the living room with a snowy-like peace, which is reflected back in winter months across the Kintail mountains. In the bedroom, a mid-century canopy bed is flanked by bold pendant lighting, a sculptural interpretation of water droplets, and softened by textiles from contemporary Scottish textile designers.”
#3 What sustainable factors were incorporated into the build?
“The footprint of 57 Nord was kept deliberately low to ensure that it sat seamlessly within the unspoilt landscape surrounding it. A modern interpretation of a traditional crofter’s dwelling, the Scottish larch and glass façade was designed with careful and distinct simplicity so as to ensure it was in keeping with the rugged spirit of such dwellings and built using predominantly local timber and labour. With sustainability in mind, the low energy heat pump warms the house effortlessly while the efficient insulation of the building envelope protects from the elements of the Scottish Highlands. The structure sits on an old croft (agricultural land) and the ruins of the crofter’s dwelling remain at the edge of the land further cementing the relationship between past and present.”
#4 In terms of interior design, what feel and experience was the client hoping to create for guests staying at 57 Nord and how has this been achieved?
“The intention with 57 Nord was to bring the cabin concept to a new level both in terms of design and guest experience. Slow living is at the heart of our philosophy and we place an emphasis on daily rituals; waking each morning and using our brewing guide to make the perfect cup of single origin coffee sourced from an award-winning roastery in Glasgow, taking the time for a soak in the deep stone tub with organic bath salts. Food and wine is taken seriously at 57 Nord and guests are supplied with a carefully sourced welcome hamper of local artisanal produce to start them off while the sommelier-selected wine offering is chosen with local produce in mind. All of our guests receive a copy of our in-house editorial which provides a curated selection of local restaurants and cafes, local artists and artisans, distilleries and walks in the local area along with suggested itineraries for those new to the region. Private tours and boat trips can be arranged upon request.”
Although remote, 57 Nord is notably easily accessible for both international and British guests. Only one and a half hours from the Caledonian Sleeper or two hours from Inverness International Airport, this beautiful boutique staycation will welcome you after your journey with open – architectural – arms, set in sweeping vistas that promise to showcase the true beauty of Scotland.
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