Cowieswells is a derelict farm south of Stonehaven in NE Scotland. We were lucky enough to acquire the place in August 2010 when we were moving back to the UK from Norway and looking for something to match or even better our previous, fjord-side home. The farm house and steading (barns) command an impressive and exposed cliff top location with fantastic views across the North Sea. The buildings were constructed from sandstone in a traditional style and our goal in rebuilding it is to be sympathetic to the original design whilst creating a much larger house which is modern, efficient and maximizes the unique views.

Since we bought the place we have spent over a year working with architects, planners and generally doing stuff that doesn't make for interesting reading. This blog picks up the renovation process in late 2011 when work outside got started. Over the coming months it will be updated every week or so with pictures, movies and the odd bit of text. Like Grand Designs but without the suave sarcasm of Kevin McCloud.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Cowieswells is a farm house and steading (traditional stone barn) in the village of Crawton near Stonehaven. The farm sits 500 m from the cliff top and commands impressive views eastward over the North Sea. The place had been seriously neglected by the former owner who had done nothing to it for 40 years. The roof was missing on the east and north sections of the steading and hanging off the west wing. The centre of the steading was an asbestos cattle barn. The entire place was literally and figuratively full of shit,

The house was boarded up and very run down inside. Plaster was hanging off the walls, it was damp and the electric was the old round pin plugs from the 1960's. The kitchen and bathroom were extremely squalid. This was a property in need of a lot of attention, which is exactly what we plan to do over the next two years.

This blog will track the project.

 View of house and steading from the road 
 Steading and cattle court from the sea 
Roof hanging off the north part of the steading 


  1. Hi! Your blog was recommended to me by my friend Jenni Clayton, and I must say I'm very jealous: this is exactly what I hope to do one day. In the mean time I'm going to follow your blog and learn from it! So far, it looks fantastic! Very exciting :)

    1. Welcome, hope you enjoy the blog and I also hope you get to build your own place one day. Its certainly an experience

  2. oh, we are actually building our own house here in Houston, TX. Very modern house, foundations being poured as I type. We have a blog too: http://maxieproject.blogspot.com but your project is really really cool, we want to do something like that one day in France (we're french). I'm working through your blog every chance I get, which is not THAT often: my two little boys are keeping me busy ;). Also, I try not commenting too much on your blog, but so far, everything I see/read is really amazing, and the views of the sea... oh my! Also: very good photos! And very cute little girl!