A self-build in Scotland with stunning sea views

The Brown family spotted their dream plot by chance. They’ve now built ‘Glasshouse’, a contemporary home with breathtaking views across the iconic Firth of Forth.

Alan Brown and his wife Lucy had viewed over 50 properties in their long search for their “forever family home”. Nothing had excited them until a serendipitous moment while out on a dog walk in Dalgety Bay, Fife. While walking along the waterfront, they saw a for sale sign next to a patch of overgrown woodland that overlooked the famous bridges.

Alan phoned a local estate agent who said the plot was going to a closing date in just two days. The couple quickly put in an offer of just over £31,000, which was accepted.

Deciding to go the self-build route was a “big risk”, says Alan. “The land had no planning permission. We talked to our architect who advised us to spend time with him designing our dream home before applying for full permission on an architect-designed property”.

The approach worked as the local planning department accepted the plans straight away.

Glasshouse has a unique upside down layout to take adventage of the views

The house, designed in an ‘upside-down’ layout, took fifteen months to build. There are four bedrooms downstairs: a master with dressing room and en suite, en suite guest bedroom and two bedrooms with an interconnecting bathroom for Alan and Lucy’s twin daughters.

Upstairs, the open plan kitchen/dining/living area takes full advantage of the incredible views over the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh and to allow more privacy from passers-by walking along the nearby Fife coastal path route.

The glasshouse kitchen

The aptly named Glasshouse enjoys an abundance of natural daylight, flooding through the home from 11 VELUX® roof windows and glazed exterior walls. A unique and stylish glass panel measuring four square meters on the first floor allows light to stream into the hallway below with recessed LED lighting making it a striking feature after dark.

The dining room at Glasshouse

The living room gets an abundance of daylight thanks to two VELUX INTEGRA® solar powered roof windows and two manual roof windows with solar blackout blinds.

“I had an early vision of us sitting on the couch in the living room in front of the log fire looking up at the sky watching the stars or the snow falling on the windows during winter,” says Alan. “The roof windows in the living room turned out exactly as we wanted and is my favourite part of the house. It’s a view we’ll never get bored of.”

Kitchen and lounge area

Living room with views of the Forth

A further four roof windows with solar blackout blinds have been installed in a purpose-built luxury garage split over two floors. The ground floor has room to park two cars and then opens up to a carpeted hallway with en-suite shower room and a staircase leading to the first floor that opens up to an open plan one bedroom studio apartment that mimics the décor and feel of the main house.

The garage was a last minute addition after their plans changed from a three storey house to a two, resulting in the ground floor of the original plans moving to the new garage.

Although Alan has installed LED lighting round some of his windows and the staircase leading from the ground floor to the first, he can mostly do without artificial lighting – even on cloudy days.

The Brown family

“It’s been a long journey, and at times stressful with the odd hiccup here and there, we’re absolutely thrilled with the end result and love the look and feel of our home,” says Alan. “The VELUX roof windows and skylights have helped transform this house and I don’t think we’ll ever get bored of looking out over the Firth of Forth to the iconic Forth Rail Bridge.”

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