Photos © Pi Davidson and Marnix van Oudheusden

The Why

 

After a severe burnout we set about re-designing our lives by questioning what was absolutely essential to us as a family.

 

Our decision to put health and time at the centre of everything not only radically changed our lives, it brought us to a remote Scottish island where the seed of an idea began to grow. Could our experiences be of use to others?


Liquidating our assets, avoiding debt, living as simply as possible, our wish is to build a home and work space that allows us to use our experiences and skills, our journey, the wildness of Jura and the many inspiring people we've met along the way to connect with others, and so, ourselves.

The Aim


To create an ecologically considered space we can live and work, that brings in a moderate annual income for a family of four, is sustainable long term and does not depreciate as a capital investment.

The Vision

  •  

  • Simple spaces on the Isle of Jura for people to reclaim time and reconnect, to self, others & the wild; to go slowly and celebrate the creative pregnancy of boredom.


  • Analogue living: digital detox, making with hands, reading books, writing, drawing, playing board games, wild walks and wilderness experiences, foraging and wild food preservation.

  • Specific focus on helping jaded, stressed, burnt-out and those with mental health difficulties, with certain pro bono periods each year. 

 

ISLE OF JURA

  • Remote Scottish Hebridean wild island.  One of Europe's last great wildernesses.
     

  • 1 road, 1 school, 1 shop, 1 hotel, 1 church, 200 people, 6,000 deer, a million midges in summer!
     

  • George Orwell came to write 1984 here.  Bill Drummond and James Cauty came here to burn a million pounds.
     

  • Access only by a small ferry from the neighbouring whisky island of Islay. 
     

  • Severe lack of accommodation (tourism and local).
     

  • No mobile phone signal. Terrible wifi speeds. (and we embrace it!).
     

 

South

Our plot of land sits within the township of Knockrome, Isle of Jura PA60 7XZ

Scattered farm buildings, agricultural sheds, long houses, farm houses, white houses, small rural crofting buildings.

Timber clad agricultural shed

(music sound studio)

Archibalds Shed 14m x 9m

PHOTO gallery

Plot and Ideas - scroll through using arrows

PROJECT DETAILS


Our aim is to do this debt free. However, if there is a genuine reason that borrowing on top of this will make a significant difference we would be open to it, i.e. if the amount borrowed would result in sufficient capital assets or annual income to justify the expense/ borrowing.


SPACES ON SITE - THE ULTIMATE LIST

To build:
* Accommodation Huts
* Workshop / Gathering Space
* Residential House
* Mrs Leonard’s Cottage - additional accommodation

Other
* Parking
* Outdoor areas, e.g. paths, fire pit, pond

Already have but need placing on site:
* Tiny House Studio (already built - mobile pop up shop / cafe / additional accommodation / studio space)
* Shepherds Hut (already built - additional sleeping for teachers / workmen etc..)

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Budget

See spreadsheet for budget considerations.

Points to consider in terms of budget and associated investment & borrowing are
a) resale potential, i.e. value of land and buildings as assets
b) income potential

The project is a lifestyle choice but it still needs to be financially viable, given that this is Jura, not one of the larger more popular islands like Skye or the mainland and has more restricted appeal, particularly in terms of resale.

 

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Accommodation Huts
Beautifully simple spaces for reflection and recalibration.

Individual huts much more in keeping with ethos of retreat space/ artists room, etc. than shared guest accommodation wing and a nod to the Scottish tradition of bothies and hutting.

Sleep: 2 (+2 on additional sofa bed for children or if 2 people on a course that don’t want to share a double bed)
Lounge area with sofa bed & desk for writing/ working and space for eating
Kitchenette / sink
Bathroom - toilet (possibly compost), sink, shower (could be outdoor)
Utilities: (basic no utilities v more comfortable: hot water, loo, gas, water tbc)
Grey water to septic tank or portable individual tanks (like caravans)?
Wood burning cooking stove (only cooking source? What about summer?)




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Workshop / Gathering Space - Mrs Leonard's Cottage

 

Renovating 2 room traditional cotters cottage with attic space (for sleep?) add open plan extension
Sleep 2-4

Add bathroom
Similar set up to huts in terms of utilities

Simple, open plan, warm multi-purpose space for:
- Workshop for crafting, making, brewing, teaching
- Lounge space for visitors to read/ play games, have a cuppa if no workshops on.
- Library
- Ability to run small, private courses & workshops (up to 8 people + teacher on yoga mats for example)
- Facilities:
    - Kitchen area: sink; means of heating water & soup
    - Bathroom: toilet; shower (depending on hut spec / disable toilet)
    - Utility/ porch area for boots, coats, etc.
    - Office / Admin area

    - Extra beds

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House Space
Simple, highly insulated, ecologically sound home for family of 4, maximising use of natural light and connection to outdoors.

Essential elements:
- Utility/ porch area for bags, boots, dogs, wet clothes, washing etc.  (a decompression chamber; transition from outdoor to indoor)
- Laundry:  washing and drying facilities to launder changeovers (8 beds + family + towels)
- Easily accessible toilet from outside for mucky kids running in and out (could be main bathroom)
- Main bathroom needs bath & shower, shower over bath fine.
- 2 bedrooms minimum (but consider Dax and Alba getting older and visitors); bedrooms do not need to be big and can use space cleverly, e.g raised bed platforms with storage or desk underneath.
- Play area: D&A have lots of energy and often friends around. Space for them to play away from adults talking, making food, etc. is key to a sane household! Possible ideas: a specific play area; their bedroom(s) (e.g. if loft beds for them); communal area when not being used for workshops; bedrooms that “join” to form a bigger shared space
- Larder/ food storage (instead of wall kitchen cabinets to keep kitchen clutter free) with freestanding larder shelves
- Desk/ work area with shelves/ filing/ storage of some sort
- Vacuum / Tool kit / Cleaning equip storage
- Airing cupboard - linen storage
- Multi-fuel stove at heart of house that can be used for heating water and cooking while on, to use energy efficiently


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Other Spaces On site
Storage: wetsuits, diving gear, walking gear, fishing kit, craft materials, bikes, lawnmower, trimmer, gardening stuff, etc.

Log and bin shed

Fire pit circle:  communal outdoor gathering space

Potential areas developed for wood fired sauna / hot tub / outdoor shower & toilet (could be in shed)

Parking

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Ecological considerations

Ecological considerations are important and should be considered as primary options wherever suitable - insulation, rainwater harvesting, compost toilets, off grid, solar lighting, low energy, back boiler, etc.


 

Pre Planning Application


Knockrome, Isle of Jura PA60 7XZ

 

Support for our project idea and planning approval in principal for:

 

  • 1 x two/ three bedroom residential long house

  • 3 x off grid bothy huts (2 - 4 people self-catering accommodation and work units)

  • 1 x retreat / workshop studio shed space

  • 1 x renovation on an old cotter's cottage plus possible extension

  • 1 x garage/ storage shed

May 2018: Email from Rory McDonald, Planning Officer Argyll & Bute Council
Response from Pre-Planning Enquiry

 

Project Difficulties

 

There are a number of challenges that make this project very challenging and need to be factored in to any solutions:

  • There are not sufficient builders and tradesmen on Jura or Islay to do the project locally without it taking a very long time.

  • Using remote teams requires putting people up for long periods. Accommodation is difficult to find.

  • Offsite modular building may be preferential therefore.

  • However delivery is constrained by the wee ferry between Islay and Jura which has a maximum width of 2.85m and steep disembarkation point.

  • Delivery costs to Jura are expensive.

  • The weather makes building outside difficult to plan.

Please contact:

Pi Davidson

07876 681165

pi@pi-designs.com

Lynton Davidson

07949 030699‬

lynton@basicunit.com

Boiden Cottage

Knockrome

Isle of Jura

PA60 7XZ