Self-build solution: Homemade ranch style winner

Tucked away down a single-track road, two miles from the village of Heriot in the Scottish Borders is a settlement of six or seven households on former farming land. There is the farmhouse itself, a more modern bungalow, as well as several steading conversions and new-builds dotted about.

The Boorach, which is an impressive five-bedroomed family house, was built in 2006 by owners Billy and Alison Hyslop. Billy recalls: “We had previously lived in the bungalow nearby in the 1990s, and then moved to the village of Heriot. When a plot here became available in 2004 we jumped at the chance to move back and build ourselves.”

The plot was occupied by a cowshed, which had to be demolished before building began but it was no great loss to architecture, according to Billy.

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The Hyslops employed local architect Sally Ruel to design a house fit for their four-child family’s requirements. Billy adds: “We opted for a timber frame and then we built a lot of the rest of it ourselves, with help from friends – and the kids.”

The Boorach, Heriot, Scottish Borders
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Billy works as an aircraft engineer based at Edinburgh Airport, but has developed building trade skills from helping on other projects and experience gained working on a previous self-build.

The design of The Boorach reflects some core principles the Hyslops are keen on – with open-plan living incorporated both horizontally and vertically with huge feature windows, the house maximises the far-reaching views on all sides.

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Billy explains: “We definitely liked the open-plan style of living but we were also keen to build something sustainable and easy to heat. It is very well insulated.”

The house has under-floor heating throughout the ground floor and gets an impressive amount of solar gain from the full-height window that illuminates the dining space. The kitchen and sitting room lie to either side – the latter boasts a wood-burning stove too.

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The Boorach, Heriot, Scottish Borders

An ensuite bedroom on the ground floor is currently used as a family room, while upstairs four other bedrooms and a bathroom are on one side of the house, while across a spectacular bridge lies the ensuite master bedroom.

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It is a cleverly designed house with plenty of practical features within its impressive layout. The downstairs ensuite also has a door to a spacious utility room, for instance – so providing a loo and shower close to the back door,

On completion, Billy says: “We didn’t have to add much, although adding the verandah certainly changed the way we use the house. That side was a bit of a utility area with a garage and access to the stables. But it is east facing and offers shelter, so it is now a fantastic place to take our morning coffee.”

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An equestrian member of the family was added during the build. Billy says: “The children used to ride the local farmer’s ponies and wanted one of their own. We still have her, she is 30 now and retired.”

The Boorach, Heriot, Scottish Borders
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A new stable was built on the back of the garage to house the new arrival, as an existing, older stable block was due for demolition.

But Billy and Alison reconsidered, and it was instead turned into first a games room, when the kids were younger, and when they left home it was repurposed as a home bar with its own wood-burner. Billy adds: “It is a great party spot, especially at New Year when we open the bar for neighbours all day.”

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The garden, measuring three quarters of an acre, has evolved over the years with the addition of a pond most recently.

It is now time to downsize but Billy acknowledges it will be difficult to find something to measure up, having built The Boorach to their exact specifications. What the Hyslops have created is a perfect rural retreat, with all mod cons.

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The Boorach, Heriot, Scottish Borders

The Boorach, Heriot, Scottish Borders, has a guide price of £650,000.

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For more information, contact Galbraith on 07867 977633.

The Boorach, Heriot, Scottish Borders
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The Boorach, Heriot, Scottish Borders