This renovation of the Sandaig Thatched Terrace is certainly a real highlight in the Roots portfolio because it carries with it a lot of significance for the built heritage of the Isle of Tiree.
This is the only terrace of 3 thatched roofs on the island. Once a common method for roofing homes on Tiree, there are now only around 8 thatched cottages remaining on the island. This project is particularly rare because thatch is being added as part of this renovation.
The image above shows the Sandaig thatched cottages on the right in around 2011. The cottages are 'Category B Listed Buildings' and a prominent landmark on the West Coast of the Island. The photo below shows the derelict condition of the cottages around the same time. You can start to see how the thatch has become patchy due to a lack of maintenance. By 2017 the repeated assault from fierce Atlantic winds over the years had really taken its toll and the skeletal roundwood structure below the thatch had becomeclearly visible.
A change in ownership of the property brought the restoration project back online in 2017 and plans are well underway to transform this former museum into a luxury second home.
The original roof was condemned due to the severe damage it had suffered. We are ecstatic to see the cottages look less like ruins and more like houses again as a new timber frame roof structure has been constructed above the existing stone walls. The cottages are regaining their distinctive shape thanks to the work of Graeme MacColl and the team at CKR Island Construction!
As you can see from the photos below... the thatch for roofing the cottage has now arrived on the island. The project will be using Errol Reed rather than Maram Grass which would have been traditionally used. This is for several reasons. There aren't sufficient quantities of Maram Grass available on the island now to supply another thatch cottage, and hatchers are in short supply. In addition to this, the reed is a more durable material that will be better at shedding rainwater and be more resistant to bad weather on this site. Reeds grow naturally on the island so the material still feels in keeping with the landscape.