TAP creates two courtyard dwellings from former stable


A new, two-storey extension was proposed, which would provide the necessary additional floor area to make both properties function and also allow the layouts to be reconfigured, opening up the internal spaces to provide more daylight and outlook to the gardens and woodland beyond.

The Square has a beautiful setting with gardens and pastures on one side and steep, wooded hillsides on the other. The Square itself is a building with strong character, defined by courtyards and an extremely varied roofscape, with a multiplicity of chimneys, turrets and crow-step gables.

We gave the extension tall, narrow proportions and strongly defined gable ends with a chimney-shaped profile extruded along the length of the ridge-line. In this way the new struc­ture joins in the array of expressive roofs and gables that characterises the original building. On entering the lower storey there are now views directly through the build­ing and out to the garden. At the upper level, to avoid overlooking the garden of the stables below, windows are placed at high level, with south light coming into the master bedroom via a long clerestory window placed on the side of the ‘chimney’ roof-form.

The client brief was to reconfigure and extend the pair of properties, so that both had at least two bedrooms along with generous living spaces. The solution has been a two-storey extension located on the north side of the building, which links to the existing building at both ground and first-floor levels.

The project forms part of ‘The Square’, a double courtyard structure built in two phases in 1830 and 1919 on the Dunira Estate in Perthshire. The estate is designated a Special Landscape Area and sits within the River Earn valley, two miles west of Comrie.

Start on site October 2019
Completion Building works completed in summer 2022; landscaping mid-2023
Gross internal floor area 225m2
Form of contract Traditional SBCC
Construction cost £400,000
Construction cost per m2 £1,778
Architect TAP Architects
Client Private
Structural engineer Morgan Associates
Principal designer TAP
Main contractor Andrew MacDonald Construction
CAD software used Revit



Architect’s view

The restoration process was painstaking, peeling-back older, dilapidated layers of con­struction and then installing new elements of structure and breath­able, insulated linings. This has secured the long-term stability and restored the character of the original building.

Once used as stables with an upper-level granary, they had been converted to residential use in the 1960s but had been left uninhabited for many years and had fallen into poor condition.

Neil Taylor, director, TAP Architects

Extensive changes were required, including damp-proofing, struc­tural stabilisation, roof replacement and entirely new electrical, heating and drainage systems, along with new insulated finishes. The arched openings to the courtyard façade, which had been blocked up, were revealed but proved to be in a precarious state of near collapse and in need of major repair.

White-painted larch cladding with simple window openings and dark grey metal roofing correspond to the colour palette of the existing building. The arched openings to the south façade have been reinstated, addressing the entrance courtyard.

Edinburgh-based TAP was approached to prepare designs to extend and restore two dilapidated properties that form The Square’s north-west corner.


Project data