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Downie's Cottage

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This project was the refurbishment of an early 19th C croft house. 3-bay, single-storey and attic, rectangular-plan crofting cottage situated on high ground overlooking Braemar village in the Cairngorms National Park. Rubble with lime render and pointing. Corrugated-iron roof covering heather thatch.


NORTH ELEVATION: Timber lean-to porch to centre, breaking eaves with timber door to left side; windows flanking. Smaller single windows to S and W elevations.


INTERIOR: traditional plan arrangement comprising two principal rooms to E and W with central core of box-beds and stair to roof space. Room to E: stone flags to floor; raised hearth with granite shelf to right and cast-iron fire back with rose motif; timber 'hanging-lump' above with shelf to base of cowl; small wall niche to right. 2-leaf paneled timber doors to cupboards and box-bed. Room to W: remnants of fireplace and box-beds. Further box-bed behind staircase. Roof space and stair lined with timber and 19th and 20th century newspaper and magazine print; 2 further box-beds to W end of roof space. 9-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Coped and rendered ridge stacks located toward gable ends.


Downey's Cottage is an exceptionally rare and important survival of the open-hearth tradition of vernacular building in the North East of Scotland. This simple 3-bay cottage is remarkable for its largely intact interior with traditional plan arrangement with rooms to E and W and a central core comprising box-beds and a stair to the roof space. Key points of interest include the raised stone hearth beneath a timber 'hanging-lump' chimney, and 19th and 20th century printed newspaper lining and heather thatch beneath the corrugated-iron roof covering


The cottage had been empty since 1933, and was in a poor condition on the ground floor. The West gable was fragile and parts of the south wall had collapsed. The upper floor and roof were in good condition. No services present. Heating by 2 open fires in each gable.


The aim of the project was to bring back the building back into residential use (as a holiday property) but retain its historic character and finishes, as well as ensuring that the property fulfilled modern expectations of comfort at this exposed site. To ensure technical compatibility with the existing fabric traditional materials and techniques were used for the fabric repairs.




  • U-value (pre-intervention) [W/m2K]:1,765W/m²K
  • U-value (post-intervention) [W/m2K]:1,226W/m²K



  • Existing window U-value Glass [W/m2K]: 5,0
  • New window U-value Glass[W/m2K]: 5,0
  • Existing window U-value Frame [W/m2K]: 1,4
  • New window U-value Frame [W/m2K]: 1,4

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