The ‘ultimate dream home’ on banks of Loch Lomond

A view of the design of the Ripple Retreat.
A view of the design of the Ripple Retreat.
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Planning permission can be tricky, particularly if the location is one of Scotland’s most iconic, and inside a national park.

But a project breaking ground this Spring will see a daring and beautiful home built on the shores of Loch Lomond, with many in the building industry contributing to its creation.

The Ripple Retreat, a three bedroomed luxury waterside home, will be built on the southern banks of Loch Venachar by the charity It’s Good 2 Give after it received planning permission for an exceptional house designed by an award winning architect.

The charity, set up by Lynne McNicoll four years ago, has a long history of supporting families through their cancer ordeal. The former volunteer fundraiser with Teenage Cancer Trust says “My dream was always to build a special retreat but we really didn’t know where to start but a miraculous series of events this build is meant to be and we are so excited about the months ahead.”

A trustee of the charity introduced Lynne to a property developer who led her to architect, Tony Kettle, who has designed homes and buildings internationally. He agreed to design the house on a pro-bono basis. A local landowner then contacted the charity to offer land.

Lynne says “Securing Tony’s help was our first major win. But then the approach about the land came in. This wasn’t just any old plot. This was a south-facing waterside position on a loch which is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Ten minutes from Callander, in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and just over one hour from both Edinburgh and Glasgow. I couldn’t believe it and in many ways, I still can’t.”

The Kettle design was to maximise the waterside location but also cleverly suggests that it is to be enjoyed by children when you realise that it resembles an enormous Kirby grip. A gentle waving roof made of zinc, comfortably sits among the ripples of water and the rolling hills behind. The position of the building maximises the views to East, West and South with glazed panels which face each direction while a raised decking pontoon will allow great views of the Loch and the hills beyond.

Lynne says “When I saw the design, I was overwhelmed. We were anxious about planning and we weren’t sure if it would be supported, but actually, in addition to its purpose, Tony’s outstanding design is one of main the reasons the planners liked it. They told us it would only work if it was exceptional and it certainly achieved that.”

It will have all the comforts of home with toys, books, games and activities and will also benefit from fishing rights on the loch, is next to a national cycle path and is ten minutes from Callander.

With 40 families expected to use the retreat every year for short breaks it is likely to be well used.

“The sad reality is that 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. What Its Good 2 Give have been doing is supporting families who are thrown into the horror and despair of dealing with the news and then helping them to cope with day to day life. The Ripple Retreat takes our support to a different level.”

Lynne says “We are pretty close to reaching our £1m target for the house.”The charity has already received support from the housebuilding industry. Kitchens International will supply and build a kitchen dining room. Tiles are being supplied by Collinsons Ceramics. Housebuilder Walker Group will donate £100 to the charity for every home sold in the next three years and Barratt Homes are looking to sponsor a family friendly structure in the grounds.

The charity is working with a contractor at present and is hopeful that a start date of June 2015 can be achieved.

n The Scotsman Property Supplement will be following the build in a regular column.