David Knox / Artist Bothy / North Berwick

An Artist Bothy provides a year-round home office and spare bedroom at this 19th-century former merchant’s house in North Berwick. The property is owned by Australia-based businessman and energy consultant David Knox, whose daughter lives in the house with her family. David wanted to add a new structure in the garden that would complement its historic surroundings and provide a practical, flexible space for everyday use. He was in Scotland in July 2022 to see the bothy being constructed and was impressed with the speed and quality of the build.

This is David’s bothy story:

We bought our house in North Berwick in 2015 to be close to my wife’s parents. It’s a Victorian house built around 1880 by a Glaswegian merchant’s family, and when we purchased it a lot of modernisation was required. We split it into two parts, including an annexe in the former servant’s quarters where my daughter now lives with her family. 

They have a young daughter and my son-in-law needed a private space he could use as an office, so we looked around for something that could be built in the garden. I came across Bothy Stores online and was attracted by the look and utility of the bothies. They seemed to be built to a very high standard, so we got in touch about putting one on an existing concrete plinth that had been occupied by an ugly log cabin.

 

A versatile multipurpose space

We knew we wanted to use the bothy predominantly as a home office and we looked at a few different layouts but eventually we ended up back at the original design. I suppose this shows how well considered the design of the space is. There’s plenty of room for a double bed, which provides the flexibility we wanted so the space can be used as an occasional guest room.

The other modification we made was to swap the usual wood interior for insulated plasterboard, which we painted ourselves. We had electricity and the internet installed and my daughter added a standing desk and the bed. We saved some space by not including a wood burner but the bothy is so well insulated I think it’s unlikely we’ll need much in the way of heating. The deck provides a really practical outdoor space that links the bothy to the annexe.

 

High-spec and high-quality

I was back in Scotland when the bothy was being erected and I could see that it was built to an extraordinarily high standard. The project began in early July as planned and the main structure was up in three or four days. Bobby has a very good team who lived in North Berwick while they worked on the bothy. It took three weeks in total to add the Corten cladding and the roof, along with the gutters, the Siberian larch on the gable, sheep’s wool insulation, and the internal plasterboard. 

We were aware that the spec of the bothy was perhaps more than is required for this site but we’re delighted to have something on our property that’s so beautifully designed and constructed. The unique thing about Bothy Stores is that they are used to building these bothies in the wilds of Scotland, so they’re made to an extremely high standard. I think it fits in just as well in our back garden in North Berwick as in the remote Scottish countryside and I’m very pleased with the outcome.