Choosing to build a home on the water's edge can result in the most idyllic of settings. Take a look at these four designs, each with beautiful views over a lake. 

 rust house on lakeside in ireland - grand designs - self build

Image: Paul Tierney

Many people dream of living by the water, which is why lakeside sites often don’t come cheap. The challenge for self-builders and their architects is to maximise these scenic locations’ potential while respecting wildlife and mitigating any flood risk. Big windows are a must for making the most of views, while balconies and bridges can bring living spaces even closer to the water.

Rust-ic House, County Kerry, Ireland 

rust house on lakeside in ireland - grand designs - self build

Image: Paul Tierney 

Weathered corrugated steel is typically used to build barns and other industrial structures in County Kerry, Ireland. Urban Agency has created a similar look with this extension to a traditional stone cottage on an exposed site above Lough Caragh.

Called Rust-ic House, the building is not all it immediately seems: the walls are made from cast concrete, rendering them resistant to erosion, but are coated with an iron-oxide paint to give them their distinctive orange hue.

The client, who is approaching retirement, has spent years gradually renovating the original cottage, and uses the single-room addition as a second bedroom, increasing the property’s size by 58 square metres. The huge window ensures he wakes up to a view of the lough every day. 

The Glasshouse, Cotswolds, England 

large house on shore of lake in cotswolds - self build homes - grand designs

Image: Lakes by Yoo

Almost every room of this Cotswolds home connects to the water, thanks to its glass walls. The three-storey, 600 square metre villa rises through the surface of a lake, with a bridge to the shore providing a dramatic entrance – you can also arrive by boat.

large house on shore of lake in cotswolds - self build homes - grand designs

Image: Lakes by Yoo

Client Raj Tanna commissioned the project via luxury development The Lakes by Yoo, importing the expertise of Netherlands-based architect Mecanoo (mecanoo.nl) and Spanish contractor Boheme Development (bohemedevelopment.com), who devised a system to anchor the structure to the lake bed. A full-height atrium brings light down into an underwater basement with cinema. The house cost £3 million to build.

White Snake House, France

 modern curved white house on lake side - self build homes - grand designs

Image: Erick Saillet

When clients asked French architect Pierre Minassian to design them a house surrounded by trees on their 40-hectare estate in eastern France, he convinced them to build over the lake in a forest clearing instead, with the promise of a swimming pool set into the water. Called White Snake House, the single-storey, minimalist home looks like it floats on the lake’s surface, but is actually supported by pile foundations concealed underwater.

modern curved white house on lake side - self build homes - grand designs

Image: Erick Saillet

To build them without disturbing the surrounding ecosystem, a dyke had to be erected around the construction site. The house has two bedrooms, two studies and a gym, along with expansive living and dining spaces. Large white concrete slabs form the roof and floor, while the exterior walls are made from transparent glass and slide open to let in a cooling breeze.

Read more: Grand Designs TV House: dramatic lakeside Lincolnshire round house

Loch Tummel, Perthshire, Scotland 

house on loch tummel in scotland - self build homes - grand designs

Image: Dapple Photography

Located deep in Scotland’s Perthshire highlands between Loch Tummel and the southern peaks of the Cairngorms, this rural house has an idyllic setting. A couple planning for their retirement asked WT Architecture to build a contemporary home in place of an old farmhouse.

house on loch tummel in scotland - self build homes - grand designs

Image: Dapple Photography

Nestled into the hillside, the new three-storey, four-bedroom property continues on from a ruined stone-walled garden, and takes the form of an oversized boathouse. Views are optimised by picture windows and generous floor-to-ceiling glazing, making the double-height dining room and first-floor study the perfect lookouts for watching wildlife. The basement level contains a guest suite leading out to the lake.

 

Which is your favourite lakeside self-build? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page

 

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