Get On With It

Writing and drawings about work, family and the stuff in-between

Houses here tend to look the same, which fits the location


I’ve been noticing the houses around our little part of Scotland for a while now. We moved nearly three years ago and have since bought a house and embarked on a renovation project, each of these things offering ample reason to closely examine the types and styles of houses that are available. My initial impression is that the houses around here aren’t very inspiring, but that is probably a bit harsh. The houses fit the location pretty well.

The notion of people having more “individuality” and “personality” oozing out of their houses could certainly peg me as a brash American drunk on consumerism. Many things in Scotland that I consider dull are things that others would consider “modest” and “sensible”. I can see that the lack of individuality in housing is both by necessity and by choice.

Here are some photos of houses around our area that are pretty representative of any house anywhere around the greater Glasgow area.

A typical “new” development
The typical suburban skyline
This could be any street in a Glasgow suburb
I don’t know how they got a Cadillac Escalade out here but this person did
The most variety of house color choice you see is pretty much in this photo

My observations so far on houses in Scotland is that most affordable housing is built with mostly concrete and brick and covered with brick or “roughcast” concrete rendering, with substantial thick frame, double-pane, UPVC windows, and multi-point locking doors all around. The houses are built to maximize the footprint of the land that is available (i.e. more house less garden space). They are all so uniform that it can seem as though all houses come from the same builder and that there are only about 2 or 3 options for each component to choose from. They are all either some shade of grey or some reddish brick hue. I have yet to see a red, blue, yellow, or green house here.

I have up until recently kind of been down on the lack of quirkiness and color in the houses here, but that is easing a bit. I get it now. We live on a small island not far from the arctic circle, so it’s not like there is a lot of variety available here (at least on a reasonable budget) and most spend more time inside than out, so pimping out your interior is maybe the more interesting approach. People also just generally live more modestly here, so the housing fits the area all around.

All of this also means our house renovation project to add a big open porch on a small, modest bungalow, is certainly going to be unique in this little part of the world. Maybe we should also insist on painting it bright blue or red? Modest and sensible be damned!

2 responses to “Houses here tend to look the same, which fits the location”

  1. There is a trend on some of the Edwardian tall terraced streets in Liverpool, to paint the exterior in different shades other than the traditional brick red. I do like a small amount of individuality for the outside of houses. Not a lot mind!

    • There is something to be said for consistency in architectural style, materials, and color for cities and towns. It can be very beautiful for sure!

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