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Concepts and models: 7 years of Chambers McMillan
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Posted on: June 19th, 2020

Concepts and models: 7 years of Chambers McMillan

We love helping people change the way they live. We love designing together, and working with our clients to develop spaces that make a real difference to them. Here are some of the concept designs we have worked on over these 7 years. If you would like us to design with and for you, get in touch, Chambers McMillan is here.









Find your space next to the outdoors

We have been, more or less, in our house for the last 13 weeks, and the thing that has kept us happy and able to do this is our outside spaces. Because the Ramp House was built on a tight urban site, we had to design it to maximise outside space, light, views out and fresh air in. We were very considered in the spaces we design next to these boundaries, and have found throughout lockdown ways to maximise how we use these spaces. Which spaces have you been using more during lockdown? If you need support with the design of your home, get in touch, Chambers McMillan is here.





Posted on: June 5th, 2020

Chambers McMillan Architects started off at the project table in the mezzannine study. We had no idea we were going to set up pratcice until we were walking round the building site of the Ramp house, and thought: we could do this for other people. We expanded to the kitchen table, but pretty soon realised that we needed a separate space, close to the house, where we could go outside then came back in each day for work. The shortest commute in Scotland. This worked well for our family life, which relies on us being able to respond flexibly to whatever support our daughter, Greta, needs. It has also enabled us both to have a very rich and fulfilling work life. This way of working has stood us in really good stead for the lockdown. But we have still found a need to expand our variety of work spaces through the Ramp house. Sometimes just sitting in a different space, with a different view, to think through a problem is what’s needed. Sometimes connecting to the rest of the family whilst working on a project (both girls love making models). and sometimes the quiet retreat of the newly formed ‘little Venice’ space at the top of the stairs. What have your experiences been of working from home during the lockdown, and how do you imagine that will continue during the return to the new normal. I’ve heard many people saying that they want to continue some kind of wfh: how do your existing spaces respond to this? If you need support to re-design spaces in your house to work better for our new normal, Chambers McMillan are here – just get in touch



Posted on: May 15th, 2020

Working from home has become essential for many of us. sometimes it is a real delight to be able to work from home, other times the space just doesn’t feel right. Working from home space needs to be just the right size to keep us focussed, but also allow a variety of work activities to happen easily, including storage. Working from home space should have some quietness and privacy, but it can also be good to connect to the rest of the family. A view into something green, or the sky, is important too. Many of our projects have an element of working from home, and we suspect many more will in the future. Here are some of them, which we will look at more closely next week. if you want to find and develop a space in your house to work from home, get in touch, Chambers McMillan are here.


Letting the Light In

Posted on: May 11th, 2020

I can’t remember why we decided to put balcony doors into our bedroom rather than a window, maybe it was thinking ahead in case Greta had to spend any amount of time in her bedroom. The result is that waking up in the morning, I can open both doors, and let the light in, the fresh air in, and feel almost like I am in a hotel in Italy. Mornings are especially tough during lockdown, but letting the air in and connecting to the garden makes a difference. Find your space next to the light in your house. If you want support to design such a space, get in touch with Chambers McMillan: we are here.




The last space is the best

Posted on: May 7th, 2020


The last space to occupy in the house, the smallest, and possibly the best. Right at the top of the copper tower, we designed a retreat for me and Ian, but it took this necessity of new spaces to motivate us to finish it. We bought the purple paint on our last outing from the house before lockdown, and then stayed sane in the first weeks by being up here, painting it. The mirror at the narrow window connects us to outside, and the sea view, which we need more than ever just now.  We call it Little Venice, as it was designed to be an escape, even when we weren’t able to get away. Last night, we celebrated 25 years, and it was one of the loveliest, most appreciative dates ever. Make the most of the house you have; we have the time to do this, and if you want design support with this, Chambers McMillan is still here.

EAA Small Projects

Posted on: May 1st, 2020

We are delighted that our compact accessible courtyard house in Kelso has been shortlisted for the small projects Edinburgh Architectural Association Awards. We really enjoyed working on this project, with a very involved client, converting what was a church hall, then a nursery, into a compact accessible home, where the courtyard formed brings light into all spaces in the plan, and provides direct connection to occupiable outside  space.

Occupying Windows

Posted on: April 27th, 2020

Spaces that connect to the outside have become all the more valuable in this time of lockdown and staying home. The ramp in our house had created spaces which are tucked away, with lower head heights: perfect for wheelchair users and children. One of them was designed as a ‘snoozeln’, a sensory light room for Greta. More recently it has been a store room for Greta’s art stock. This time spent exploring how to make the most of all the spaces in our house, enabled us to clear this out and re-occupy it with a built in bench, traffic purple (chambersmcmillan branding!) walls and lights which had been hiding in there all along. The delightful discovery was that the long space connection between the snoozeln, the wide sliding window space and the lane becomes a unified space in itself which can be enjoyed on sunny mornings, and re-connects us to the front of the house, a connection which we are really missing. Its a reminder that there are always spaces which can be re-occupied in any house, and they can be even more special because they have been there all along.

Windows and Public / Private Space

Posted on: April 10th, 2020

Discovering new spaces during the lockdown.

Being part of the 8 O’clock NHS clap yesterday made me think about how we are using our spaces, both public and private, so differently at the moment. We opened our physio space window, so that we shared a space with the tenements on Marlborough street, and the houses on our side of Marlborough street, which have adjoining gardens to ours. Usually the tenements seem a long way away, but the communal activity of collectively thanking the NHS (at a time when there is such a restriction on communal activities) made an unusual public space, both horizontally, and sectionally. Each of the bay windows (a valuable space that sits between public and private) were opened and people leaned out to be part of the aural cheer of encouragement and gratitude, making a new public space of connection that we need so much at this time.

I have noticed during the lockdown how people are drawn to their windows, which suddenly become connecting places to the outside world, the sun, fresh air, gazing into the distance, waving at a neighbour.  In the Ramp house, we have been looking at all our windows, and working out how to use them better. Some of this just involves moving piles of books, so that the flow between inside and outside works again. We have also looked at windows that can be occupied for different activities – sometimes putting a cushion on the window sill, to remember to sit there, sometimes more building work is needed like in our attic space “Little Venice” (more in a future blog), but all the kind of building we can do during lockdown, re-using building materials we might have otherwise discarded (Greta loves nothing better than ratcheting old screws out of old timber, to be used again). 

My favourite occupation of window space so far is the corner greenhouse window, where we are growing sweet peas, broad beans and one pea (from a packet that was 6 years old!). The green inside the corner window connects the eye to our neighbour’s wonderful wild garden we look onto. Best of all, every day, in this lockdown that is counted in days, there is change. The seedlings and plants never look the same: each day they reach closer to the sun, and looking to the future, they will continue to change and grow, and reach for the sun. 

Covid 19

Posted on: March 26th, 2020


During these difficult times Chambers McMillan Architects are still able to work from our studio, adjacent to our home, and are continuing to progress projects, the only limitations being the on site stage.  Meetings will be virtual, but we are happy to hear from you:  design process on new projects can be via FaceTime,  Skype, or Zoom.

Scottish Design Awards: Future Building Shortlisted

Posted on: August 14th, 2019

In a week’s time we will be celebrating the very best in Scottish Design (from  Digital Design to Corporate Design, Craft to Architecture), at the Scottish Design Awards 2019.  We are delighted that our future project, with JM Architects, for the Yard Dundee, has been shortlisted. The Yard are an amazing client, who provide a brilliant environment for children with disabilities offering the chance for creative adventurous indoor and outdoor play in a well-supported environment. The Yard strongly believes disabled children should be offered the same opportunities as their peers to get involved in risky play to help them develop, learn and build friendships and find their own limits. The future building in Dundee will support this process, and has been designed as an enabling environment, where each child or young person finds the spaces they need.




Finalists Future Building Scottish Design Awards 2019

Posted on: June 10th, 2019

We are delighted that our concept design for The Yard Dundee has been shortlisted for future building, in the Scottish Design awards 2019. It is an exciting project for us, with fabulous clients, and lots of creative engagement and workshops with users, feeding into the design process.

3D render images by Nick Dalgety.

Garden Room Living

Posted on: March 30th, 2019

Re-thinking a two storey house, that was no longer working for the family, we developed the design in collaboration with the clients to create an open plan but articulated living garden room, with kitchen, sitting, dining, activity wall, window seat to the herb courtyard, and much better connection to the existing garden. This frees up the existing sitting room, either for teenagers to use, or in the future could be an accessible ground floor bedroom, making this a lifetime home. Like many houses the connections between inside and outside, and the connections between spaces for different uses needed to be re-designed, to create a flexible inclusive accessible family home


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Royal Scottish Academy Art and Architecture Open

Posted on: March 27th, 2017

Chambers McMillan will be attending the Private View for the Architecture open at the RSA this Friday. Our film (filmed by Bee and Greta) of the Route Through the Ramp House Features in the exhibitionIMG_5595

Creative workshops with children

Posted on: September 20th, 2016

An important part of the design process at Chambers McMillan includes consultation and engagement. Here are some of our creative workshops, which have informed the design process. 

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Inspirational Design: Scottish Government

Posted on: December 19th, 2013

Good to be included in Scottish Government’s inspirational designs webpage



one shiny saltire plaque on the wall of the ramp house

Posted on: September 10th, 2013
saltire plaque

saltire plaque

We are delighted to have won a Saltire Housing Award for our Ramp House – it is now shining on the caithness wall at the front door. Here is what Lesley Riddoch, Chair of the Judging Panel said:

“We admired your determination to fit a house round you – not the other way round. You took a pint pot of a site and cleverly built a house just high enough to “borrow” views of all the fabulous gardens around. You created a house with a common way of moving about – not isolating your daughter into lifts and hoists and it works beautifully. Connecting with one another via the ramps inside you also connect directly with the street outside via that lovely wee breakfast window. The whole house breathes confidence in its location, in one another and in your neighbours. Wonderful.”