What’s your name and job title?

Laura Stephen, Architect

How long have you worked at Dualchas?

10 years

What do you do at Dualchas?

Design and oversee the procurement of bespoke domestic projects.

Where are you from originally and how do you find living and/or working in Skye?

I grew up and studied in Glasgow and worked there for a few years before moving to Skye. It is a privilege to be able to live in a place as geographically isolated as Skye and all that it has to offer but still be able to work in a design-led, young and vibrant architectural practice. I live here with my husband, our young daughter and two dogs. We live in a small community, with many families as well as older people. Engaging with the community here is part of life, people get involved, organise events, engage with their surroundings and their neighbours. There is a strong sense of place, heritage and belonging. I see value and comfort in this, especially for my daughter growing up.

For me moving here was like taking a step sideways, having lived in or close to the city for most of my life it was a big change. Some would say the opportunities here are limited, I would say they are just very different, but I do think to enjoy living here you have to be able to enjoy the landscape and seek to spend time outdoors, which I do. Living in a landscape like this is life affirming, and being outdoors here, even just stepping out the office at the end of the day, instantly resets the mind.

I have definitely found more balance and perspective in my life while living on Skye.

What are you passionate about inside and outside of work?

Sherlock Holmes & horses.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the design process, the autonomy and the relationships.

What advice would you give to young women looking to enter into a career in architecture?

Designing is only part of the job of an architect, you will have to work as part of a team on any project and often lead the process.  Communication is key. Learn to listen and communicate well.

Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and continue learning throughout your career, don’t be too afraid of making mistakes, confront problems – ask questions, gain knowledge, be responsible. This should give you confidence and allow you to be creative and enjoy what you do.