The blackhouse originates from several thousand years ago and the design made it strong and able to stand up to the brutal weather of the Outer Hebrides. Blackhouses were always built facing east so that the prevailing weather hit the back of the house. The method of construction has hardly changed and the buildings consisted of two parallel dry stone walls with the gap between being filled with earth or peat for insulation.
The roof was either thatched or turfed. The roof frame would be supported on the outer wall which gave the houses a distinctive “shelf” around the outside of the building. The thatch would be secured with netting held down with large stones to stop the roof blowing off. The windows were small to keep the walls strong and keep out the worst of the weather. The floor was usually made of flagstones or packed earth and there was a central area for the fire.