Balnakeil Craft Village was originally built as an early warning station against nuclear attack, but became obsolete before coming fully into use. The site was taken over by the local authority who initiated the craft village, letting the buildings to craftspeople. Later, the buildings were sold to their tenants and they now change hands on the open market. There is no longer any obligation for every building to house a craft business, but a high proportion do so.
The buildings are typical military structures: single-storey, flat-roofed and of concrete block construction. They vary in size, but are mostly roomy enough to contain a shop, workshop and ample family living accommodation. There are currently about ten craft shops or galleries, a boatyard and two restaurants. Another building will be providing self-catering accommodation. Shops are mostly open from Spring to October, but the restaurant/bookshop and chocolaterie are open year-round.
Buildings occasionally come up for sale. Communal ground includes the village green and the ‘tattie patch’, though many people have individual gardens. There is no communal organisation, but the compactness of the site and the remoteness lead to a certain feeling of community, the strength of which inevitably varies from time to time.