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We would love to hear from you about your intended project.

Use the form on the right to contact SPACIOUS about an initial consultation or email us at:  hello@spacious.ie

 

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54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,
Ireland

01 5585205

Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

RIAI registered architects, project managers & interior designers

Dublin Architecture Blog

Hofler Architects Dublin  - Our Blog of our news and views.

Filtering by Category: Renovation

WORKING WITH US ON YOUR HOME EXTENSION, RENOVATION OR NEW-BUILD PROJECT

Paul Mulhern

A GUIDE FOR PUTTING TOGETHER IDEAS FOR YOUR DESIGN BRIEF.

This is the first in a series of Guidance Posts we’ll be writing.  Intended for those commencing a domestic building project who have not worked with an architect before on the design, planning and construction process - we’re beginning here with putting together the brief for your project.

 

The project brief is your wish list that will help guide the entire process.  It will assist you in bringing together the right criteria to brief us whether you are planning a renovation, extension or a new build.  This will give us all a starting point for the direction of your project, and make sure that your ideas; needs and wants are clearly communicated at the outset.  We will help you develop the brief as we work together, and often the brief may well change along the way. 

Distilling your thoughts and dreams for the project in your own time at the outset will be extremely useful and help ensure you get what you want.

Everyone is different of course and some people will have less time or inclination for this than others.  The information listed below details what you might consider in full or in part.

Remember that when we sit down with you to commence the project we will be developing this with you.  If you don’t have any idea what it is you want other than badly needed additional space, we will ensure that your needs and wants are discussed and explored thoroughly at the start of the project.

 

SOME ISSUES TO THINK ABOUT:

The type of project?  Are you planning a new-build, to knock down and re-build on a site, or to renovate and extend?  Or you may be mostly looking to make internal changes, or preparing for a complete interior makeover?

Bear in mind that even issues as fundamental as this may change when we start examining them together.  We have in the past shown clients that it would be more feasible retain an existing structure rather than demolish and rebuild, or that remodeling their house can meet their needs rather than extending. Our professional advice is centered on the client’s best interests (even if that leads to a smaller project for us).

What about the site or existing building?  The site is always a strong driver of house design – location, views, wind, sun, access, constraints, overlooking, rural, urban, suburban, etc. Get a feeling for the site by spending time on it at various times of the day. Look at neighbouring property to see if it casts shadows or affects any of your ideas.

We will do a full site analysis and measured survey once appointed so you just need to consider principals.

Are you fixing a problem or creating anew?  If you have been living in your home for a time, you may have a list of issues that you want to address. Alternatively you may be looking to add more space as an extension or to improve the energy efficiency of your house by upgrading insulation or windows and adding renewables.

If you are planning a new-build consider as many of the reasons, needs and wants and list them out.

What’s the outcome you hope to achieve?  These are your broad goals. If you have more than one, prioritize them.

For example: Long-term family home for 3 children / Live-in home for 4-7 years / Sell with capital gain & then build a dream home / build that dream home / downsize for retirement to a more manageable and energy efficient home.

General concept or style?  Think about how you could best describe what you want?  Remember, these are just ideas and can all change.

For example; Sustainable home, free flowing on the site / Light-filled contemporary design / Sensitive and modern extension to a period home /  Beautifully crafted traditional house /  Subtle, thoughtful home built on a budget.  We can help you with them all.

Your list of priorities:  This is a list of critical items that you really must have. You may also like to list approximate sizes for these areas:

4 bedrooms, 2 living areas, laundry, eat in kitchen with walk in pantry / Master en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe / Family open-plan area opening to garden with sun and views / Private quiet space for home office or study / Garage with storage / Room to expand in future / Guest bedroom / Double-height entry space / Courtyard with Zen fern garden / Passive House or NZEB (Near Zero Energy Building) standards.

Be sure to consider any specifics that your new build or extension must accommodate.  From particular pieces of furniture to your collection of artwork, over-size pigeonhole storage for school bags to etc.

We will work through all this with you and make suggestions.

Images and Scrapbooking:  Collect images of things you like. They can range from ‘big picture’ ideas to the fine details as inspiration. They will give us an idea of where you are coming from and what type of house and design you like instinctively.

Use a folder to collect images from magazines or save them on Pinterest and share your board with us.  Check out this 'Pinner' who is collecting inspiring images for his barn renovation project.  "A Sense of Home" is another inspiring Pinner collecting images of everything that makes a soulful home.

Remember it is Information collecting only at this stage – we will help you to find the common thread and tie it all together into a cohesive whole.

Collect your ideas and inspirations on Pinterest...

Collect your ideas and inspirations on Pinterest...

Materials:  Images you have collected will give you a guide on what materials you prefer (both inside and out). Budget will be a determining factor as to what you end up having on your house. Affordable cladding options can be made beautiful with our careful detailing, and more expensive materials can be used selectively where you will see them the most.  

Sustainability:  Items to consider that are not usually part of the look of the building, but should be considered from the beginning, are the energy rating you would ideally like to aim for.  The Building Regulations set out a ‘minimum standard’ that will be increasing in the near future.  We can advise you on the implications of designing a Passive House or NZEB house, the cost implications of these and what it is like to live in these types of houses.

Budget:  The build budget will normally exclude VAT, which is to be added to construction work at 13.5%.  Other costs to be considered include Architect, Quantity Surveyor and Engineer fees, planning ‘contributions’ (which can be significant depending on your location), Site survey, testing and certifying, interior design, utility connection fees, contingency, etc. 

We will be writing a detailed guidance post on domestic construction costs in the near future and will link to it from here.  In the meantime, feel free to contact us for further information.

Architects are not trained as cost experts, Quantity Surveyors are engaged to advise on the current material and labour rates (which change frequently). We will warn our clients if their scope is looking a little high and will help them refine it. Then after exploring early ideas with plans, elevations and sketches, we recommend that the preliminary design is costed by a QS so that we all know that the project can be built within budget or whether we need to tweak it further for before moving forwards with the firmed-up design.

What We Do:

Proposed House Extension Project in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Proposed House Extension Project in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Our particular specialties lie in creating sustainable site-specific homes and bespoke renovations and extensions that comfortably accommodate your everyday life and give families room to grow.

We also design residential new builds, alterations, extensions, interiors, from both small to large commercial and residential projects.

We design sensitive contemporary homes using materials with warmth that add soul.

We offer unique, professional tailored services to suit your brief and budget. We take client care seriously, and will work to ensure your project brings your dreams to reality within time and on budget.

We are happy to arrange one-off initial consultations with you to discuss the inception of your project, even before you have made any final decision or commitment to the project.

We usually agree a fixed fee for domestic work and will spell out clearly what is included.  Our fee agreements are flexible, open and clear and are based on the RIAI Client-Architect Agreement for Domestic Services that sets out all terms and conditions for both parties.

We are fully professionally indemnified for all of our work and undertake regular continuing professional development and remain up to date with best practice and all changes to relevant regulations.

Most of all we are friendly, approachable and love working with clients who are excited and passionate about quality architecture and homes.

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Read an eloquent client testimonial here and what the Irish Times have said about some of our work here.  

If you are planning to extend, renovate or build a new dwelling - Talk to us about your project.  You can contact us at any time here.

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Protected Structure, Naas - A Domestic Extension & Renovation Project.

Paul Mulhern

Glauneaven House is an attractive and well and well designed suburban house dating from the first decade of the twentieth century. It was built at the edge of Naas’ historic core by a local merchant, during a period or relative prosperity prior to World War I, and stands among a small group of similar houses. Glauneaven House is remarkable in the degree to which it has not been altered or modernized. The only alterations appear to be the installation of a very basic electrical system during the early 20th century, and the installation of a cast iron bath during the 1970’s. Otherwise, the house stands virtually as it was built and provides an excellent example of home of an early twentieth century Naas merchant’s family.

To more closely integrate the house and its sizeable rear garden, a new single storey extension has been carefully designed. This extension has been designed with two main elements:A lounge close to the northern boundary wall, and a jewel-like informal dining room.  These two spaces are linked to the house by a glazed corridor. The architectural language used for the extension will be cleanly contemporary, but is intended to sit comfortably with the rich materials and traditional massing of the Protected Structure.

The Lounge will serve as a casual family room, with views and connections to the rear gardens and patio. It has been placed behind the house and near the side boundary wall to allow it to receive direct sunlight from the east and south, while not blocking light into the east side of the original dining room or taking space away from the inner rear garden. Its west wall will replace an existing concrete garden wall, and will have a delicately detailed bay window looking into the northern side garden. The west elevation will be faced with salvaged brick and will help to screen the extension when viewed from the front. The flat roof over the lounge is to be planted with sedum to reduce rainwater runoff, and to soften the Lounge’s appearance.

The Informal Dining Room has been conceived as a garden pavilion. It will be sited behind the existing shed-roofed kitchen pantry, where it will receive direct light from the east and south, and project into the landscaped inner garden area.  Glazed Corridors will connect the Lounge and Informal Dining Room to the original house.

The extension will form a new element in the original historic setting of the house, at least when viewed from the rear. Two of the house’s rear windows will be converted to doors to provide connections between the house and extension.The extension has been carefully designed to enable the house to be better integrated with its sizeable gardens to the north and east. The extension has been subtly scaled by breaking it up into distinct elements, preventing it from overpowering the original house. The design of the extension is contemporary, and avoids historical pastiche. It has been designed to site comfortably with the rich materials and Victorian design.

Contact Hofler Architects, Dublin, to discuss your project.

We are also preparing designs to replace the existing two-storey outbuildings of about 100 Sqm to provide a contemporary space for guest accommodation, an artist’s studio, storage and plant equipment associated with the planned solar thermal roof panels (to be located on the south-facing roof of the outbuildings) and wood chip or pellet boiler.

The house itself is to be sensitively renovated throughout to retain the character created by room proportions and detail elements such as staircase, window and door joinery. Measures to improve thermal performance of the house will be carefully considered in relation to impact on the original fabric. Certain environmental upgrade works are inappropriate to Protected Structures such as Glauneaven despite their thermal and financial benefits. Where this is the case, we seek to employ or compensate with other less invasive or visible changes to improve the houses’ performance.


[Completed while Paul was a partner in his previous practice].

Positive Feedback

Paul Mulhern

Its always great to get valuable feedback from a satisfied client and to know that they would happily recommend their architect to others. Author Deirdre Purcell comments below:

Claremont Court, Glasnevin, Dublin 11.
“As an architect, Paul Mulhern took on a very tricky project for me at the above address, a Seventies terraced house on a long narrow site in a housing estate. This was a house that had been lived in wisely for a while but latterly not too well.   
My brief to him was to illuminate what had become a murky, dark, cramped and very dilapidated property by creating a space filled with light and air. I also wanted him to bring it up to modern standards of insulation, wiring and plumbing, and thereby making snug what had been damp and cold.   On such a site, the brief seemed impossible and when I led him into the property in its original condition, I expected him to be daunted, even to refuse to have anything to do with it, but his reaction was immediately to see it as a challenge.   And how brilliantly he overcame that challenge! While remaining aware of my relatively limited budget, the design he produced involved gutting the entire house and opening it up to light from the roof, via three voids. The result is the fulfilment of my own dream, the testament to which is the steady stream of neighbours arriving on various pretexts but with the obvious aim of being invited in.   Throughout the construction vicissitudes (and there were many, none of his making) he remained steadily supportive to me in what was a very difficult and long process. I cannot praise him highly enough for his tenacity, his concentration on what was best for the house and for me as a client - and not least for his calm tact when things fell apart, as they frequently did.   His professionalism and collaborative spirit are outstanding but overarching all of the above, his creativity and vision were and are superb”.
DEIRDRE PURCELL. 
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