Contact Us

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

 

Name
Name

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: Restoration

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.

____

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.

Spacious+Architects+Dublin.jpeg

Return to our homepage or view our blog articles index page.

 

TRADITIONAL BUILDINGS ON IRISH FARMS

Paul Mulhern

ALTERNATIVE USES FOR OLD FARM BUILDINGS

Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via www.geograph.ie

Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via www.geograph.ie

A publication by the Heritage Council.

"Built by local builders, or the farmer himself, of readily available local materials and are truly vernacular architecture – We might even say that farm buildings of this type were sustainable before the concept was even considered".

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.

ALTERNATIVE USES FOR OLD FARM BUILDINGS

The current focus on rural development provides an opportunity to see old farm buildings as an asset in finding alternative income for farm families.  A range of small-scale uses for old buildings may be possible without substantial alteration.

  • Unoccupied houses in working farmyards may be inhabited by a member of the family rather than converted to agricultural use
  • Old farmyards can be converted for craft workshops or tourism and self-catering; this may be especially viable in suburban areas or close to tourist or walking routes
  • Small-scale manufacturing industry, such as cheese- making, small-scale engineering, furniture making, and car maintenance offer other possible uses
  • Extending dwelling houses by incorporating adjoining farm buildings is sometimes possible without undue removal of cross walls and other elements of the buildings
  • Use of converted outbuildings for dwellings, holiday and self-catering accommodation may be permitted by the planning authority depending on the policies in the development plan.

Guidelines for the Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Buildings and Farmyards:

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Consult your local authority conservation officer for advice on the repair of ‘listed’ farm buildings (those included in the RPS) and any grant aid available for such work.

Continue to use old farm buildings where possible

Avoid ‘gutting’ old buildings as this erases much of their historic value

Carefully site new buildings so as to avoid damaging an old yard

When repairing old farm buildings, like for like should apply.  Therefore similar materials to those used historically should be employed. These include stone, lime plaster and lime mortar, clay/mud, thatch, stone slates or flags, corrugated iron (round profile)

  • Retain old roof structures – these are all too easily lost during re-roofing
  • Retain old windows and doors
  • Protect buildings from fire by ensuring that electrical installation is to modern standards
  • Keep all stone walls in good repair, using stone similar to that in the wall if it needs to be repaired, and lime mortar with flush or recessed finish. On older buildings, it is generally not a good idea to use cement-based mortar or render to repair or plug gaps in old walls
  •  Retain cobbled floors and yard surfaces where these survive
  • Maintain and repair old timber and iron gates along with their piers and flanking walls
  • Keep old farm machinery under cover to protect it from the elements
  • Use traditional colour schemes and roof forms to help new buildings fit more easily into the overall complex
  • Keep corrugated iron roofs and claddings in good order by painting with appropriate paints
  • Keep a good source of water close by for dealing with fire
  • Keep all wells and springs free of pollutants 

Download the Heritage Council publication "Traditional Buildings on Irish Farms"

National Rural Network - "Conservation of Old Farm Buildings" - Ireland

Contact Hofler Architects to discuss conservation and alternative uses for your farm buildings here - Hofler Architects

Read about the Rock Farm Straw Bale Project here

Alterations to a Terraced Protected Structure, Dublin 6

Paul Mulhern

There are three main elements to this protected structure renovation project:

1. The addition of a projecting bath ‘oriel’ to the side wall of the rear return at first floor level. This zinc-clad element to the rear of the house facilitates proper access to the rear room of the return. The rear room is not currently useable as a bedroom as it can be accessed only through the bathroom. The oriel and the changes to the positions of partition walls in the return will result in a useable third bedroom. The only external materials to be used are standing-seam zinc and hardwood (windows and underside).

2. The attic has been converted to accommodate frequent-use storage space. The existing space is largely unencumbered by structural timbers but is slightly below the height standards to be used as a habitable room.  A contemporary hardwood stair with built-in storage below has been  installed to rise from the existing landing area. A rear-facing dormer window is proposed to provide natural light, ventilation and an increased area of headroom. As with the bathroom oriel, the external materials will be zinc and hardwood. The right-hand window sash (when viewed from the rear) has clear glass and is openable. It has been recessed by 340mm in order to blinker the view out and limit any possibility of overlooking. It looks out only over the roofs of the rear returns.  The left-hand window sash is non-openable and has opaque glass installed to allow light in but prevent views out.

3. The original roof coverings to the main house and return were removed and replaced by a previous owner with artificial slate. The works undertaken include removal of the artificial slate and replacement with natural Welsh slate on new battens and breathable felt. This significant improvement to the roofing materials is the only element of the works to this protected structure visible from the street.

RIAI Protected Structure Information Link.

Talk to SPACIOUS Architects to arrange a free, no-obligation initial consultation for your project.


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

Redevelopment of Dún Laogharie Baths

Paul Mulhern

The DLR Dún Laoghaire Area Committee last night approved a public consultation on new plans for the redevelopment of Dún Laogharie Baths, which have been an eye sore and a terrible waste of waterfront space, since they became derelict in the mid-1990s.

The proposed scheme will—

refurbish and secure the existing Baths Pavilion and open it to the public,  remove dilapidated structures on the sea-side of the pavilion,  create a new pedestrian route on the sea side, connecting at Newtownsmith to both the East Pier and the People’s Park,  provide facilities for sea swimming and access to the water’s edge for other marine activities,  open a new café with an open-air terrace,  include publicly-accessible and wheelchair-accessible toilets,  allow the public to access a wonderful new amenity.

The issue of Dún Laoghaire Baths has been stagnant for many years because of difficulties with a foreshore licence that would allow the Council to carry out the necessary works. The convoluted application process started in 2012, when the Council sought permission for the works, from the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government. ‘Approval in Principle’ has now been issued by the Minister of State with responsibility for foreshore licences.

The original Baths east of the East Pier, were constructed in 1843 by John Crosthwaite and named the Royal Victoria Baths. In 1896 Kingstown Urban District Council purchased the baths site and the firm of Alexander Fraser was engaged to build the new baths on today’s site. The works were completed in June 1908 and can mostly still be seen today. The baths were improved and extended in the 1930s and were in use in various forms, including Rainbow Rapids, until they were closed in the early 1990s.

Read more about the history of Dún Laoghaire Baths on archiseek.com, abandonedireland.com, askaboutireland.ie,

One of the great features of the site of Dún Laoghaire Baths is that it is on an elevated spot, with great views towards Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Scotsman’s Bay and Dublin Bay, Newtownsmith, Sandycove Harbour, the Forty Foot, and the James Joyce Martello Tower, and it’s great potential to connect the walkway at Newtownsmith to both the East Pier and the People’s Park.

However, the location also means that it is on a slope with a north-easterly aspect that receives limited sunshine and can feel exposed when windy or when seas are rough.

Under the scheme, the existing Baths Pavilion will be retained and refurbished for use as artist workspaces, a gallery café and for the provision of public toilet facilities. Existing dilapidated structures to the rear of the Pavilion will be removed to permit the creation of a new route and landscaping that will connect the walkway at Newtownsmith to both the East Pier and the People’s Park, and it is proposed that the existing saltwater pools will be filled in, creating new enhanced facilities for sea swimming and greater access to the water’s edge by means of a short jetty.

The existing Baths Pavilion together with a smaller outbuilding will be retained, weathered and secured while the remaining dilapidated outbuildings to the rear and side of the Pavilion will be removed.

It is proposed to fit out the Pavilion to accommodate studio space for artists and to provide gallery and café facilities, with the original entrance on Windsor Terrace being restored and an outdoor ‘café terrace’ being created and linked to the new café. It is also proposed to create new public toilets facilities at street level, which will also be accessible for wheelchair users. Footpaths along Windsor Terrace will be upgraded and new street trees planted as part of the process.

With the removal of derelict buildings on the sea-side of the pavilion, there will be a new pedestrian route to connect the walkway at Newtownsmith with the East Pier, at a level that will create a safe and secure walk with panoramic views over Scotsman’s Bay and places to sit.

The land adjoining this walk will be re-graded to create grassed areas which will thematically link the Park at Newtownsmith to the Maritime Gardens that currently lead to the East Pier, and the small, historic gazebo situated along this route with be refurbished.

A new jetty and a changing area will be created to provide enhanced access to the water for sea swimmers and to provide a landing point for kayaks and canoes and other small marine craft. This jetty will be linked by new steps to the ‘café terrace’ at the Baths Pavilion and to the pedestrian crossing point leading to the People’s Park. It is also hoped that jet water fountains could be installed in the area next to the pedestrian routes, between the Baths Pavilion and the sea.

Images from DLRD Architect’s Report here.

Hofler Architects, Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin