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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 Tag: Contemporary

New One Off House Design - Rural Co. Wicklow

Paul Mulhern

We have recently completed designs for a new one-off rural family dwelling to be sited in a designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" in Co. Wicklow.  The client's have established local needs as they run a business in the immediate area.  The designs have been prepared to be highly site and context specific, to take full account of the stringent planning requirements for such an area and to respond fully to the local authority's rural design guidance for planning applications.

 

House design

The high quality design of the proposed house has been developed with detailed consideration of the site, its rural context, the adjoining houses and minimizing its impact on the environment (visual and sustainable).

The linear form of the single storey house is broken and stepped slightly approximately one third along its length.  This step in the elevation and roof differentiates between the living and sleeping areas of the house.  It allows for the simple modeling of the form to produce two different roof planes and a differing plane in the front elevation, thereby reducing scale.

The single-room depth of the main part of the house has been incorporated to ensure that the roof mass and ridge heights have been minimized.  This form also results in carefully proportioned gables to both ends that are in keeping with traditional rural vernacular buildings.  This language is combined and balanced with highly considered and subtle contemporary detailing.

The narrow plan depth allows maximum sun, daylight and natural ventilation penetration.  Bedrooms are positioned where they will receive sunlight in the morning and living spaces are arranged to receive light throughout the day and evening and benefit from views.

The main entry to the house is located between the front linear volume and the rear volume of the family lounge.  This positioning responds to the existing entry driveway and allows the avoidance of a suburban form of dwelling - where entry and parking are usually located to the front.  The front of this house will be characterized by natural landscaping consisting of meadow grasses, wild flowers, native trees and hedgerow, and the existing stone/earth berm to the boundary.

The family lounge room takes on a more contemporary form with its zinc roof sloping up towards the west.  It is entirely screened to the rear of the more traditional main volume.  It is also set back from the gable end of the Living/Dining/Kitchen room and leads out to a sheltered and semi-enclosed outdoor space.

The main roof areas of the house (including the rear return) are to be double-pitched with high quality natural slate (blue/black) at 35 degrees.  The lounge room roof is to be monopitch with natural standing seam zinc at a slope of 15 degrees.  Solar panels are not proposed as our preliminary BER assessment concludes that an air-to-water heat pump will provide a more suitable means of reducing primary energy consumption.  This means that the slate roof slopes can be kept free of less visually appealing equipment installation.

Materials and windows have been carefully selected and detailed for the location.  All main elevations (front and gable ends) are to be faced with coursed rubble granite stone, which will be largely, or entirely taken from stone already piled on the adjoining land.  The heavy, solid walls will tie the house to its site.  Window and door openings have been proportioned and spaced to respect the required solid-to-void ratios typical of load-bearing stone walls.

 Materials specified include:

·      Coursed rubble stone walls

·      Stone lintels and sills

·      Blue/black natural slate

·      Mill-finished alu. gutters – vernacular detailing.

·      Alu-clad timber windows

·      Standing seam zinc roofing / fascia

·      Off-white self-coloured render

·      Low stone walls

·      Vertical self-coloured cladding boards (family lounge)

 These materials have been chosen for their appropriate visual appearance and also because they will weather and age gracefully over time.

Download Wicklow C.C. Rural Design Guide here.

Contact us with your queries relating to building new dwelling or extending in rural and high amenity areas.

 

Planning Granted for Sunday Well House, Lucan

Paul Mulhern

We have recently secured planning permission from Fingal County Council for a two-storey detached, five-bedroom house at Sunday Well, Barnhill Cross Road, Lucan, Co. Dublin on behalf of private clients in association with Future Analytics Consulting.

The site is located to the north of the River Liffey in a stunning sylvan setting at the foot of wooded escarpment, allowing the dwelling to comfortably nestle within the Liffey valley landscape.

The site is located within Zoning Objective “HA” (High Amenity) of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 which seeks to protect and enhance high amenity areas. This translates to a constrictive procedural policy context for development proposals.

Building on previous permission for demolition of an existing dwelling, the consenting strategy incorporated amendments to the previously approved scheme and construction of a replacement two-storey detached 478sqm five-bedroom house, a 37.5sqm relocated garage, revised elevational detail, and changes to landscaping with ancillary development works.

Our role was to prepare designs for a large family dwelling of traditional form with subtle contemporary detailing and the highest quality materials and finishes.  The proposals respond to the client's extensive accommodation brief and the highly sensitive nature of the site by minimising visual impact and placing all rooms to maximise views towards the river and carefully consider orientation.  The house will be built to A2 ("Nearly Zero Energy") standards.

The work involved:

  • Development of client's brief
  • Site assessment and analysis
  • House design and preparation of planning application drawings
  • Coordination with planning consultant
  • Flood risk assessment in conjunction with specialist consultant
  • Landscape design in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.
  • Preparation of Visual Assessment study for High Amenity area in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.

We are now progressing with a construction drawings and specification package to take the project to tender stage and construction on site.

The house was designed by Paul Mulhern, Architect, MRIAI.

Proposed Ground Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

Proposed First Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

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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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].