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 Tag: Design

In Praise of Shadows

Paul Mulhern

Spacious+Architects+Dublin.jpeg

A bunch of us were out cycling this morning in the Wicklow hills and I got talking to a lighting designer about the critical importance of light in an architectural project.  It is as important as the physical materials we build with - yet its intangible, delicate and takes real feeling, skill and experience to handle.  

We got on to talking about how important the shadows and darkness are too.  You can't feel, sense and appreciate one without the other.  It brought me back to one of my favourite little books - In Praise of Shadows by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki.

Comparisons of light with darkness are used to contrast Western and Eastern cultures.  The West, in its striving for progress, is presented as continuously searching for light and clarity, while the subtle and subdued forms of oriental art and literature are seen by Tanizaki to represent an appreciation of shadow and subtlety, closely relating to the traditional Japanese concept of wabi & sabi

The type of detail a sensitive eye notices...

The book itself is a little gem - Amazon Link.  (You can find a PDF of it pretty easily online too).

If you are looking for an architect with a sensitive eye for detail - get in touch!  We'd love to hear from you.

Spacious - RIAI registered architects and interior designers.

Our contact details.

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.

Interior Design & The Coffee Experience. World of Coffee Expo - Dublin.

Paul Mulhern

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   Maya Angelou.

Yes, we've been to Melbourne.  We have spent three years there and lapped up as much of the city's coffee culture as we possibly could.  The way coffee is done there has to be experienced - has to be felt, and we believe that Dublin needs to offer up more of that experience that tackles all the senses, not just taste & smell.

Melbourne's affinity for coffee developed around the mid-20th century thanks to a myriad of independent espresso cafes.  After World War II, large numbers of Italians and Greeks migrated to Australia, and to Melbourne in particular.  Australian Italians miagrated to Melbourne later, following the development of the piston-driven espresso machine by Achille Gaggia in 1945. Italians introduced Australia to espresso shots, and beyond that the idea of cafe culture. Around the mid-century, Melbourne began establishing itself as a cultural city, and newly opened coffeehouses proved to be excellent public meeting places for socializing.

Australians embrace the English tradition of long, hearty, cooked breakfasts. So it's only a natural fit that Australian cafes seamlessly blend coffee cafe culture with food, leisure, and conversation—as opposed to work with the Americans (think non-stop refill filter).

The fierce independence of Melbourne coffee shops extends to nearly every element of their design - the interior materials, lighting, textures, acoustics but also their quirky names, the signage, letterpress business cards, takeaway cup graphics, the music and the design magazines on hand to browse. And then there's the coffee!  

Once you've experienced this kind of coffee passion you'll never darken the door of a corporate chain shop again.


This blog post is timed of the lead up to the World of Coffee - Dublin Expo. - 23rd to 25th June 2016, RDS Dublin.

Talk to us about our experience and how we can help you start up yours - Interior Design, Architecture, Planning Permissions, Tender, Construction, Branding, Image & Design Inspiration, Health & Safety, Budget Control.

Useful Links:

Spacious+Architects+Dublin.jpeg

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.