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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:



54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,

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.

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Paul Mulhern


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.



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.


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


What a Weekend: The Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall

Paul Mulhern

The Port Eliot Festival is an annual celebration of words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun.

An incredible array of performers have appeared at Port Eliot since the festival started over a decade ago, all drawn together by the festival’s laid-back approach and inspirational atmosphere. They include the likes of Dominic West, Kate Winslet, Martin Parr, Anna Sui, Anita Pallenberg, Barbara Hulanicki, Ralph Steadman, Jarvis Cocker, Jacob Dylan, Suggs, Julian Cope, the Hemsleys, Beth Orton, Stephen Jones, Jack Stein, Nathan Outlaw, Angela Hartnett, Thomasina Miers, Suzy Menkes, Edmund de Waal, Sarah Waters, William Dalrymple, Hanif Kureishi, Hannah Rothschild and Gavin Turk.

Our Favourite Stage:  Hole & Corner

Hole & Corner magazine is dedicated to celebrating craft, beauty, passion and skill. This year, the pages of the magazine will come alive at Port Eliot Festival, as we invite you to wander (and wonder) through our world at the ‘Makers’ tent.

In partnership with Affinity With Plymouth University, we will be curating a series of daily talks, live demonstrations and workshops from some of the finest designer-makers in the world.

We firmly believe that the route to happiness is making something with your own fair hand: or at the very least having a brew and watching the experts at work. Come in, learn a new skill or hone an old one; reconnect with Mother Nature or just have a mooch, a coffee and a chat.

There will be music from 5-7pm every evening at the Hole & Corner / Moshi Moshi stage… and look out for a number of special exclusive events taking place throughout the weekend

Wood Workshops with Benchmark, Sebastian Cox, Driftwood Surfboards and England’s last clog maker, Jeremy Atkinson.

Leather Workshops Belt and guitar-strap making with leatherware designer Bill Amberg Leather steaming + workshops with Tortie Hoare

Textiles  Dyeing workshops with artisan Aboubakar Fofana

Ceramics Workshops with Jacob Bodilly, Billy Lloyd and Stephie Buttle

Paper & Print Woodblock engraved printing with Robin MacKenzie  & Paper sculpture with Zoe Bradley

Hole & Corner/Moshi Moshi stage, 5pm – 7pm daily

From bands including: Oliver Coates, Meilyr Jones, Sweet Baboo and Seamus Fogarty + DJ sets from Amateurism & Pete Wiggs (St Etienne)

Hofler Architects.  6A Carrickbrennan Road, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.

Skilled Work (Often Goes Unnoticed)

Paul Mulhern

We spotted this fascinating video on Vimeo and loved seeing the largely unappreciated skill that goes into shaping the perfect street lettering that we are constantly informed by but rarely 'notice'.

The film was made by London designer Tom Williams in the early hours of the morning outside his flat.

He could see them moving down the road painting some other road signs, and knew there was supposed to be a BUS STOP sign in that spot, so he set the tripod and camera up and waited for them to start.

And the work is genuinely amazing. You’d think that street painting would be a pretty basic process requiring little specialized skill or technique, but if this clip is any indication, that is far from the case.

With the help of his assistant, this painter confidently applies perfect yellow lettering onto the street freehand. No stencils and no mistakes…

If you had to list everything that fascinates you, it’s safe to say that footage of city workers painting lines on the road wouldn’t make it on the list. But maybe it should…

How much wonderful, useful & creative work of this kind goes on in the world unnoticed?

Look up, look around, take notice!

Talk to us about our work  - SPACIOUS Architects.




Ireland's Largest Strawbale Building!

Paul Mulhern

The Lime House guesthouse featured on RTE Nationwide.

The Lime House guesthouse featured on RTE Nationwide.

Ireland's largest strawbale building designed by Paul Mulhern of SPACIOUS Architects is nearing completion at the Rock Farm, Slane Castle, Co. Meath.  The project was featured on tonight's Nationwide program on RTE (12 mins in). Finishing touches are being put to the eco guesthouse in preparation for the weekend's concert.  The program is available to view on RTE's Player for the next 20 days.

Rock Farm site plan at Slane showing all six straw bale buildings.

Rock Farm site plan at Slane showing all six straw bale buildings.

The Lime House is the Rock Farm Slane’s 2-storey, 6 bedroom eco guesthouse, which has been built out of straw bales and clay plaster with lime on the outside to provide healthy, environmentally-sound eco-tourism accommodation in the Boyne Valley. This guesthouse has been designed to the highest environmental construction standards, and in sympathy with the woodland, organic farmland and architecturally-protected parkland of Slane Castle just over the river from the development.  The Lime House is named after the adjacent stone ruins of a lime kiln which now forms a centre-piece of the new courtyard space to the front.

The Lime House and five other straw bale buildings including a rental cottage, worker's cottage, farm office and a family house for the owners were all designed by architect, Paul Mulhern.  The guesthouse, farm office and yurt camping are all now complete.

The rear of the Lime House, facing the farm.

The rear of the Lime House, facing the farm.

Elevation drawing.

Elevation drawing.

Side Elevation.

Side Elevation.

Perspective drawing of the Lime Home.

Perspective drawing of the Lime Home.

Strawbale, lime plaster, recycled timber materials.

Strawbale, lime plaster, recycled timber materials.

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