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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

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Filtering by Tag: Rural design guide

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.


New Rural House Design, Oldcastle, Co. Meath - Project Update

Paul Mulhern

I have been working on a new one-off house on the site of an intriguing old ruined farm just outside of Oldcastle in Co. Meath.  The stone ruins form two semi-enclose courtyards to the north and south and the existing site levels vary by over three floors with huge stone retaining walls forming boundaries to the adjoining fields.  There is also a detached ruined farmhouse to the west, an old orchard field and a nearby stream.  We are planning to salvage and reuse the stone for the main elevations.



The nature of the site makes for a challenging and interesting project.  We are proposing to build on the site of the existing main structure so are not introducing new buildings into the landscape. Due to the differing levels we've ended up with a three-storey design that places the living spaces on the top floor.  This allows us to benefit from the beautiful views in all directions while hiding most of the volume of the house.  Only the uppermost floor of three is visible from the main vantage points outside of the site.  Placing the living spaces up top also allows us to create bright and open accommodation with exposed chunky oak roof trusses supporting the natural slate roof.  Views to the north are framed with by a large glazed opening that slides open to a narrow step-out balcony.  A large raised terrace is located to the south and this is on top of part of the master bedroom.  The terrace connects with steps down to the main semi-enclosed courtyard garden at the rear.

The two double bedrooms and their en suite bathrooms are located on the middle floor.  The master bedroom has large windows and a glazed door leading out to the south courtyard with its beautiful enclosing retaining walls.  We'll be designing bespoke joinery for the rooms including a deep window seat here.

The ground floor entry level is below ground level to the south and east.  As well as the entry hall and W.C. this level will contain generous storage space and room for plant equipment for heating, solar panels, heat-pump and rainwater recycling.

The staircase will be an impressive design element linking all three floors.  It will feature stone from ground to first floor and then change to lighter hardwood above where it will wrap around the walls an include a walkway with views up and down.  Light will filter down from the numerous openings above creating a bright and inviting space.

The project meets all criteria of Meath County Council's Rural design Guide and is due to go in for planning permission.  We'll post progress updates here on that process and the continuing work on construction drawings and the full interior design scheme.

Read our earlier post on the reuse of farm buildings here.

Read about Paul's previous work at the Rock Farm Straw Bale Project here

Here's a link to Meath County Council's Rural Design Guide.

Contact SPACIOUS Architects to discuss any queries or potential project HERE