“As in many cases, our project was constrained by many factors such as layout, neighbours, regulations and also by the gap between our desires and budget. Diarmaid was able to take on all of these and proposed alternatives that complied with all the restraints while providing us with the functionality we were seeking as well as being architecturally bold, pleasing and beautiful.” Elizabeth & Daniel
This 1960s semi-detached house was extensively refurbished and extended to provide a modern low-energy four bedroom home. Along with the refurbishment of the existing house, a new two-storey extension was added at the side, a single-storey extension to the front and rear and the attic space was converted to provide ample storage space.
Key client requirements included the creation of a new bright and spacious kitchen/dining area at the back of the house with good visibility of the garden, a separate living room directly connected to the new kitchen/dining area also with good visibility of the garden, a more generous clutter-free entrance hall with a new stairs in a more discrete location and a naturally lit stairwell.
The most obvious addition to the completed house is the new rear extension, which has a unique shape in response to the clients’ brief as well as the orientation of the back garden. By keeping the new rear extension to one side, natural daylight and a visual connection are maintained between the sitting room and the back garden while the desired direct connection between the new kitchen/dining area and the living room is also achieved. The angled extension also makes possible a generous external patio area running along side the extension, rather than pushing it further into the garden and away from the main house.
The repositioned stairs in the new two-storey extension to the side of the house, creates a cleaner and more generous entrance hall. The stairwell is flooded with natural light thanks to a fully glazed external wall, bringing natural light into the middle of the house on all three levels. The timber and glass stairs was custom-designed to be as transparent and as refined as possible.
A limited palette of materials and colours was used throughout with an emphasis on the careful detailing of the everyday elements of the project – the internal doors go to the ceiling, skirting boards and architraves are flush with the walls throughout and shadows gaps are used between all junctions. The result is calm and understated spaces, where the new additions and the original house seamlessly read as one.
The original house had a BER (Building Energy Rating) of E1 (312.13 kWh/m2/yr). Extensive sustainability measures were undertaken, along with a combination of careful detailing and careful execution on site: The ground floor, walls and roofs are insulated to a high standard, new triple glazed windows are installed throughout, underfloor heating is provided on all three levels and all space and water heating is provided by a new geothermal heat pump, eliminating the need for an oil or gas boiler. A centralised mechanical heat recovery ventilation system works in tandem with a strict airtightness regime. These combined measures have reduced the annual energy consumption of the house by 80%, giving the house the equivalent BER of A2, with an actual annual energy consumption of 42.24kWh/m2/yr.
Completed in 2016
Photography by Richard Hatch, © 2016