Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Work on the extension and alteration to a Victorian cottage in the midlands is approaching completion and the Ballymore Eustace based contractor Pat Doran is doing a sterling job. Many design modifications were made pre-contract but since the work started it has been relatively plain sailing. Watch this space for completed photos in a month or two. The main feature of the design is the interlinked Dining, Kitchen and Garden room with the 2 storey high conservatory. The house itself has undergone a serious energy retrofit also including Gutex breathable dry lining boards (thanks to  MacCann and Byrne in Athboy aka Ecological Building Systems, great chaps to work with).

Monday, September 10, 2012


When, as an architect, I walk on site and see the side of a house taken out (as planned) you would normally detect a faint smile on my face. I love the cut and thrust of the building process as I am always looking ahead to the final result when the altered or extended property is completed, looking well and enjoyed by the client.
But what does the client think at this shocking appearance? Probably a feeling of terror and anxiety and a strong feeling of  "Have I done the right thing?". This of course is their dear house, their castle, their private domain and it's half demolished!  Also it is normally the first time they have had such  an invasion on their life. Perhaps I should hide that smile a little more in future but the one thing I won't do (and don't need to thank God) is share their deep felt anxieties.
As an architect I put trust in the builder, the chap who is actually doing the work, and this explains why at the first or second meeting I have with the client I explain to them that I reserve the right to not work with certain contractors, those being the ones I have neither worked with before nor can get good professional references for.
We can never be in complete control of every process but we sure can avoid obvious errors and lack of judgements. The picture is of a Terenure project in Rathdown Park...at that scary stage.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Deep reveals conceal night time shutters.
Work has just completed  on a simple but effective extension to a semi-detached house in Collinswood off Collins Avenue in Dublin's northside. A pair of roof windows centrally placed over the french doors give a semi-conservatory effect while minimizing heat loss. The ceiling profile in the extension area was raised to further contribute to the spacious and bright effect. A pair of window seats were created at either side of the french doors to facilitate daytime book reading. The increased view of the rear garden has the added effect of increasing the perception of space and helping the Indian sandstone terrace feel part of the extended room. The project also involved the construction of a front porch and refurbishment of 2 bathrooms. The clients expressed delight at both the design and the overall efficiency and skill of the contractor Karl Gray Construction.
New rear elevation
Former rear elevation