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Deansgrange, co dublin

Life in Colour


A former workers cottage of tiny proportions, this semi-detached property had a hotch-potch of extensions added over the years. None of these were of sufficient build quality to justify retention and so were removed, thus stripping the house back to the simple volume of the original cottage.


Transforming just 48m2 of cottage into a modern 3 bedroom family home required a substantial extension - 77m2 arranged over two levels. An extension of this comparative size could very easily overwhelm the original so care was taken with the design to ensure the original structure retained its dominance. The new extension sits entirely behind the original cottage mimicking its form yet subtly differentiated by its detailing. The extension rises no higher than the original and picks up the rear building line of a neighbouring extension. Advantage was taken of the under-used side garden to maximise the available width, allowing the extension partially reveal itself to the street.


One of the starting points for the design was the existing narrow, winding, steep stairs which had to be replaced. By removing a section of the existing 600mm thick rear wall, a new stairs sits neatly contained between old and new without compromising room layouts. A roof light above allows light flood into the middle of the plan.


The design response is all about bigger, brighter Living Spaces suited to the evolving demands of family life. The entire ground floor of the extension is an open-plan Kitchen-Dining-Play-Family space with a largely glazed southerly aspect onto the private rear garden. A reception room in the retained cottage provides an alternative space for those times when a degree of separation is desired.


'Having small touches of colour makes it more colourful than having the whole thing in colour.' Dieter Rams


Stylistically, the extension is clean and contemporary - referencing and complementing the original without slavishly copying. The decision was made early on to start with an all-white interior, maximising light and the feeling of spaciousness. I have a particular interest in the use of colour and how it can transform our perceptions of space and light. Paint - the thinnest layer - can transform a project. In order to bring character and vibrancy to this design, Architexture have punctuated the interior with splashes of bold primary colour. The result is a lively and animated interior that doesn't fully reveal itself until the house is explored.

Typology Extension & Improvement
area 48m2 + 77m2 Extension; 155m2
completed July 2015