“Bright and spacious best describes our house after the extension by the architects. We now have light filled rooms and space – lots of bright space. Light filled space for us to enjoy as a family; for lots of people to gather and chat before an extended family lunch; for friends to admire the view from the large sliding doors into the garden. Its room for children to chase one another or simply to sit on the floor and play with toys.The house works as a home for us for now and well into the future.” [Clients' Comments RIAI Awards 2012]

This fine 1930s home in Dublin had been extended to the rear before our client’s bought the home. This first extension, while providing useful living space, took all natural light from the dining room. The kitchen also struggled to offer any light and view to the rear garden because storage sheds and utility rooms once useful, now redundant, were in the way. Our project therefore was to open up the house to the rear garden, to the view and to the light but also to unblock everyday movement around the family rooms, thereby opening up the house to itself.
We cleared away all dead sheds and made a 1.5m wide oak and glass link, which would flood the kitchen with sun and offer easy access to the garden. We put a bench inside and out against a sunny wall to mark this new relatipnship of interior and exterior rooms. We made a new door between the oak link and the previous extension – allowing access from this room – once landlocked in the plan – to the kitchen via the link. We made sliding doors between the dining room and the kitchen to assist ordinary social life in the house, to make it easy to eat, to dispense with the need to circulate through the hallway with food. This means the family can now circulate from room to room, enfilade. We tucked the utility in behind the kitchen, reversed the original layout of the kitchen to provide more storage and to capture maximum light. Our premise is that the careful reading of the order of a house and the way in which people use or wish to use it, very often suggests that a small and precise intervention can unlock the difficulties experienced in the home. It is not always necessary to build more space for a house to feel more spacious, but small rooms can make a big difference and can pull a once disconnected series of living rooms together.

Location: St. Mobhi Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Year: 2011
Stage: 1-4
Size: 20 m2
Team: CAST Architecture, O’Connor Design