Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Refurbishment and extension to family dwelling, Co. Leitrim

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One of the most enjoyable aspects of our work is witnessing architecture make a family fall in love with their home again. This was our experience of a recent refurbishment and extension to a family dwelling in Co. Leitrim.

Everything about the pretty village of Leitrim, that attracted them twelve years ago, still appealed to our clients. They had simply outgrown their first home. Family visits from Donegal were now an expanding entity in themselves as cousins for their two girls arrived along.

Entertaining family was never going to be compromised by this pair, so they came to us seeking to expand and open up their kitchen-dining space and to find a way to incorporate a snug sitting area.

Although the site is narrow we were able to add on a small extension to the side. We flooded the new extension with light from above, as well as improving access to an existing patio garden directly from the kitchen, with the addition of new glazed doors.

Reconfiguring the existing internal layout created a transformation of the boxed, defined spaces too often the property developers’ layout of choice. The look of the new space is contemporary, a light filled soothing palette of whites and blue greys with pops of colour in the soft furnishings.

Now at the end of a busy working week our clients like nothing better than to avail of the stunning amenities Leitrim has to offer and return home to the space that more than ever is the heart of their home. We know they are sure to maximise their new kitchen over the holiday period. We wish them and all Allan Curran clients and friends a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Our clients wanted to open their house up to create more room for entertaining family and friends, and although the site is narrow we were able to add on a small extension to the side. We also removed a few walls inside the house, so that with contemporary finishes, fittings and furniture the whole look and feel of the house has been transformed. Our clients are delighted with the light- filled Scandi- feel of their new kitchen, dining and living areas and are sure to make good use of them over the holiday period.

Co. Leitrim Before

Co. Leitrim After 1

Co. Leitrim After 1

Co. Leitrim After 2

Co. Leitrim After 2

Co. Leitrim After 3

Co. Leitrim After 3

Co. Leitrim After 4

Co. Leitrim After 4

 

 

Co. Leitrim After 5

Co. Leitrim After 5

Co. Leitrim After 6

Co. Leitrim After 6

Co. Leitrim After 7

Co. Leitrim After 7

 

Refurbishment, renovation and extension of 1980s dwelling located Co. Fermanagh

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As part of the refurbishment a good portion of the existing ground floor was reconfigured to put a kitchen/dining space at the southern gable with an increased window size to maximise the light and the view. The old kitchen was turned into a “winter snug” that was separated physically from the garden room with a screen but this was glazed to maintain a visual connection and once again to maximise the southern light, feeding as many spaces as possible.

1980s refurbishment and extension

Existing interiors of dwelling

 

 

1980s dwelling

refurbished main living room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first floor bedrooms and dressing areas were also reconfigured to give two top quality bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and additional storage space.

 

1980s dwelling

New extension to rear of dwelling

1980s refurbishment

View of new glazing to extension

We have a growing awareness, as we pull ourselves out of the recession and start to build again, that there is a distinct shortage of sub-contractors.  The contractor, Stephen Farry, has done his best to keep to the programme but is continually delayed by the sub-contractors, who,  in turn, are stretched to meet the growing demand while honouring long standing relationships.  In short, delays that we are experiencing on many jobs are nobody’s fault, just a symptom of a general shortage of skilled labour.

In this, and many other cases, we are left to rely on the clients understanding and tolerance.  So far that has been forthcoming and the work is proceeding, albeit at a slower pace than hoped for.

1980s dwelling

Refurbished bathroom

1980s refurbishment

Refurbished Dressing Room

 

Refurbishment, renovation and extension to existing 1980s dwelling located in Co. Fermanagh

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In the early designs it was envisaged that the refurbishment needed to include a half or two storey extension to accommodate the client’s brief which gave the extension a form similar to the existing but with a much more contemporary feel. However, when they revised their brief the reduced accommodation could be incorporated into a single storey. Adding a single storey extension to the existing format of the refurbishment was problematic without using a flat roof, which the Client wanted to avoid. We therefore devised a delta wing roof which, as well as avoiding a flat roof solution, gave us a number of positive contributions to the project.  It provided a clear distinction between old and new while a deep overhang created much needed shadowing for the wall of glass that was important to the Client in order to link the garden room to the landscaped patios and beyond.

To further accentuate the separation between traditional and contemporary the “garden room” extension is to be clad in natural cedar contrasting with the heavier wet dashed block work of the existing dwelling. The refurbishment and extension are designed to passive house levels of airtightness and insulation.

Refurbishment of 1980s dwelling

Refurbishment of 1980s dwelling – Delta wing roof taking shape.

1980s refurbishment

Refurbishment and extension of 1980s dwelling – block work and steel to Pavilion extension

Refurbishment, renovation and extension to existing 1980s dwelling located in Co. Fermanagh

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As Enniskillen architects we were approached by a Client looking to start a refurbishment project.  He had purchased an existing 1980’s dwelling to which he wanted to add more reception areas, to make best use of the south facing aspect and to modernise the existing building, all in a very short time frame.

The project was to be carried out in two phases, the first was to make changes to the existing house to make it habitable and allow the clients to vacate their old house. The second phase involved an extension to the rear but a key question quickly arose, how to join old to new. It was agreed that it was important, visually, to differentiate between the two so the design for the second phase called for a departure from the traditional style of the existing building and one which also allowed the clients to put their own mark on their future home.

1980s refurbishment

Front of existing 1980s dwelling before refurbishment

  

1980s Refurbishment

Rear of existing 1980s dwelling before refurbishment

It was very important to resolve this issue quickly in order to get the design into the planning system and keep the project on schedule. At the same time the issue was so fundamental that rushing it wasn’t an option. The essence of the layout involved bringing the garden to the southwest into play as an outside extension of the new ‘garden room’. This was to be the area where friends and family would gather but it would also be an area from which you could view both old and new together so it needed careful consideration.

We discussed it with our client, changed it around a fair bit and eventually came up with a very different solution.

1980s refurbishment - early design of extension to rear

1980s refurbishment early design

Refurbishment of existing dwelling, Henry Street, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

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Timber boarding

Timber boarding

Following consideration of innumerable sample colours the timber boarding has been painted with a light grey breathable Colortrend Woodcare Solid Colour Woodstain. The timber shutters have been painted to match the Munster Joinery Aluclad timber and aluminium, triple glazed windows. The old railing at the rear has been removed and the gap between the concrete slab walkway around the building and the DOE fence has been filled with Saige Longlife recycled decking to significantly increase the usable space. The walkway has been waterproofed and a granular surface has been applied.

At the rear the old railing has been removed and by fixing the new railing to the outside face of the concrete slab an extra 8” has been added to the useful width of the deck. The glass panels have yet to be fitted.

Upper level balcony

Upper level balcony

The 50mm screed has been laid on 150mm of rigid insulation and the first coat of emulsion paint has been applied to all walls and ceilings

Upper level internal

Upper level internal

 

Refurbishment of existing dwelling, Henry Street, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

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Lower level

Lower level

Lower level

Lower level

The plaster to the lower level was tested and any boast plaster removed and a scratch coat was applied to the remaining sound render in preparation for a “stone” tile to give a visually heavier base to the upper level which is to have a pale grey paint finish to the existing boarding.

The three bedrooms, ensuite, bathroom, hot press and “chill area” were formed from lightweight block work and plastered. A new timber and stainless steel and glass stairs will come down in the centre of the “chill area”.

Internal lower level

Internal lower level

 

 

 

 

 

Upper level living area

Upper level living area

 

The upper level stud work, plastered and skimmed and is almost ready for the insulation and screed. The two way gas fire has been installed and negotiations are underway with the gas companies to find a suitable supplier for the gas which will fuel the heating, cooking and stove.

Internal upper level with gas fireplace

Internal upper level with gas fireplace

Refurbishment of existing dwelling, Henry Street, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

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Henry Street Upper Level

Upper level

On the upper level all the stud walls are stripped away and the entire frame has been strengthened with an internal skin of timber boarding. The chimney breast is being constructed and the two way gas fire installed.

New stud work walls have been erected on the concrete slabs.

view of roof from bridge

view of roof from bridge

The existing manmade slates have been stripped, the chimney has been removed and plywood has been fitted to the entire roof.

The  new aluminium fascias soffits and barges and the steel coated roof have been fitted and after a long delay in the supply chain the aluminium sheeting was fitted.

street view

street view

In order to reduce the noise levels a sound absorbing plasterboard was used on the inside of the elevation facing the road and in addition two of the larger windows where closed up. However, in order that the elevation to the road would not become too bland it was decided to make a feature of the closing of the windows as well as taking the opportunity to add additional sound insulation.  Timber slatted shutters, running at 90 degrees to the main boarding, were constructed and will be painted dark grey to match the windows.

Shutters

Timber slatted shutters

Refurbishment of existing dwelling Henry Street, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

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The building was stripped back to its original 1974 timber frame which exposed the need for some bracing of the external walls.

The entire external wall is to be lined with plywood and reinsulated plasterboard is also to go on top of this.

Upper level stripped back

Upper level stripped back

Wall bracing and stud partitions

Wall bracing and stud partitions

The entire lower level was opened for development and is to accommodate 3 bedrooms and a bathroom.  Two of the bedrooms are to include ensuite shower rooms and dressing rooms.  The central area at the base of the stairs is to act as a “chill” area.  The chill area and the bedrooms are all to lead out onto the water’s edge.

Lower level stud work and stairwell

Lower level stud work and stairwell

 

Lower level

Lower level

The upper level is to feature an open plan kitchen, dining, living and study area with the master bedroom at the northern end and a utility at the southern gable.

The existing railings are badly rusted and are to be replaced with stainless steel and glass.  The walkway which forms a roof over the lower level is to be waterproofed and given a non slip coating.   It is hoped to fix the new railings on the outside of the concrete slab to maximise the area.

Existing External railing

Existing External railing

 

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Architects in Schools update

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We’re getting near to the end of our Architects in Schools programme now, and it’s good to see the Irish Architecture Foundation giving us and Loreto Community School in Milford a feature on their blog http://www.mydesignjournal.ie/loreto-students-take-designs-to-the-town/ An exhibition of the student work (from all the Donegal schools taking part) will be launched in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny on 17th April, so after the Easter break the students will be full steam ahead getting their presentations ready.

The problem we set for the students was to develop the village of Milford in such a way that the fabric of the village would be strengthened and the community as a whole would benefit. This was to be achieved by designing facilities and spaces that would encourage people of all ages to meet and mix, while substantially improving the built environment in the village.

The focus was placed on the northern part of the village, where many buildings are in poor condition and where open space is available, and where there is an opportunity to strengthen links between the village and Loreto Community School.

Students were asked to choose from the following selection of building/environmental works:

  • a place for storytelling
  • a pop- up cinema
  • a play and leisure area, including rock face and allotment park
  • works to improve the public face of a building
  • an outdoor music/concert venue
  • a car workshop showcase
  • a dance studio
  • 2 new classrooms (one outdoor) to Loreto Community School
  • an outdoor pop- up performance space at Loreto Community School
  • any better idea.

Materials were to be everyday, recycled or recyclable, and local.

The results will be really interesting and well worth a look, and I’m delighted that the
students were able to follow a design process very similar to what they would go through as a student of architecture, or indeed as a working architect. Research, site selection, site analysis and the social implications of buildings are all areas that we discussed, before any design work took place. I think the students now have a very good idea of how the process works, and of what it’s like to work as part of a team in a creative enterprise.

The exhibition will run from the 17th to the 20th of April at the Regional Cultural Centre and it ties in with other design events taking place there at the same time, so why not pop in and see what you think?

DSC_0018DSC_0002

 

 

 

Life as a student

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Student life…

For a while now, I’ve been working with Transition Year pupils at Loreto Community School, Milford as part of the National Architects in Schools Initiative, a programme admirably promoted by the Irish Architecture Foundation to give second level students a taste of what it’s like to work as an architect.

The programme is drawing to an end soon, with an exhibition of student work planned for the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny on 17th April. The students are going to present their work to assorted guests, teachers and fellow pupils, so it’s a lot like life as a third- level architecture student where there are deadlines, presentations and the dreaded crit seemingly every other week.

A critique, or crit in short, is the focal point of work in the architecture studio, and it’s where students pin their project work up for discussion with tutors and fellow students. ‘Discussion’ is a loose term, as it’s more a mixture of parental advice and firing squad, in my memory mostly firing squad with the parental advice coming afterwards, if at all.

But back to the point. Several of the Loreto students have shown an interest in going on to study architecture at third level, and I’ve been asked quite a few times which Leaving Cert subjects would help most. In my day the best subjects to pick were Art and Physics and I’m sure that hasn’t changed much. In my wisdom I hadn’t studied either of them for the Leaving Cert, hence the firing squads but it’s not impossible to get through without those subjects.

For anybody thinking about studying architecture, it’s a long haul (5 years plus a year out in the middle, with another couple of years of work experience and exams afterwards before qualification as an architect) so it does require a pretty fierce commitment. Every architectural student knows about ‘all nighters’ where a looming project deadline means no sleep for a couple of nights and days. I look back with nostalgia on the hallucinations, dinners being cooked at 6 in the evening and again at 4 in the morning, slicing fingers (my own, mostly) with Stanley knives while making models and the sheer, unrelenting pressure for months on end. Still, I wouldn’t change it for anything because it was really satisfying and, to borrow Bono’s phrase, it changed the shape of my head. Perhaps it’s better if I let Transition Year students discover all that for themselves, though.

This short film by Arbuckle Industries is scarily close to my own experience in college, and I think it’s great viewing for any second- level student wondering what life as an architecture student is really like.

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