Reviving and extending

an existing home — fit for the future

A private residence at Oaklee

This project involves the extension of a 1970’s bungalow which requires significant upgrading and the addition of accommodation to meet the contemporary requirements of a family home. The proposals involve a minor intervention at ground floor level to provide extra living space to the property and the partial first floor extension of the property to provide family sleeping accommodation and bathrooms.

The courtyard has been used as the main organisational element of the house and the ground floor plan has been organised with it at its heart — allowing the houses living spaces and occupants enjoy the sun passage throughout the day.

House at Oaklee extended and redesigned by Diarmuid Reil Architect
House at Oaklee

Design strategy

The ground floor extension proposals largely maintain the orientation of the functions of the house, but through internal re-planning and some minor extensions allow for the better utilisation of the ground floor area and bring it into line with the contemporary requirements for a family home. The extension at ground floor involves a minor extension to the rear, which contains the dining area. The first floor extension includes 3 bedrooms and bathroom accommodation, and has been located centrally in the plan to maximise seperation distances to the adjoining housing and therefore minimise any impact on these properties. The privacy and amenity of the adjoining properties have been central to the design development process. A part of this design strategy has been to maintain all ground floor amenities areas, internal and external, in the existing locations to ensure the proposals don't alter the current relationship with these properties. The existing house sits in mature gardens with established existing boundary treatment which will be retained and supplemented as appropriate, under the supervision of a qualified horticulturist, including the protection of the existing vegetation during the works.

Use of space

The driving force in the spatial organisation of the house has been the existing central courtyard space which is much used and much enjoyed by the occupants, despite its current slightly detached location but because of the privacy and seclusion it offers in a suburban location such as this. As such this courtyard has been used as the main organisational element of the house and the ground floor plan has been organised with it at its heart. It will enjoy a new position as the fulcrum of the house and will act as an external room between the formal living room and the family great room. The intention is that the lines between the internal and external are blurred and this space becomes very much part of the interior spaces of the house and from this the house spills out into the garden. This strategy is reinforced by view and glimpses of the space as you enter the house and as you circulate through the ground and first floor areas. This strategy also allows for the orientation of the house to be maximised, which the previous design ignored, allowing the houses living spaces and occupants enjoy the sun passage throughout the day.

Materials

The design proposals are contemporary in nature and utilise high quality traditional materials, in a contemporary manner, to provide a high quality external finish. The selected finishes, brick and render, complement the existing house and the adjoining building stock. The existing house is of very little architectural merit, indeed a typical 'speculative type development' so to mimic or copy this style, we feel would have been a mistake. As such the proposal presents a house which is contemporary but leans heavily on the vernacular tradition of Irish architectural form and becomes an important element of the existing street.

Plans of a home extension at Oaklee

Diarmuid Reil MRIAI RIBA is a Registered Architect