Friday 19 April 2019

Here's our pick of the best home extensions on view next month

Private residential homes are opening their doors for Open House

A studio for a stained glass artist
A studio for a stained glass artist
A diagonal addition to a two-bed semi-d
Shane Cotter and Catherine Wilson, Architectural Farm
The studio from the outside with shed, on left, disguised using mirrors
Conservatory room
Courtyard outside the conservatory room with open trellis overhead
Architect David Leech
Architect Eamon Peregrine

Róisín Carabine

In two weeks' time, over 100 of the capital's buildings will fling open their doors to let the public enjoy spaces usually closed to them, as part of Open House Dublin.

Run by the Irish Architecture Foundation, and taking place from October 13 to 15, the theme for this year's free celebration of the city's best architecture is 'The City as a Stage'.

As well as granting entry to landmark buildings such as Berkeley Library at Trinity College and the new Central Bank of Ireland, RIAI award-winners and a number of global corporate 'homes' including Airbnb and Facebook HQ also feature.

Exhibits include an energy-efficient housing scheme for senior citizens, a pioneering family home made from shipping containers and several Grand Canal houseboats.

The studio from the outside with shed, on left, disguised using mirrors
The studio from the outside with shed, on left, disguised using mirrors

But Open House is useful on many different levels. For example, if you're looking to build your own home extension and want some inspiration - or the right architects for the job.

There's a number of private residential homes on this year's list. If you're among the 21pc of Irish homeowners planning on carrying out repairs and renovations this year and hoping to take advantage of the extension to the Government's Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme, Open House is a great opportunity to see how others have pulled it off.

Whether you're revamping a tired period property or struggling to make the most of your shoebox semi-d, it might be worth heading out to glean a few tips from the experts.

Here's our pick of the best home extensions (with renovations) on view, including one extension so new, it's still being finished.

Studio for a stained glass artist

This glazed, box-clever extension on the back of a terraced house in Dublin 8 proves that thoughtfully designed, small-scale additions can be just as transformative in bringing in light and connecting spaces.

A diagonal addition to a two-bed semi-d
A diagonal addition to a two-bed semi-d

Designed by architect Eamon Peregrine as a studio for a stained glass artist and keen gardener, this tiny 80 sq ft extension takes its inspiration from a bookcase that Peregrine designed with fellow architect Tom Maher as part of their collaborative furniture project, 8by4.

"The structure of the studio is made from horizontal and vertical interlocking planks, cut from 8 by 4 sheets of birch plywood with minimum waste, and supports a frameless glazed box," says Peregrine.

The plywood also cleverly provides shade from direct sunlight and shelving to display the clients' collection of glass objects.

It's a masterpiece of constructional genius, given that the whole plywood structure slots together without the use of fixings or glue, while seamlessly and effortlessly opening up the back of the house to the garden.

Outside, a shed at the rear of the garden, which houses a glass kiln, has been cleverly disguised using mirrors, which allow it to visually disappear into its surroundings.

Number 12 St Alban's Road, Dublin 8 is on view Saturday, October 14, 11am to 5pm.

Conservatory Room

The transformation of this two-up, two-down in Killester, North Dublin is a lesson in how to successfully tackle that tricky fusion of modernity with 1950s suburban Irish architecture.

Rather than follow the current trend of contrasting old with new, where add-ons are a dominant feature, this rear garden extension by London-based Irish architect David Leech takes a more 'whole-istic' approach. The result is a building that reads as one singular entity.

The modest 410 sq ft 'conservatory room' takes its cue from the house's Edwardian characteristics and is reminiscent of a traditional orangery.

"The idea was to create something both familiar but also new by exaggerating and amplifying existing features without doing a pastiche," says Leech.

This is expressed in the extension's clever yet stunningly simple structural construction using readily available, off-the-shelf building materials presented in new and creative ways.

The roof is a prime example. Exposed beams are laid at 45 degrees, creating a striking shallow coffer. The beams are painted green and pink where the roof glazing is, creating the illusion of depth.

Outside, a pilaster wall continues from the extension connecting to an outhouse to create a courtyard with an open trellis overhead providing shelter and shade.

Number 22 St Brigid's Road, Killester, Dublin 5 is on view on Saturday, October 14, 2pm to 5pm.

Diagonal Addition

Designed by architectural practice Architectural Farm, this 1930s two-bed semi-d in Raheny was given an injection of light and a new lease of life with the addition of a large 1,022 sq ft two-storey extension to the rear, upping its footprint to 1,776 sq ft.

Shane Cotter and architect partner wife Catherine Wilson are brilliant with difficult spaces and on this large west facing, wedge-shaped site, it shows.

The brief was to create an open-plan family living/dining/kitchen space that connects to the garden but doesn't forget the old house, creating a master bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

"The new structure at ground floor takes its design cue from the garden site, twisting to create diagonal views through the house from the original front living space through the new hallway and out to the garden via a cantilevered window seat," says Cotter.

It's designed both inside and out in stark contrast to the old. Sliding orange doors separate the old house from the new living space with its polished concrete floors, exposed timber roof beams and pale grey walls.

Number 512 Howth Road, Raheny, Dublin 5 is on view Saturday, October 14, 11am to 5pm.

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