Aine Curran and husband Peter on how they guided their architect to accommodate their needs
Clients: Aine Curran and husband Peter
What: 1930s four-bedroom semi-detatched house in Co Dublin
Architect: Patricia Mangan, Studio M Architects
Builder: Peter Gorby, Corcannon Construction
Build time: Five months
The Brief: In 2005, we had a garage converted into a large utility room, WC and playroom for the children, with a roof garden above. We asked Patricia to create a large family room with kitchen that would respect the period elements of the house but project something modern inside; to reconfigure the rest of the ground floor to make a study/office and WC.
Upstairs we had two large bedrooms and two tiny ones and a small family bathroom. We wanted three good-sized bedrooms and a decent family bathroom.
THE Works: The previous extension, utility and WC were demolished and rebuilt as a two-storey extension, including at ground level a large open-plan kitchen/dining/living room that opens on to a series of interlocking curved decks in the rear garden. Part of the former kitchen became an office/study, and a new WC was added. Three separate living spaces were created so the family could socialise together or separately.
Upstairs, four steps that had turned at a 90-degree angle were reoriented to give a larger landing space and a light well was added. A new master bedroom was added that contains a walk-in wardrobe, dressing table and en suite, as well as French doors onto a terrace. The family bathroom was moved and increased in size, one of the smaller bedrooms became a laundry room, and the two larger bedrooms were retained.
Budget: €180,000; contingency 15pc.
On your team: "Choose the team you work with very, very carefully. We were lucky, we got a great architect we got along with and a fantastic builder - they had never worked together but managed to figure each other out. Relationships are important."
On shopping: "Decide what you want before you go shopping or you'll get overwhelmed and end up buying something that isn't suitable. Shop around for everything - our two sitting-room sofas were bought online and shipped to Ireland with Cargocare Dublin for €220 for both sofas, but we had quotes for well over €1,000 for delivery.
"We looked on Pinterest then sourced stuff online, which saved a lot of money. We found some good-value items on websites such as maisonsdumonde.com; modern.co.uk; made.com; and iconiclights.co.uk.
"Really nice tiles can be expensive, so I'd recommend doing small areas with unusual tiles for impact. I found the encaustic bathroom tiles at Best Tile, in Waterford, who have good prices and deliver."
On budget: "We saved money by reusing the windows and doors, which we had fitted in 2005, and Patricia worked around them. I knew I wanted stainless steel kitchen units. I saved money by getting them in Ikea and the joiner Kieron Plumber did all the joinery in the kitchen, utility and bedroom.
"We put the money that we saved into the kitchen worktop. It's neolith - a mix of porcelain and ceramic - and it's one of my favourite things."
On the interior: "I wanted a slightly industrial feel warmed up by Danish designs - because we lived in Denmark - with a fun, warm colour."
SOURCES: Floor: Wooden: Noyeks; Tiles: The Design Emporium; Encaustic tiles in bathroom: besttile.ie; Neolith counter top: Stone Merchants through Noyeks; Kitchen units: IKEA; Wardrobes and cupboards: In House; Copper light in kitchen: Greg Tisdell.