Text description provided by the architects. Located close to Dublin City Centre, this existing single-bedroom terraced cottage was in very poor condition. The cottage, like many others of its type, was built well and has lasted for generations but was now dark, damp, and unsuitable for contemporary living.
The project involved the careful refurbishment and extension of the cottage to provide a new 2-bedroom dwelling within a footprint of only 43sqm. Extensive demolition was required, and planning permission was granted to demolish a derelict chimney and fireplace which occupied a large amount of space within the house. This unlocked the potential to add a 2nd bedroom and provide as much new living space as possible.
A new pinwheel of timber beams and walls divides the space of the house in plan, creating a central rooflight that illuminates the house, replacing the old fireplace with a contemporary light tunnel around which the rooms are arranged.
The living spaces are compact and efficient. A high-level library is accessed from a ladder in the living room, maximising the available space of the cottage roof. Folding timber window shutters were added where the house faces the street, for privacy in the bedroom and bathroom. These split shutters can be partly opened or closed, to allow light in while protecting privacy. The new bedroom and kitchen look onto a small outdoor terrace at the rear of the house.
A new concrete floor, timber roof and masonry rear walls were inserted behind the existing retained facade, highly insulated, and lined internally with simple plaster and white-oiled timber finishes. The completed cottage is bright, warm, and airy with underfloor heating throughout. Colour is used sparingly and intensely to emphasise the central light tunnel while the timber is exposed to warmly contrast the other muted tones.
The project was delayed by restrictions on construction activity during the Covid-19 pandemic, but started on site in May 2021, and was handed over complete in December 2021.
By bringing this home back into use, this refurbishment shows the potential within the many cottages like this all over Ireland, to bring them up to today’s standards and provide housing for the way we want to live today.