Available: A Cottage on the Irish Coast

Editor’s note: Today, we continue our coverage of Peter Legge Associates’ very fine work at Connemare, with a detailed look at the home’s interiors:

Some background on the client?  What was your assignment from them?

The clients are Dublin-based but have had an existing holiday home on the adjacent site for the last 40 years. They are a retired professional couple with an ever expanding family of grandchildren who all visit the area to escape from a busy city life. They have long looked to expand to accommodate this. In consultation with Peter Legge, they recognized that the renovation of the ruined stone cottages could provide the solution. The cottage is also available for rent when not in use, which is a welcome source of additional income: http://www.roundstone-connemara.com/Self-Catering/Folan-s-Cottage-Dolans.html

The inspiration for the design?

We sought to retain the essential character of the cottages externally. Internally, the colors of the surrounding landscape and its peacefulness and dramatic changes in weather were to be reflected in the design. The combination of both traditional (stone, slate, rough plaster) and contemporary materials (planer glazing, polished concrete) was another factor.

Challenges inherent in the site? How did the design respond?

The project was a ten year long saga, mainly due to the relatively complex nature of the Irish planning process and the sensitivity of the site in question. After long negotiations and initial refusals, subsequent changes in planning policy eventually allowed the project to proceed. The local building contractor on the job responded very well to the challenges of the design (cantilevered concrete stairs, polished concrete floors etc.). Site access, ground conditions and the issue of ever encroaching sand dunes were all easily resolved without any major problems during construction. Some time was spent ensuring that an air source heat pump would efficiently provide for the heating and hot water needs for the house.

How does it work with the local vernacular?

We believe that it sits comfortably in the landscape; the stone walls built of the same stone that litters the site itself. Hopefully the contemporary insertions complement what was there before and the essential character of the cottages is retained.

How do you judge its success?

We are very happy with the outcome, but more importantly the client has been very happy also. What may have been originally conceived as an addition to the existing holiday home has now become the focal point of their time spent there. Happily, local contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers and craftsmen were all able to contribute to its success.

For more on Peter Legge Associates, go to http://www.plaarchitects.ie/

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