Shore thing on the bay
A glass and granite house pays homage to its surroundings on Dalkey’s sea front, writes Alanna Gallagher
House by the Sea is a glass house that exalts in its best feature, the ever changing seascape that is Dublin Bay. “The setting had spectacular views out to sea which the original house, a three-storey, split-level 1980s property, didn’t take advantage of,” explains Andy Richardson of de Blacam and Meagher, who created the new house. He suggested razing the original house and starting again, freeing up a large site for a bigger house on less levels.
The new build, located on the shore in Dalkey, Co Dublin, doesn’t show its true beauty until you’re inside it. Above ground, there is 400 square metres of living space – most of it on the ground floor. Floor to ceiling glass walls look out to sea. Steel structural columns sit inside the wraparound glass, creating hypnotic vertical lines. These have been clad in oak that warms the rooms and knits the oak parquet floor from Hyland Flooring and glass walls together. The columns also conceal the aluminium window frames, making two of the four walls look like one big moving picture.
The views are spectacular. Howth Head is the most northerly landmark visible. The flat blue horizon line, as horizontal as it was when Columbus set sail, draws the eye across Dublin Bay to Dalkey Island and down the southern coast where warm shades of lichen speckled granite rock chime with the materials used in the house.
The kitchen faces east and gets the morning sun. Its MDF-clad doors have been spray painted a sea-green shade that is the colour of angry winter waves. It was designed and made by Des Kearney of Kilkenny-based Designs For Living. Oxblood leather Frag dining chairs surround a wenge coloured pedestal table. The radiator has a smart Carerra marble top, creating a shelf. A discreet sliding door leads outside to a granite terrace. A second glass sliding door allows the kitchen to be shut off from the sitting room, so that while the space looks open plan, it is a bunch of rooms that are interconnected, Richardson explains.
From the sitting room you see huge container ships sitting on the horizon. One can only imagine the hours lost to tracking their progress towards Dublin Port. These moments are punctuated by fishermen motoring by, hugging the shoreline so closely that you can trade terms for their catch.
A suite of Roche Bobois Tarmac coffee tables echo the lines of the rockscape outside. These sit atop a soft red rug that adds a warm glow to the space. As well as neutral sofas from Inreda, a black slate hearth competes with the views for attention.
The rooms are designed around an internal courtyard that has an outdoor fireplace, complete with chimney for smoke dispersal. The courtyard allows the sun to circumnavigate the living spaces illuminating them from one side, then another as it traverses the sky.
The master bedroom is upstairs. Silent Gliss curtains bookend the L-shaped wall of glass and can be swished closed when you want a little introspection. There is also a basement level with a garage big enough for several cars and a corridor with floor to ceiling storage running its length towards the gym which also has a sea view, thanks to a creative gap in the boundary wall.
House by the Sea is one of the properties commended in this year’s Architecture Awards, which were announced on Thursday. Architectureawards.ie. deblacamandmeagher.com