Downsizing without compromising on the home comforts

Moving from a large home to a smaller property can seem a daunting prospect, but a smaller place doesn’t have to mean losing out on design, comfort or character

 

Downsizing on their own doorstep, or near enough, was the aim of the owners of a striking streamlined property in Malahide, north Co Dublin.

With their family grown up, they spotted the potential of an uninhabited semi-detached cottage in an architectural conservation area close to their former home .

One of 22 pitched-roof three-bay single-storey cottages built in 1910 with street frontage and private open space to the rear, it presented the added challenge of complying with Development Plan restrictions.

Architect Amanda Bone, who was hired by the couple to work on the project, set about pushing the tight north-facing site of 194sq m (2088sq ft) to its limit in a cost-efficient manner while respecting the scale of the existing house and complying with the Development Plan.

Extensive research on its requirements, study of recent developments in the area and meetings with the planning officer for the area as well as the conservation officer in Fingal County Council ensured delays were avoided.

“The emphasis was on designing a spacious dwelling that appeared larger than it actually was. This was achieved through the creation of light-filled living areas with strong seamless connections between inside and out,” Bone says.

Old and new

The cottage was reconfigured and extended, with ceiling heights raised to follow the roof pitch to provide the bedroom, bathroom and utility areas.

The rear wall was removed and an L-shaped single storey, containing the open-plan kitchen, dining and living areas was orientated to capture south, west and east light.

This was lowered 0.6m below existing ground level to allow for a subtle connection of the old and the new, to accommodate higher floor-to-ceiling height and to ensure the new extension was not visible above the roofscape of the existing house when viewed from the street.

The full-height sliding glazed door, steps and a long rooflight draw the visitor in from the entrance through to the new living area and out into the garden.

Constant daylight

The higher floor-to-ceiling levels; full-height glazing and roof lights blur the boundaries between interior and exterior, creating a sense of space by providing constant daylight and uninterrupted layered views.

For the owners, the simplicity of living in a well laid out space, designed to suit their specific needs, allows them to enjoy every day of this phase of their lives. Some pieces of furniture came with them, but mostly this house is all about embracing the new.

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