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‘‘We generally wanted a brighter and airier space as the house was mostly north facing.’’

we could push the envelope,” she confides. “We had identified a few things that we wanted to achieve. These included a modern open plan kitchen dining area, lots of light, a good downstairs toilet and shower room. We also wanted a downstairs bedroom if possible. And for the old house to be renovated.” “We generally wanted a brighter and airier space, the windows were small which we wanted to change and the house was mostly north facing. The sun goes all around the house and this was never captured before, so that was another thing to add to the wish list,” she says. “We had planned to meet a local architect based in Mayo close to the farmhouse in Roscommon. We had our eye on him for the Simon Open Door weekend but he was booked out, so we went ahead and made an appointment to meet after the event, which he was able to do at the weekend. We were both working at the time so that was really helpful,” relates Elaine. This was in 2011. “He too felt that the orientation of the farmhouse and its southerly location overlooking fields were not being optimised. In our own mind we thought the best course of action would be to remove one of the two extensions and replace it with a new one in the same style as the house.” “But Mark suggested that a modern extension which clearly distinguished the old from the new might be a better way to go. He also recommended that we open out onto the fields, with the front of house relatively private.” “We felt that we would be guided by him and that we would, all things being equal follow his recommendations,” adds Noel. Mark went away and came back with a plan and a 3D model. “It was astonishing, we loved it. We trusted him and thought why not, let’s go for it.” “My brother’s farmhouse in Kilkenny swayed it for us, he added a modern extension to his farmhouse and it greatly

improved the feel of the entire place,” says Elaine. “Our design went as far as it could in contemporary design keeping the old sheds at the side, which are part of the farmhouse scene.”

Original form

In many ways this project quickly became an exercise in bringing the building back to its original form – the staircase originally had a window on the middle landing which had been converted into a doorway leading into an extension which accommodated two bedrooms and a large bathroom. By demolishing this extension the original window could be reinstated. “I now find myself standing on the landing staring out at the wonderful view framed by this window, I love it,” says Elaine. “The plan also called for the removal of the single storey extension that accommodated a kitchen and living area with a garage and toilet. The old 1980s wooden windows were in a poor state and were replaced with cream coloured uPVC. The existing house was insulated from the inside which meant removing many of the built-in presses.”  AU T U M N 2 0 1 8 / S E L F B U I L D / 4 9

Selfbuild Autumn 2018  
Selfbuild Autumn 2018