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Keeping things simple was the secret to this Dublin 7 extension

Keeping things simple was the secret to this Dublin 7 extension


by Megan Burns
18th Jun 2024

From a restrained palette with pops of orange to the simple form of the design, the result is a calm, open space that didn’t take over the garden.

The owners of this home in Dublin 7 wanted it to feel larger and brighter – although it had an existing extension, it felt cut-off from the garden and blocked light into the rest of the house. 

Ciara McGonigal, director at Studio And architects explains that there were several issues with the house that the clients wanted them to address. 

“A small single-story extension had been built to the rear housing a bathroom and utility with one small window, cutting the kitchen off from the garden and blocking the natural light and the views. The kitchen space was small with two windows facing out into the side patio and low levels of natural light. It felt isolated from the rest of the house.” 

Specific requests for the design included reconfiguring the ground floor layout, extending the kitchen, and adding a bathroom under the stairs and on the first floor. “The clients wanted to create a larger, brighter space that felt integrated with the rest of the house,” Ciara says.

“We wanted to improve the flow of the layout and create a stronger connection to the garden. The kitchen was very isolated and it was important to the clients that their new kitchen and dining space would be sociable and have better communication with the rest of the house.”

The new space had to work as a kitchen, dining room, playroom, and occasional office, in a single coherent and calming, open-plan space. The owners wanted to keep as much of the garden as possible, which restricted the size that the extension could be.

The design is a simple form, where steps lead down into the new extension that is bright thanks to large windows and doors, giving views to the garden. The kitchen units are kept to a single wall, and a clear dining space sits opposite.

This feeling of simplicity is continued through the palette that was chosen, Ciara explains. “The clients opted for a palette of white, off-whites, and oranges for the extension. The terracotta tiles both internally and externally feel natural and grounding. Externally, the orange frames to the windows and doors provide a pop of colour against the white render.

“The clients have a young family, and selecting hard-wearing materials was important. These include white concrete, tile, brick slips to add texture to the boundary wall, and birch ply, some of which was washed rather than painted. The resulting spaces feel bright and spacious but also warm and welcoming.”

An important aspect of the project was not only preserving as much of the garden as possible, but connecting it to the rest of the house. “The pandemic emphasised the value of outdoor space, especially in the city,” CIara says. “In this project, the garden was treated as another room. The white concrete bench to the rear creates an outdoor living room that is oriented to face into the house. It also acts as a retaining wall to the garden.”

With a young family, storage was also key, and bespoke storage was designed by Studio And and built by DMF Furniture. “Designing this to fit the space makes a huge difference and allows us to incorporate existing building features, such as the storage along the interior steps, and to introduce bespoke materials such as the tiled finish to the vanity units of the toilet and bathroom,” Ciara explains.

It’s a design that shows that keeping things simple allows for both functional and serene, stylish spaces.

Photography: Andrew Campion 

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