House Extension and Renovation
Dalkey, County Dublin
Behind a dry stone retaining wall lies the home of the architect’s parents. This boundary forms the edge of the historic pathway known locally as ‘The Metals’, along which millions of tonnes of granite were transported from Dalkey Quarry to construct the walls of Dublin Port (c. 1795) and Dun Laoghaire harbour (c. 1821). Today, climbers and youth groups travel from around Ireland to scale its slopes.
The house forms one of a development of six houses built in 1985. Built into a steep slope, these split-level houses have living spaces on the first floor to capitalise on views over Dublin Bay to the north. However, the original layout of the house felt cramped and the angular bay window neglected the view of the quarry to the south.
Our key move was to place the dining room at the front and locate a new galley kitchen at the centre, to form a link between the living and dining spaces. The angular bay was demolished and replaced with a slightly enlarged rectangular bay, with a panelled ceiling that follows the pitch of the roof.
The view of the quarry is now framed by a bespoke cedar window, with a narrow door to a small balcony on one side. A wide timber sill at table level forms a surface for plants and ornaments. A series of deep cedar ‘fins’ provide a degree of enclosure and shade. Recessed fabric blinds can be retracted and secured on custom made brass receivers, fixed to the oiled timber fins. The sliding window allows in fresh air and the distant sounds of quarry life.