AwardHigh Street, Balbriggan

An all-timber micro extension of six square meters transforms the key spaces of this two-storey Victorian terrace.

Located in the seaside town of Balbriggan, north County Dublin, the original floor layout is typical of houses of this type. An entrance hall runs from the front door to a kitchen return at the back. Front and back reception rooms within the main body of the house are also accessed from the hall: dining to the front and living to the rear. However, at some point in the past, the second door was blocked, so one entered the dining room from the hall. An opening between the reception rooms gave access to the living room with a wood burning stove and a small window to the long, east-facing garden.

The layout, while cosy, meant that the dining room was far from the kitchen, accessible only via the hallway. This was also the only route to the garden, making it feel disconnected from the main living areas of the house.

Our solution was driven by a desire to provide maximum impact with minimal construction work, meaning lower costs and minimising enviromental impact in terms of energy and materials used. We added just three square meters to the rear of the house at both ground and first floor level. The living and dining rooms were swapped and the extension provides a direct link to the kitchen through an opening in the wall that was previously the back door to the garden. A new sliding door, with cat flap for feline residents, provides direct access to the garden. The client’s wood burning stove was moved to the front room, leaving space for a bespoke oak booth in the new dining space.

The master bedroom, at the rear of the house at first floor level, was previously very tight. A tiny wardrobe housed an old gas boiler and hot water cylinder, leaving very little space for clothes. Our design involved replacing this arrangement with a combi-boiler in the attic, freeing up valuable bedroom space and, thanks to the three extra square meters provided by the extension, making space for a generous wardrobe with wicker-panelled doors. A small window, which limited garden views and morning sunlight, was replaced by a large fixed window and a full height openable window with a timber balustrade on the outside.

This strategic approach, focused on improving connections between living spaces, adding space only where needed and increasing sunlight, has provided maximum impact for a minimal budget.

Winner – 2024 AAI Award
Winner – 2024 RIAI Best House Adaptation Award

Project Type Extension & Refurbishment
Location High Street Balbriggan,
Size 6m²
Status Completed 2022
Contractor Structure Tone developments
Photography Ste Murray

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