Adaptation of a 1970’s timber-framed, sea-side, holiday home in County Wexford

An addition to a 1970’s timber-framed, sea-side holiday cottage in Co. Wexford. Our intervention, which comprises of a new kitchen/dining space and boot area, forms part of a series of new levels which mediate between the existing ground and the elevated datum of the original house. On arrival, one ascends several steps on a brick plinth. A galvanised steel handrail, balustrade and canopy orient and protect the visitor. Inside the front door, a boot area, a key element of the clients’ brief, forms a new split level in the section. The boot area is defined by a mat well, oiled oak bench and tiled surface for muddy boots.

One step up, the new kitchen/dining area is tucked under a low ceiling, which is a continuation of the angle of the existing roof. This space forms an L-shaped plan which encloses a new sheltered, south-facing patio. Three oiled oak steps, an extension of the bench, lead to the living area on the main level of the house. A delicate wrought iron handrail, supported by two round oak posts, curves to form a balustrade behind the bench. The interlocking plank construction of the original house is replicated in the addition to provide continuity between the old and the new. Thus, our design is intended to read as if it were part of the original house.

Commended 2019 RIAI Awards Best House Extension

Project Type Holiday Home Adaptation
Location Riverchapel, Co. Wexford
Size 17m²
Status Completed 2019
Contractor LG Buildings
Photography Ste Murray

“Robert Bourke’s award-winning extension to a holiday home in Wexford leaves no doubt that as an architect, Bourke has arrived. The Riverchapel home addresses everyday activities, using real architectural tools – material, texture, light, stepping levels and dimension – to calibrate subtle and exuberant choreography to ease its residents’ comfort. The addition demonstrates restraint and precision, adding just what is needed to root the house more fully in its seaside place.”

—Emmett Scanlon, Irish Arts Review Nov 2019

Riverchapel features in the July / August issue of Image Interiors & Living magazine. Read the full article here.


37 North Great George’s Street,
Dublin 1, Ireland, D01 A3F8

Call +353 (0)1 872 7904
Email studio@rba.ie