GKMP Architects was asked to renovate and extend the three-storey house in the south of Dublin by replacing an existing bedroom and scullery with an enlarged kitchen, dining room and play room.
Instead of adding an extensive new structure that would have imposed on the garden at the rear of the property, the architects proposed two single-storey extensions with a total footprint of just seven square metres.
"The main architectural problem we identified with the existing house was the great disproportion between living and sleeping areas," architect Jennifer O'Donnell told Dezeen.
"Since the existing area of the house was considered sufficient to meet the needs of the family, we decided that the challenge in this case was to build as little as possible, to the greatest possible effect," the architect added.
The new additions are constructed from concrete, which O'Donnell said "was chosen to act as a contemporary addition to the hard cement render of the existing rear facade."
Bright blue tiles introduce a hit of colour and are used for the surface of a bench built into the concrete of the extension closest to the garden.
"The glazed Italian ceramic tiles were chosen in consultation with the clients and are used as a lining in those places where the wall thickens to form a seat or sill," O'Donnell explained.
The tiles also appear inside the playroom, which adjoins the new kitchen and dining area and features windows that wrap around two sides.
A corner bench with upholstered sofa cushions is fitted below the windows, while new glazed double doors lead from this room out to the garden.
Both of the new extensions feature large skylights that introduce natural light into the open-plan lower ground floor.
The window seat in the dining area is built from iroko wood, which contrasts with the pale interior walls and frames views of the garden.
The architects also added an oak staircase to connect the new kitchen with an existing living room on the upper ground floor and a new den on the first floor.
The staircase is lined on one side with a bookcase and wraps around a utility room tucked away in an otherwise dark and redundant space at the centre of the house.
Photography is by Alice Clancy.
The architects sent us the following project description:
House Extension at Belmont Avenue, Donnybrook
This project involves the restoration and extension of a three-storey terrace house built towards the end of the 19th century, which has a red clay brick finish in a Flemish bond to the front elevation and a hard cement render finish to the rear. It is one of 6 identical terraced houses, grouped in handed pairs and with identical roof lines, eaves and architectural treatment both to the front and rear.
The existing layout of this house did not lend itself to providing kitchen/dining/living space that was proportional to the rest of the accommodation and so it was proposed to address this imbalance through modifications and a small addition to the existing house rather than through building a large extension in the rear garden.
The new addition consists of two small single-storey extensions, one to the rear of the main part of the house and the other to the end of the existing return on the footprint of the existing lean-to kitchen, that open the lower ground floor of the house to the garden. The new-build is made of cast in-situ concrete with blue glazed tiles.
Inside, a large corner window brings light into the play-room, while a new oak stairs forms a second, more direct connection between ground and first floor living spaces. A new utility space is built into the dark central section of the house, with the new stairway wrapping around and above it as a discrete element, hidden between the old house walls.
Architects: GKMP Architects
Contractor: Sheerin Construction
Engineer: David Maher & Associates