Sliding doors connect a garden in John McLaughlin's timber Open House

Sliding doors connect John McLaughlin's timber-framed Open House with its garden

Irish architect John McLaughlin incorporated sliding glass doors into the timber frame of this suburban house in Dublin to improve the relationship between the interior and the garden.

Open House by John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin designed the Open House for his own family. His aim was to create a bright, warm home that extends into the garden so his children can easily play inside or outside.

"I wanted to achieve a sense of light and space, of the boundary between inside and outside being blurred," McLaughlin told Dezeen.

Open House by John McLaughlin

Located on a plot surrounded by a walled garden, the ground floor of the house is configured as an open-plan space with full-height timber-framed windows at either end. Whole sections of the glazed facades slide open so the family can spill out onto patios at the front and rear of the house.

The large windows also ensure plenty of natural light permeates the uninterrupted living areas, which can be divided up if required using sliding glass partitions.

Open House by John McLaughlin

Services and storage on this level are built into a wall that extends out from one side of the property to abut an adjoining house, with cupboards constructed underneath the staircase providing additional storage.

The house's timber frame and cladding provide insulation that helps to offset the large glazed areas.

"Spatially I wanted the openness and lightness of a frame and a wooden frame can achieve this without cold bridges," the architect added. "The wooden cladding came afterwards as a logical way to wrap the frame."

Open House by John McLaughlin

McLaughlin was able to complete much of the labour himself after the main structure was assembled by a specialist contractor.

"I had never built in timber and never self built before, so I bought a book called Timber Framed Construction from the Timber Research and Development Agency and followed it," said the architect.

"The dimensional accuracy and jointing of components is so much better than masonry that I was completely converted to timber."

Open House by John McLaughlin

All of the internal joinery, window frames and external cladding are made from iroko wood.

The flooring throughout the ground floor is polished black limestone, with fossil traces visible in its surface. "Chromatically it anchors the space but the polish ensures that light still carries deep into the house," McLaughlin pointed out.

Open House by John McLaughlin

Blockwork boundary walls surrounding the site were covered with a white sand render to provide consistency throughout the external spaces.

Four bedrooms are positioned around the corners of the upper storey, with two bathrooms arranged off the landing at the top of the stairs.

Photography is by Ros Kavanagh.

Open House by John McLaughlin
Exploded axonometric diagram – click for larger image
Open House by John McLaughlin
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Open House by John McLaughlin
First floor plan – click for larger image
Open House by John McLaughlin
Long section – click for larger image
Open House by John McLaughlin
Cross section – click for larger image