James Corbett Architects, 11 The Crescent, O'Connell Street, Limerick, Ireland / T +353 (0)61 319080 / info@jcarchitects.ie / © 2018 by James Corbett Architects

Old House
House Extension / Renovation
Client: Private
Completion: 2012
The existing rural 1920's house was originally designed for a parish priest, but was never inhabited as apparently, he didn’t like the house when it was built and it passed into the ownership of the clients family where it was used as a farmhouse for over 70 years.  The original layout of the house was quite constrained and although it presents itself as a well-proportioned country house, it was intended for a single person + housekeeper and did not support modern family living and it had fallen into disrepair. The very fine external detailing and materials used reflect the social status of the priest as client from that time period.  The current owners and clients approached us to effectively create a family home for them within this house.
Our first move was to design a separate element that would “plug in” to the existing house to contain the heart of the family home and allow the existing house spaces to work more effectively. The ancillary outhouse structures were modified with the addition of new timber pods to house guest accommodation and a music room.  This move enhanced the courtyard space between as another room to be used by all. We wanted to respect the existing house, refurbishing it but making no structural modifications; all other structural interventions on the site support and enhance the original house as the primary focus.
We chose to design the new extension as something very different from the original house, so as not to replicate or imitate the original form, and thereby making it less than it is.  The cedar cladding weathers to grey and fades into the background.  The exaggerated timber pitched roof of the new building is one element of the rhythm of pitched roofs experienced within the courtyard allowing the new to sit comfortably with the old.  The layout maximises sunlight penetration and focusses the internal rooms on the exterior spaces around the house.
Photograph by Andy Sheridan