When architect Patti O’Neill was struggling to sell her own little cottage, she decided to cast a cold architectural eye over the space and how it worked as a home. Focusing on reworking the disjointed ground floor living spaces from generations of renovations and extensions, resulting in a warm, inviting home. Patti has since introduced her new design philosophy of “healthy flowing homes” to her wider business and design clinics, making how a space flows her top priority for her clients. Here’s a look at how she did it……..
Breathing new life into old buildings is as noble as it is daunting. Nathalie Marquez Courtney explores three innovative makeovers.
RENOVATION ADVICE – BE BRAVE The thought of refurbishing an old stone building can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that most were built to last. “People come to my design clinics and always start off saying they were told by their builder to knock it, or that an engineer told them it will never stand,” says Patti O’Neill. “We’re talking about buildings that have been standing for hundreds of years. There’s often a lack of knowledge and understanding, but my advice is to go for it, it can always be rescued.”
Situated down a picturesque country lane near Ballycommon, a stones throw from the shores of Lough Derg, this quaint white washed cottage has been painstakingly restored over a period of three years, by award winning architect Patti.
Q: WE live in an old stone-built house (1890s) and are currently planning a new extension to it. Keeping the existing house warm in the winter is becoming increasingly difficult. What options are available to us in terms of insulating our home? And what materials should we consider for the new extension?
A: When thinking of your home, consider it your second skin. Your skin is breathable and carries out several functions so why shouldn’t your floors, walls and roof be doing the same for you? In dwellings this can be translated into the right choice of materials.
On our island, moisture is one of the biggest features of our climate so let’s embrace it instead of fighting it. Old buildings are great teachers for learning about naturally breathable and moisture-regulating materials.
A house on lnis Oirr in Co Galway has just been showcased at the BAU fair in Munich.
For many. the idea of an Irish vernacular architecture conjures images of John Hindeesque stone cottages, preferably thatched and with a picturesque donkey or two outside.
More recently the landscape has become peppered with dormer bungalows that seem somehow more suburban than rural. Completed in 2013, Brigid Keane’s lnis Oirr house, which has just been showcased at the BAU building and architecture fair in Munich is an excellent example or what a new generation or architecture might look like.