Near Limavady, Co. Derry

House of the Year Ireland 2019.

With the existing cottage and stone barn providing the roadside elevation, the new house was nestled into the rear of the site; traditionally where the agricultural shed would have been situated. The dwelling began to take on a shed-like form; becoming a long, linear building, with smaller ‘stores’ resting against it.

The orientation of the linear building allowed all main rooms to benefit from the amazing views; whilst the rear opened up, creating a private space, allowing the southerly sun and garden space to flow through the building. To further frame the myriad of views, the linear dwelling was rotated to sneak a glimpse of Binevenagh Mountain, past the stone barn, whilst the projecting living area was twisted in the opposite direction to angle the viewer towards the Foyle.

The single storey timber side projection was angled so as to draw your eye to the barn, establishing a charming ‘streetscape’ which the front door opens onto, creating a feeling of belonging. The choice of materials and colours has reflected the natural, agricultural ethos, the heavy dark corrugation, contrasts against the soft, greying timber, and natural stone.
Internally, the house is bathed with nourishing bright natural light; the double height spaces create drama and re-orientate views, whilst giving the family a connection and openness that all families want and need, allowing them to be apart and together at the same time.

The choice of materials and colours reflects the natural, agricultural ethos. Beautifully crafted pale plywood stairs and cladding; with dark ply kitchen cupboards and concrete worktop. The simple palette has been used thoughtfully to create a cohesive, relaxing style.

Our brief was to design to passive house standards, in a cost-effective way. We explored different construction methods before deciding on timber frame; as it is easier to design out thermal bridges. However, the deciding factor was down to the cladding; most other construction methods would require an external skin of block under the cladding. Corrugated cladding with hidden gutters and downpipes left several tricky details, which required detailed consideration.