Renovation and remodel of an existing farmhouse to address ground floor layout and natural light issues.
The design to explore solutions to:
- Poorly laid out the ground floor.
- Larger kitchen to include an island.
- Relocation of utility.
- Smaller ground floor bathroom and remove the bath to create a wet room.
- Ensuite to be removed from the master suite.
- Demolition of outbuildings attached to the house.
- Thermal upgrade by way of extra insulation.
- Enhance site and setting with indigenous planting.
- Options to open up house.
- Options for the stairs.
- Maximise solar gains & natural light.
- Maximise the views and access to the garden.
Project Budget approx. €50,000 – €70,000.
The existing house stands within a cluster of new and old farm structures. Car parking and entry into the house are from the back (the east). In addition, a number of extensions have been added and outbuildings adjoin the house to the south. As such, our thoughts for the remodel have evolved around the following concepts:
- The existing house and site should provide clues for the proposed design.
- The transition between inside and outside for the main spaces is blurred with outdoor living promoted,
- Spaces arranged according to the sun path and natural body cycle,
- Efficient use of space but a sense of space maximised through far-reaching vistas to the garden and agricultural fields.
The key design intention is to allow maximum penetration of natural light into the internal spaces. To do this, it is necessary to rearrange the existing ground floor plan as well as to demolish the adjoining outbuilding. To that end, the sketches opposite illustrate quickly how (1) the rearrangement of the kitchen, bathroom and utility area, (2) demolition of the adjoining shed and (3) the addition of new window/door openings change completely the orientation of the ground floor plan as well as allowing lots of light to flood the internal spaces. Moreover, circulation is improved, interconnecting the kitchen, dining and family spaces. The utility and wet room are now located in the least intrusive part of the house but still maintain the important connection with the entrance and kitchen.
The internal alterations to the first floor are limited to the master suite and stairs. The ensuite is removed and the new stairs is configured to remove the office and reinstate the window to allow light to flood the stairway and landing. Externally, a rooflight over the new entrance area would help to illuminate this space and enhance the sense of welcome.
As teased out in the Development Sketches section, getting natural light into the house while addressing poor room organisation and movement flow are key elements to the success of the project. As such the design developed as:
At present an outbuilding built onto the house blocks all potential for the internal ground floor spaces to receive south sun. Therefore, the first move is to demolish the outbuilding. Then the kitchen, dining and family spaces can be reorganised and directed towards the south sun. New window and/or door openings maximise natural light and views of the garden.
The garden can become an extension to the newly arranged family spaces as was the case from the historic maps. A landscaping strategy whereby indigenous trees, shrubs and hedging can be arranged to provide screening from the prevailing winds as well as creating a sense of enclosure to the garden. Where possible a pristine lawn is to be avoided in favour of a more ‘natural’ ground covering and allowed to extend right up to the house. Natural hard standing surfaces like stone or similar allow for outdoor sitting and entertaining.
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