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Trying to work with an older extension - how one architect solved the problem

A Wexford couple wanted a bigger kitchen – they got a whole new feel to their home into the bargain.

EXTENSIONS TO OLDER homes are almost a way of living – if not of life – in Ireland.

They can be invaluable, giving more space, privacy or storage to a homeowner. But all too often they are piecemeal and not necessarily adding to the flow of the original home.

This was part of the challenge when Isabel Barros Architects looked at a 1950s former council house in Co Wexford. The owners had added extensions over the years but there was still an issue with circulation in the house, thanks to an existing main entrance that opened directly into the kitchen.

Source: Isabel Barros Architects

The proposal they came up with was designed to make the whole house work together, the existing extensions and the new. Barros writes:

We like to think the new entrance works like the ‘spinal column’ of the house, supporting it, organising it and allowing the spaces to flow naturally from there.From the entrance, a new wall – the ‘shoulders’ – is built to hold the two new extensions – the ‘arms’ – that will hug and embrace the existing house.This animation – created by the firm – helped the clients to visualise how their new, improved home would work for them. It allows you to ‘walk’ through the proposed new space, essentially trying it on for size.

Take a look:

Source: Isabel Barros Architects - Wexford/YouTube

The new extensions are covered in warm timber cladding to reflect similar cladding found on the site; it also gives new texture and lifts the existing black and white palette of the house.

Internally, the new entrance offers easy access to all rooms and a visual connection with the garden outside. The work is to commence soon – “we cannot wait to see it built”, says Barros.

14.75_Entrance Wall The new entrance wall Source: Isabel Barros Architects

14.75_Entrance The entrance Source: Isabel Barros Architects

14.75_Kitchen The kitchen, opening onto the garden Source: Isabel Barros Architects

14.75_View from Garden The view from the garden Source: Isabel Barros Architects

For more on this and other projects by Isabel Barros Architects, see here>

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Sally O'Regan

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