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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 18 November, 2017
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Renovation station: The creation of an access-all-areas family home

Each week, we focus on a makeover of an Irish home into a wonderful living space.

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED project shows how architecture and careful engineering can mean a huge difference to the everyday quality of life of a family.

Architect David Leyden of Leyden Hassett and Associates was tasked with adapting a typically chilly, dark bungalow from the 1970s into a home fit for a young family, one of whom is a wheelchair user.

And to add to the challenge of creating generous space for a wheelchair to manoeuvre freely, the living areas in the original layout were in the north and east – not exactly a sun-flooded aspect.

Can we give you some idea of how poky this house in Sutton, Dublin 13 was to begin with? These was the original floor plan:

And this is what Leyden designed to reverse where the living and sleeping areas were in the house:

Source: Leyden Hassett + Associates

Now the bedrooms and bathrooms are in the north and east, while two extensions to the front at the east and west build extra light-filled living areas around a lovely south-facing courtyard.

There was another good reason to extend to the front – it left the rear free for a large secure play area where the couple’s young children could play under their parents’ watchful eyes.

This is what the front looks like with that sunny courtyard:

Source: Leyden Hassett + Associates via Isabelle Coyle

Flashback: this is what it had looked like…

Source: Leyden Hassett + Associates via Isabelle Coyle

And this is now the rear:

Source: Leyden Hassett + Associates via Isabelle Coyle

Inside, the circulation of the living space had to be comfortable for every member – the floor level was dropped to allow free-flowing access from outdoor to indoor; the ceilings were raised to create double-height space in the living areas and accommodate roof skylights.

The design is dramatic enough to make it hard to believe you are inside an old 1970s bungalow – but without the feel of the space having been ‘adapted’ purely for accessiblity.

Source: Leyden Hassett + Associates via Isabelle Coyle

Source: Leyden Hassett + Associates via Isabelle Coyle

The new living space is warmer than the original closed-in bungalow with insulated floors, external wall insulation on the exteriors and warm deck insulation on the roof. There is also solar water heating, a condensing boiler, smart heating controls, wood-burning stoves, air-tight construction and heat recovery ventilation.

This pushed the BER rating of the house from a miserable ‘F’ to a rating of ‘B1′.

Unsurprisingly, the conversion picked up another top rating this year – the architect was highly commended for the project in the RIAI Architecture Awards 2014.

See more of the fantastic projects undertaken by Leyden Hassett and Associates here.

All photographs by Isabelle Coyle – more of her work can be seen here.

Renovation station: A 1930s semi-d finally sees the light>

Renovation station: Open-plan living with an energy-saving facelift>

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Sally O'Regan

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