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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 26 February, 2020
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Mixing the modern with the historical is a perfect combination

This 19th century home didn’t need a pastiche of the past – so a renovating architect looked to its future.

THIS IS A lovely airy contemporary extension, right?

Source: Kelliher Miller Architects

However, when you glimpse what was in situ before this week’s featured renovation, you might be surprised to see how old the house actually is:

This is the rear view of a 19th century Victorian house in Ranelagh, Dublin, somewhat typical of the older homes in that lovely suburb. The rear extension, which had previously backed onto an original two-storey return, was no longer fit for the purpose of the family trying to live there.

It did not make the best of views onto its pretty rear courtyard, nor introduce any great light or space to the home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Source: Kelliher Miller Architects

Kelliher Miller Architects took an ambitious approach to revitalising the rear of this townhouse. While much of the original return was kept, the extension was entirely replaced.

This new extension is double-height with larger openings, the better to reflect the grandeur of the old dame of a house to which it is attached.

Source: Kelliher Miller Architects

The above view was taken from a mezzanine level that overlooks the airy dining space below. The mezzanine itself is a glass-floored, glass-fronted gallery – all this glazing helping to conserve the new intake of light into the area.

The palette of muted colours and lovely garden design came from Ger Smyth Interiors.

Source: Kelliher Miller Architects

A landscape window at eye level with those relaxing on the gallery allows the gaze to wander across the mature tree tops outside and affords views of the sky:

Source: Kelliher Miller Architects

Hard to believe but the gallery used to be a tiny box room, architect Katherine Kelliher explains. What used to be the wall has become an internal overlook down onto the double height space.

Nothing gets in the way of the light in the new extension – note the skylights in the roof of the space for constant illumination. The slider at the back is full width – it has an aluclad self-supporting frame and the architects went with the maximum height that was structurally possible.

(Side note: aluclad is becoming increasingly popular with Irish home improvers because it has a low/no-maintenance aluminium exterior that is available in a range of colours, while the interior timber is still visible for a more natural, ‘softer’ finish inside.)

Source: Kelliher Miller Architects

How is it that such a contemporary extension fits with a period home? Obviously, planning permission is a must and Kelliher notes that in fact mimicking the past is not actually the best conservation plan when it comes to an entirely new extension build. Rather, an extension such as this – which is true to the era in which it is built but which is sensitive in proportion to the original architecture – is what planners prefer to see.

For more on this project and other Kelliher Miller builds, visit their site here>

A marriage of history and art under one roof in the Burren>

Good mews: from laneway garage to a gorgeous city pad>

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About the author:

Sally O'Regan

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