We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

renovation station

Let the sunshine in - how to maximise the light in your renovation

Let there be light… and heat and low electricity bills.

IF YOUR HOUSE is a tad dark for your liking, or you feel the original design didn’t take advantage of light the way it could have, fear no more.

This week we’ll take a look at a house that was “gloomy inside, expensive to heat, had odd-sized rooms and virtually no storage space”.

Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

The house in question was so dark that the lights would have to be turned on during the day time. Lead architect, Robert Bourke, of Robert Bourke Architects tells us

What struck me most about the site was that the sunniest side of the house [facing south] was an almost completely blank wall.

So the first order of business was to open  up that back wall and allow sunlight into the existing house. This was achieved by relocating the original staircase and downstairs toilet away from this wall and creating a glazed hallway along the length of the building. This basically reoriented the house and flooded it with natural light.

© alice clancy Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

© alice clancy Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

After that it was a case of adding more space and this was achieved with three small extensions – one to the front, the side and a small one to the rear. As the back garden was quite small the only real available space was to the front and side of the house.

Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

The small extension to the back garden opened up a cramped dining area and the extensions overall allowed the existing rooms to be reshaped into larger, better proportioned spaces.

Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

The two-storey extension to the front contains a new guest bedroom and above that a multi-purpose studio and home office.

Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

Not to forget the outdoor areas, the three extensions enabled the architects to create three unique outdoor spaces each “carefully tailored to respond to its particular location on the site and to take advantage of sunlight at different times of the day”.

So the owners can have morning coffee on the front patio, read a book in the more private courtyard in the afternoon and eat dinner on the west-facing rear patio in the evening.

© alice clancy Alice Clancy Alice Clancy

Robert also wanted to use natural Irish and European materials as far as possible (Irish limestone, European hardwood windows and the combination of these with a muted paint palette lends itself to a warm and inviting family home.

See more of architect Robert Bourke Architects’ work here.

See more of photographer Alice Clancy’s work here>

How to slip a house into a 2.3-metre wide corridor

Good mews: from laneway garage to a gorgeous city pad