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.

inspiration station

What kind of house does an architect build for his own family?

John McLaughlin created this beautiful garden house to bring light, peace and nature to everyday life.

WHO WOULD LIVE in a house like this?

The architect who designed it, actually.

John McLaughlin is an award-winning architect who has helped shaped the modern Dublin landscape, with iconic designs for the likes of the Grand Canal Square space and the shimmering Bord Gáis installation on North Wall Quay.

But the modest, timber-framed house pictured above is one of his most personal projects – he and his wife Anne and their children live in it in Glasthule, Co Dublin.

It is built on a small plot in a walled garden – the patio leads straight off an open-plan living space to give a sense of continuity from inner to outer space.

Inside, there are sliding glazed screens which allow the whole ground floor to open into one big room, or to provide separation for privacy and functionality if needed.

There is underfloor heating in the stone ground floor to keep the house at a steady temperature all year round. In another show of practicality, McLaughlin has placed services and storage in one thick wall along one side of the house.

The four bedrooms and two bathrooms are located upstairs which leaves the ground floor free for the children to run around when the weather isn’t so hospitable outside.

The ground floor’s sliding timber-framed glass screens open easily to connect the inside and outside – and close easily as the elements dictate.

The use of room-height glazing maximises the light that can pour into the living space – a consideration for the long months of winter gloom in Ireland.

The house is timber-framed, with timber cladding and McLaughlin says that the project was a bit of a labour of love, completed over a number of years as funds became available.

Now, it’s a house that the family can enjoy year-round – and his wife’s love of plants can be brought into the heart of the home.


See John McLaughlin’s work, including Grand Canal Square and more, here>

Previous Irish architecture featured on