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Studio of light an awe-inspiring surprise in red-bricked Ranelagh

There are some serious conversation-starters behind the door of the Dublin home architect Ciarán Coy designed for himself.
Feb 26th 2015, 5:30 PM 8,484 1

A RED-BRICK Victorian terraced house is dream enough for many Dublin dwellers. Architect Ciarán McCoy and his wife Enid Bebbington went several steps further in achieving an incredible home from the semi-derelict shell they bought in 2011.

When McCoy first saw the house in Ranelagh, it was in severe disrepair. In fact, McCoy first viewed it as a consultant on its condition just as it was about to go on the market. Instead, he found himself wowed by the proportions of the admittedly run-down rooms. Reader, he bought it.

From the street, the house’s lovely proportions are on view but there isn’t much indication of the surprises that lie behind the facade:

Source: ODKM Architects

We will return to the interiors in a moment, but for now let’s just take a look at the possibilities McCoy realised in his design for the rear of the property.

Pass by the master bedroom on the first floor and follow a glass cantilevered stairs up to… a glass-floored and glass-roofed atrium which serves as a studio.

Source: ODKM Architects

A structurally unsound projection at the rear had to be knocked in order for this new extension to emerge. The upper level is wrapped in corten steel cladding which is designed to rust and take on a coppery colour (and has done so beautifully).

Source: ODKM Architects

Source: ODMK architects

The back wall of glass built right up to the natural stone wall border and the glass floor of the studio is the roof of the bathroom – Ciaran’s wife said that the aqua colour of the glass reminds her of the ocean:

Source: ODKM architects

The ambitious build took almost two years from purchase to finish but the couple adore the home, whose design and finish they could dictate according to what they appreciate most in a home.

So, for example, a courtyard encases a hot tub and bifolding glass doors to allow for peaceful, private relaxing:

Source: ODKM architects

The bespoke kitchen can be hidden away behind wooden panels or exposed, depending on whether the couple are entertaining. A bench seat backing up to the glass wall provides lots of seating for guests:

Source: ODKM architects


Source: ODKM architects

Source: ODKM architects

Despite the highly creative approach to light and space in the house, McCoy salvaged what features remained of its original era – the sash windows, where possible – and also had the front garden paved with original flagstones, handmade in the 1840s, which had been in the kitchen. Ceiling roses and coving authentic in design to the period were recreated in a plaster moulding factory in Wicklow, and the front of the house repointed.

Source: ODKM architects

The features sit easily beside the matt polished concrete floors, White American Oak flooring elsewhere and other modern comforts such as underfloor heating. A lighting plan saw a 6-metre long recessed ceiling light installed in the kitchen, a 4-metre long recessed light for illuminating the back wall and trimless twin and single downlighters placed throughout the house.

Source: ODKM architects

But the real conversation starter in the living area is, fittingly, a sunken conversation pit which features a bench seat that takes 10 to 12 guests.

Source: ODKM architects

For more on this incredible project and more of Ciarán McCoy and ODKM’s work, see here>

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

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Sally O'Regan


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