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What's behind the magic door of this modest streetfront?

It was once a temporary jail, and was semi-derelict when snapped up – but now this 1790s house in Kerry is a real family bolthole.

Source: Jed Niezgoda

AN SMACHTLANN is a town house in Kenmare, Co Kerry, constructed around 1790.

A protected structure, its name is an Irish language reference to ‘the slammer’ – as it was used as a temporary place of detention in the mid-1800s.

Source: Jed Niezgoda

Hard to believe now but the three-bay, three-storey-over basement house was in a semi-derelict state when PLM architects were employed. The terrace to the rear was in real danger of collapsing.

Source: Jed Niezgoda

PLM were asked by the family who had bought the shell to create a bolthole in Kenmare for them, away from their usual busy city life.

The design integrates the house with the terrace of outbuildings to the rear and connects the living spaces to an external courtyard.

The house had been ‘introverted’ – new openings made in the walls meant for a better use of the tracks of the sun so that the courtyard is lovely and sunny in the evening.

Source: Jed Niezgoda

Source: Jed Niezgoda

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Source: Jed Niezgoda

The family said that they didn’t realise the property had so much potential until it was literally ‘turned back to front’. The formal street facade is now the back of the house and the rear lane that leads to the new courtyard is the gateway to the home.

Source: Jed Niezgoda

For more on this and other ambitious projects by PLM Architects, see here>

Previous Irish architecture featured on TheJournal.ie:

About the author:

Sally O'Regan

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