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Open House by John McLaughlin Architects

The architect’s compact family home in County Dublin makes maximum use of exterior space

I built this house in Glasthule, Co Dublin for my family. It is on an infill site in a walled garden and as the plot was small, we wanted to open into the garden to expand the sense of space. My wife loves plants so we made the garden and patio feel like extensions to the interior.

The ground floor is open and flexible with the bedrooms and bathrooms above. Sliding timber-framed glass screens separate the inside and outside but open easily to connect the two. Because the Irish winters are so dark we maximised the glazing, but the climate is quite mild so we are outside for a lot of the year – eating on the terrace during summer. We minimised the internal doors with sliding glazed screens so that the whole ground floor can open into one big room. On a rainy day the children run around inside. Services and storage are accommodated in a thick wall along one side of the ground floor where it abuts an adjoining house.

The old and new blockwork boundary walls were rendered with a white sand render to unify the external spaces. This forms a backdrop for the plants. The house itself is constructed with a timber structural frame, with timber cladding. The timber areas provide good insulation to compensate for the large glazed areas. The work was completed slowly as funds became available, infilling around the main timber-frame structure which was made by a specialist contractor. I did a lot of the unskilled work and engaged subcontractors for the skilled stuff.

  • John McLaughlin, director, John McLaughlin Architects

Open House by John McLaughlin Architects

Project data

Start on site Summer 2008
Completion Summer 2013
Gross internal floor area 150m2
Total cost €300,000 (£237,600)
Form of contract Self-build
Client John and Anne McLaughlin
Architect John McLaughlin
Structural engineer Cygnum Timber Frame
Main contractor John McLaughlin

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