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Room With A View

House, Spring/Summer 2005

When Thomas and Joanne Callaghan decided to build their family home on this elevated site, they wanted to make the most of the stunning views over the rolling hills of County Fermanagh.

The site, which is reached via a quiet country road, also came with a derelict 18th century cottage and dilapidated outbuildings.

The architects’ design had to respect this existing rural setting but also create a contemporary home with all the practicalities for a growing family.

At the briefing stage, Thomas and Joanne Callaghan stressed to their architects that “maximising daylight and providing plenty of open space” had to play a major role in the layout of the house.

The new house has been located by Aughey O’Flaherty Architects opposite and parallel to the existing cottage.  House and cottage therefore form an informal courtyard, while the old outhouse creates an edge to the west.  Mature ash trees and hedgerows further add to this deliberate cluster, echoing traditional Irish farm courtyards.  Externally the roof is finished in untreated copper sheeting, the walls are dashed in render and the windows and screens are made from Iroko timber.

The house has a simple narrow plan form running east/west and makes use of the change in level across the site.  This long rectilinear form is roofed in a continuous copper barrel vault, reminiscent of a typical farmyard shed.  For Thomas and Joanne Callaghan, the large open-plan living room with its striking barrel vault has fulfilled their wish for a bright and spacious living space.  The floor of the living spaces is set to form a tangent to the generating circle of the vault in section.

At the upper level, the vault was stopped short on the east gable, thereby creating a private terrace, which is accessed from the master bedroom.  From this terrace, the couple can enjoy the breathtaking view over the lush Fermanagh countryside.