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The Transformation of a Victorian House in Rathmines, Dublin

House, Autumn-Winter 2005/2006

The couple purchased this large three-storey Victorian House in Rathmines because they were attracted by the large south-facing rear garden and its beautiful Victorian features.

However, with four young children, the clients’ priority was to add the necessary contemporary layers that would turn this house into a family friendly home, while respecting the original spaces and architectural features.

The brief for the new accommodation was a generous space for the family to meet and take their meals, as well as modern family bathrooms and a laundry.  Most importantly, the new extension was to open onto and link with the lovely south-facing garden.

The guiding principle behind architects Aughey O’Flaherty’s design was to ensure the survival of the significant historic characteristics of the building, while enabling it to function as a family dwelling in the twenty-first century.  It was considered necessary to achieve a balance between the restoration of the existing dwelling and the modern intervention.  Only a successful layering and integration of old and new would ensure the continued survival of this Victorian house.

Firstly, it was decided to restore the areas of the house regarded as architecturally valuable.  As part of this process, it was necessary to strip out a number of later functional additions: a box bedroom was removed from the top of the original stairs, and bathrooms and water tanks were taken out from corners of the main rooms.  The removal of these enabled the restoration of the entrance hall, the main reception rooms to the front and rear on all three levels, and the stair hall connecting them.

Secondly, to provide the functional and comfortable family accommodation, a new extension was constructed to the side and rear.  The extension is composed of a three-storey volume to the side which acts as a service core to the main body of the dwelling and a two-storey volume to the rear which opens to and links with the garden.