Mariners Mews, Dun Laoghaire

New build house on an infill site, 112m2, 2019

This house is on a compact mews site in an architectural conservation area. The ground floor consists of bedrooms and a study around a landscaped courtyard with living accommodation on the first floor. Windows are carefully positioned to give nice views without directly overlooking neighbour’s gardens.

The design integrates traditional elements like the granite garden walls with modern timber-frame construction to deliver an A-rated design.

This small mews house on a corner site is in an old part of Dún Laoghaire that is a conservation area. The County Development Plan has strict requirements on the development of mews sites and the challenge in this project was to balance these rules with the client’s desire for a modern house full of daylight. The design achieves this through a generous courtyard providing sunny outdoor space with an open plan living and dining area at first floor level that maximises the light and views from the site. Strategically placed rooflights allow glimpses of the spire of the Mariners Church, now the National Maritime Museum, as you ascend the stairs.

The first floor timber cladding is larch, blackened using a traditional Japanese preservation technique of charring it with fire. The process involves charring the wood, cooling it, cleaning it and preserving it with a natural oil. Today this process, called Shou Sugi Ban, is an environmentally friendly way to preserve timber and (paradoxically) make it fire resistant. Chemical preservatives, paints and retardants are therefore unnecessary.