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October 23, 2008

Not all plain sailing at canalside house

The front of this Dublin house looks a tad twee, with its rustic stone that is no doubt meant to recall the stables that would have traditionally been in the gardens of period houses: this home has been built on one such site. There is no need to worry about being sensitive with architect Amanda Bone’s feelings though because she is not that keen on the façade either. She has certainly designed a considered elevation but the materials, width and height were all dictated by planning requirements. When Bone, of Bone O’Donnell Architects, was first approached to design a small house on this tight mews site, she knew just what was needed to make the most of it. There would be large windows to bring in as much natural light as possible and because the ground floor was small and dark, she would have the bedrooms down at this level and the living space on the brighter top floor which has good views of the canal. The house would be in a contemporary design to complement the period houses at the other end of the garden. Yet when Bone went for planning permission she was asked to follow the precedent set by the houses that had recently been built beside her site. Like them, she too was to have bedrooms on the upper floor, she was to copy the small, vertically emphasised windows divided into four panes, she was to match the stone front, have hardwood windows, follow the footprints of the houses beside this and ape the roof pitch to the front.

The Irish Times

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