A vast modernisation of a family home in Cork

Dermot Harrington of Cook Architects talks to Build & Renovate

Story Highlights
  • "The clients are so proud of the finish."
  • "The original dormer windows were stripped back."
  • "A game changer was rendering over the old house's marble pebble dash."

The owners of this completely renovated property are incredibly lucky to call this fabulous property their home. Having bought a site in 1993 and built a dormer bungalow, in 2017, they took the bull by the horns and renovated the property inside and out as well as upstairs and downstairs with the Architect over this project being Dermot Harrington of Cook Architects.

Founded in 2009 by Architects Dermot Harrington and Paul Carpenter, Cook Architects is an award winning, design led RIAI Architecture Practice based in Cork City. Their portfolio of works vary from high end bespoke houses to multi-housing and commercial fit-out projects. To achieve an outstanding product, Cook Architects provide a full service from planning and architectural design to construction project supervision which includes interior design. Their client base is made up of repeat business and projects commissioned through recommendations.

Their designs are often bold and contemporary are unpinned by an interplay of imagination and technical rigour, mostly accompanied with an element of surprise in their concept and delivery. The spaces this practice creates are engaging and well used, created by carefully listening and understanding their client’s requirements during the design process.

Cook Architects aspire to challenge and exceed the client’s brief and provide innovative and sustainable solutions that are both delightful and spatially inspiring. This practice is excited about the discovery of new materials and new ways of putting things together.

This renovation project saw a long and detailed list beginning with spaces and aspects alongside what walls could be moved, pushed around or gotten rid of with the roof having to remain. The wish list came down to items like the extent of storage for shoes, jackets, blouses, shirts, trousers and a power supply in the garden for an outdoor Christmas tree. The ‘old traditional,‘ living room is the only room that was left in its original state whilst the old front door was repurposed and put on the new shed!

“The plans involved part demolition, and substantial opening up/wall removal to allow the adding of a further 60sqm at ground level to the existing 175sqm,” said Dermot Harrington.

“The project kicked off in January 2017 and it was wrapped up in August. The family moved out for a period of two months prior to that Easter in a pre-planned arrangement.

“The total renovation and extension saw the space grow by 30% but energy costs haven’t increased and have possibly gone down. All of the original dormer roofs insulation was stripped out and replaced with high density rigid insulation and new standards of air-tightness assured with draughts upstairs were banished. The minimal introduction of LED lighting (Cork Lighting & Interiors was used for most products) created atmosphere in the finished product,” enthused Mr Harrington.

“The original dormer windows were stripped back, re-insulated and clad externally in zinc while the main house’s fore and aft roof slopes original concrete tiles remained.

A new large Velux roof light went in the front over the hall and stairs and floods both the hall and expanded landing in light and solar heat gain. A compact porch was added to the front also with zinc trim and all the house’s glazing was upgraded using a top wood framed product from the Danish company, Svarre Vrogum, he imparted.

“The rear opening up and extension saw the garden room with large, sleek and silently sliding Vrogum windows added and it’s single storey with a four degree roof pitch and five meter exposed painted glulam timber beans which were sourced in Austria, in for support with a glazed section in the joint between the old house and new room to let shafts of light penetrate.

“A game changer was rendering over the old house’s marble pebble dash on the exterior walls and then painting the quality plaster job in a dark hue. The clients are so proud of the finish and they love the space, the outside garden and living space feels like one, it’s a relaxing space and easy to keep clutter free,” concluded Dermot Harrington.


    Dermot Harrington
    Cook Architects

    Neil Hayes & Patrick O’Regan
    Carrigbel Construction Ltd
    Neil: 086-8671447
    Patrick: 086-8396164

    Nick Moody
    Nicholas Moody Kitchens


    Noranne Scott

    Cork Lighting & Interiors


    Words: Emer KellyImages: F22 Photography

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