Irish Designer Homes – Mark Davies

We bring you the homes Irish designer, engineers and other house building designers live in.

Mark Davies MCIAT

Originally the back garden of a Victorian period house in Dun Laoghaire, accessible via a back lane, Mark’s house replaced a single storey garage. The 140sqm newly built mews is energy efficient (A rating); air to water heat pump provides heating and hot water, heat recovery ventilation fresh air, annual energy bill comes to €1,300 including VAT.

Anything unusual? Building materials, construction methods, design…
A very narrow house footprint of 10mx11m required the addition of a basement, which is used as the living area and part of the ceiling consists of a skylight/garden glass floor. It was designed to be the main hub of the house; it was vital too that it branch off seamlessly into the garden space. We used ICF (insulated concrete formwork) with reinforced concrete to deal with structural loads. The most stressful stage was digging and forming the basement; access was tight and the crew only had a two hour window to work in per day due to traffic. They hit hard granite rock which required ‘stitch drilling’ and because work was taking place below the water table, a pump had to constantly empty the groundwater whilst digging. The waterproof concrete used includes proprietary ‘crystallisation’ agents. Lots of research went into the stone cladding; we chose random granite stone mix with 60% grey to 40% brown and open joints (don’t see grout between the stone; it’s cemented at rear). Other wall finishes consist of coloured acrylic render.

Favourite design feature
The glass floor from the rear garden that allows natural light to pierce the basement room; it’s also cool to look up to the skyline from the basement living room and likewise to look into the basement from the garden.

Favourite room
The ground floor of course! The open plan layout of the room with kitchen, living and dining area, really works. I wanted the basement to be a surprise so that when you entered it, you wouldn’t know what to expect. What you get is an inviting cosy space. I also love this room due to the huge amount of natural light that enters it, along with how it opens up to the garden with the sliding and bi-fold door systems. It brings the garden into the ground floor whilst the ground floor space is inviting from the garden.

Cost Approx.
€1,780 per sqm incl. VAT

Arc Design
Willowgrove, Delgany, Co Wicklow,
T. 01 2010377, W.

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About Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email

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