This Autumn we bring you plenty of inspiration to get that home building or home improvement project started, along with a cartload of tips from seasoned self-builders about what to expect – for instance, some homeowners featured in this edition have complained of their stoves getting too hot because their house is so good at keeping the heat in! Another much more serious matter when it comes to airtight homes (you don’t need to load the stove fully, after all) is that of indoor air quality – it’s vitally important to think about how your house will get fresh air. Opening windows and vents can cause draughts, which is why it’s a good idea to invest in a ventilation system that will prevent these all the while keeping your home fresh. Getting to grips with your legal obligations is another important aspect to investigate, and this includes health and safety – in fact in NI the Construction Design and Management regulations are changing in August, aligning themselves to the ROI/European guidelines which require that you appoint dedicated supervisors. Learn more on page 84. Another topic in this issue is one that self-builders commonly face: knock down or build new? In NI starting from scratch is attractive because such work is eligible for the zero VAT rate (see page 76) but the decision to renovate can still be strong enough to warrant that extra investment, as was the case for Linda and Steve of Co Antrim on page 100. In fact keeping on top of your budget is the key to a successful and enjoyable experience; see page 72 for more. And don’t forget to turn your sights on the garden, whether it’s there to bring some magic (step into the night garden on page 90), to provide shelter (read all about building underground on page 94), or to cure your aches and pains (p11).
Happy building and improving!
Stop Press – The latest happenings and products of special interest to self-builders and home improvers.
All fun and games – Andrew and Cathy Bryce built this Co Wexford holiday home with the Irish weather in mind; a lot of thought was therefore given to the indoor games room and covered barbeque area.
Nature and nurture – Mixing business with pleasure is what Matthew and Muiread Kelly did by combining stables, a photography studio and a family home in this self-build.
Living in style, for happiness – Find out how to make your home a stylistic and individual haven.
Paint magic – Get acquainted with the product that can transform a room with the sweep of a brush.
Self-build & see the world! – Instead of renting, why not swap your home when going on holiday? Irish home exchangers guide you through the process.
Irish designers’ homes – This issue we give you a tour of the homes of Nicola Waddington, architect at Waddington-McClure Architects, and of Kostas Wootis MRIAI.
The leak detective – You can rent a kit from Dublin City libraries to check for any thermal leaks in your home; one of our readers put it to the test.
Called to account – Tips on how to manage your budget, whatever your level of involvement in your self-build or renovation project.
VAT’s that? – Our guide to value added tax in NI and ROI.
Safety on Site – Learn your legal obligations and how to generally keep your building site safe.
In the night garden – Find out how to create a garden that shines equally well under the glare of the sun and under the soft moonlight.
Undercover – Subterranean builds are gaining in popularity, find out what it involves and get some tips from an Irish architect who’s been there, done that.
Never ending holiday – Linda and Steve Mitchell found the perfect house to make theirs in the Co Antrim village they’d been holidaying in; they share the ups and downs of their renovation and extension project.
Going native – Edith and Hans Schroeder put their faith in a team of experienced architectural advisors, for both the technical and interior design elements; the result speaks for itself.
Photo finish – Time to print out those photographs and make some simple picture frames to showcase them.
In the bag – This year’s Architectural Association of Ireland awards crowned a home in Co Down and another in Co Carlow…
Between the covers – Some celebrity books this issue with The Garden Awakening penned by Mary Reynolds, the first Irish gardener to win gold at Chelsea, and Rooms by TV host Declan O’Donnell.
Comment – Are the days of cowboy builders gone?