2017 is going to be another big year for technology, with Google Home and the Amazon Echo now on your doorstep. But this offering is quite a departure from what the 1980s promised. Even though Back to the Future hoverboards and self-lacing shoes now do exist, in the home we’re not so much focused on rehydrating pizzas but rather on cloud computing. Instead of automation taking place on our periphery, it’s much more intimate, linked to our smart phones and our online identities. It’s no surprise therefore that hacking is becoming a serious concern when it comes to using these devices for surveillance and even as keys. For more on this topic and other matters related to security in the home, turn to page 59. High tech also has to do with the new materials and methods that have emerged over the past decade – all new houses are now built to exacting standards (page 130), some are made of Insulated Concrete Formwork (page 14), others come straight out of the box (page 70). If these very thoughts make your head spin, turn to our survival guide on page 52 and find out, on page 42, how much it will cost you to hire a professional to help you navigate the maze of self-building and home improving. At the other end of the spectrum is the traditional Irish cottage, built of a handful of materials – we put it in the spotlight on page 46. Window taxes meant fewer windows, quite a departure from our house configurations today. In fact with our extensive use of glazing, we’re increasingly becoming prone to suffer from overheating (page 112) – to achieve the right balance turn to page 80. For less technical topics, and for a bit of fresh air, consult our hyggelig interior design article starting on page 38; there’s also plenty to keep you inspired including our wood block flooring masterclass on page 122 and a top 10 list of the easiest bulbs to plant this spring, it begins on page 92.
Happy building and improving!
A stream runs through it – Case Study – Insulated Concrete Formwork was Tony Casey’s solution to building a curved house on a budget in Co Wicklow.
Hot and cold – Case Study – Craig and Claire Adair of Co Antrim chose to demolish and build new to get the views they dreamt of, and a house that would be easy to heat.
Home is where the hygge is – Danish Modern contrasts with the lighter toned Swedish designs; here we delve into Denmark’s hygge psychology and how it can help you create the perfect interior.
Professional fees – What do architectural designers and other construction professional charge? What can you expect for your pound or euro? Find out in our Q&A.
Quaint and quintessential – A history of the traditional Irish cottage and what you can expect if you plan to renovate one.
Surviving in a high tech world – A back to basics class for those struggling to make sense of the new building methods and materials now available to self-builders and home improvers.
Security in the home – An essential guide to keeping your building site, house, garage and contents safe from burglary.
Open the box – Prefabricated houses will save you time and money; find out what’s involved and if this route may be for you.
Snaglists: what are they about? – House building is not like a car production line where quality control standards can be maintained; this is where the snaglists come in to highlight any defects prior to your moving in.
Putting your house where it belongs – Choosing where to position your house on your building site is fundamental; find out what’s involved. Plus, discover how house orientation helped get things right for Emmanuelle Quinlivan of Co Cork and Jim MacLane of Co Tyrone.
Top 10 low maintenance bulbs – Go with the flow and plant some spring-time sensations for colour and vibrancy.
Eye on the prize – Case Study – This renovation project in Co Carlow was a true labour of love for Ian Walsh whose sheer determination was what turned his dream into a reality.
Let there be light! – Case Study – Returning home from Australia, Rhea Kipling of Co Antrim wanted to add light to her home, and plenty of it! Thanks to a clever design she managed to turn the house on its head with a 13sqm extension.
Old kid on the block – Find out how to install wood block flooring in this beginner’s guide.
Eye on Ireland – Everything you need to know about ROI’s new Help to Buy scheme.
Notice Board – Product and industry news from the world of self-building and home improvement.
Comment – Forget the old approach of simply adding insulation to your attic; deep retrofit is the next big thing in energy upgrades.