From Australia to Antrim

How James and Rhea Kipling of Co Antrim undertook a light filled renovation project upon returning home from Australia.

In this article, James and Rhea cover:

  • How they managed to bring in additional light to their existing house
  • Details of their extension and reconfiguration project turning the house on its head
  • Trade off between adding windows and losing energy efficiency
  • Details of redesign including how to make best use of rooflights
  • Which elements were moved where and best design choices to add light
  • Minimising impact on neighbours and working with local area’s management company
  • Garden transformation and redesign to make it more usable and enticing
  • Artificial lighting and making it work
  • Kitchen design
  • How the project was managed and built
  • Tips to keep on top of the budget
  • Heating choices and how they’ve worked out
  • Full specification and supplier list
  • Ground floor and upper floor plans: before and after

House size before: 214 sqm
House size after: 227 sqm
Plot size: 280 sqm
Build cost: £50,000 including kitchen and landscaping
House value: in the region of £400,000


Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild 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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