Modern renovation for Mayo home

How Leonie and Jonathan Kennedy survived their major renovation project, all the while living in their house and preparing for their wedding.

In this article, Leonie and Jonathan share how they went about their modern renovation and extension project, including:

  • House hunting tips and where to get design inspiration for a modern renovation
  • Reasons for redesigning the floor plans
  • Details of rewiring and new pump for better water pressure
  • Grant application for insulation with details of pumping the cavity walls with EPS beads
  • Choice of wood burning stove and keeping the boiler
  • New triple glazed windows with integrated vents
  • Planning application process and need for new septic tank
  • Tender process and choosing the right builder
  • How to live on site during the renovation and build, including relying on a portaloo
  • Structural issues unearthed and how they were dealt with
  • Snag list and working with the builder


House size before: 103 sqm
House size after: 154 sqm
Plot size: 1.3 acres

Extension spec
Floor finish on 75mm screed on 150mm PIR insulation on concrete subfloor; U-value 0.132W/sqmK. Walls 350mm concrete block cavity work; rendered externally and plastered internally with 140mm full fill PIR insulation, U-value 0.142 W/sqmK. Pitched roof 150mm rafter depth fully filled with rock wool plus 62mm overall thickness insulated plasterboard (roof battened & counter battened); U-value 0.145 W/sqmK. Flat roof warm roof construction comprising 100mm PIR Insulation on 150mm rafter depth fully filled with rock wool, skimmed plasterboard, U-value 0.110 W/sqmK.
News windows and doors
Triple glazed uPVC in custom grey (RAL 7015); sliding door units timber aluclad triple glazed. Overall U-value on both 0.7 W/sqmK.


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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