True eco renovation in Co Donegal

Renovating a 200 year old stone building often involves managing moisture – and that was true of Joanne and Milo Butler’s renovation project. But their eco renovation project presented an additional challenge. Finding a replacement stone roof covering…  

In this article, Joanne and Milo explain how they undertook their eco renovation project, including:

  • Getting rid of roof leaks and draughts
  • Full details of the insulation upgrade using hemp and fibreboard
  • Larch cladding details
  • Lime plaster process
  • The need for planning permission for the 6sqm extension
  • Repurposed kitchen and internal finishes
  • Stone slates – how to find salvaged ones to reuse
  • Solution to house with no foundations
  • Steel reinforcements for the ceiling
  • Installing the wood burning stoves, one with back boiler
  • How the composting wastewater treatment system works and how it was installed
  • DIY rainwater harvesting system


House size before: 1,200 sqft
House size after: 1,300 sqft
Bedrooms: 4
Plot size: 4 acres
Build method: extension in timber frame
Extension walls: proprietary timber frame system with tongue and groove panels, 60mm hemp between the timbers, then fireboard, then felt, then battens, then larch cladding.
Roof: same build up as for the walls with insulated tongue and groove panels.
Heating: two wood burning stoves, one with back boiler for heating and hot water
Ventilation: natural


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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