Vernacular new build in Co Kildare

For John and Elaine Lawler, building themselves a new home in Co Kildare was all about moving back to their roots to build a vernacular house. They also made it a condition that it be completely finished when they moved in.

In this article, John and Elaine discuss their vernacular new build project in Co Kildare, including:

  • Choosing where to build on gifted land
  • Inspiration for the vernacular build
  • Why they discarded their first design, for which they had received planning permission
  • The redesign process
  • Hiring an engineer to oversee the house construction
  • Hiring a builder
  • Appointing the architect as Project Supervisor Design Stage (PSDS) and the builder as Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS)
  • Choice of air to water heat pump and ventilation with heat recovery
  • Triple glazed windows and brise soleil to combat overheating
  • Choice of laminate and tiles over polished concrete
  • Garden design


House size: 193 sqm
Plot size: 1 acre
Windows: double glazed and triple glazed combination, grey powder coated thermally broken aluminium, U-value average 1.2 W/sqmK
Airtightness: 1.83 m3/h/sqm at 50Pa
Structure: Concrete block cavity wall, full fill with 150mm PIR board; floor insulated with 150mm PIR; flat roof warm roof construction.


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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