Provoked perms, puffed shoulders, spandex leggings: 1980s tastemakers had a lot to answer for, but maybe planners too?
Wasn’t it on your watch that the country went crazy about building bungalows?
They rose at such a rate that Bungalow Bliss (the book that inspired the craze) became, in retrospect, the bane of bungalows, and the modest one-story house became the most ridiculed type of house ever to sully the world. irish landscape.
However, like anything that goes out of style, it eventually finds its way back into the spotlight and today the unassuming 1980s bungalow is making a stealthy comeback. In an expensive real estate market, these unassuming homes are often more competitively priced, no doubt helped by the lack of fanfare surrounding their architecture.
The house shown on these pages had many of the features we associate with a typical 1980s bungalow when its owners bought it during the first Covid lockdown in 2020, after a lengthy search for a site with privacy. They had been living in a two-bedroom apartment, and before that, in a two-bedroom house, in a housing estate.
“It was a classic 1980s bungalow, with a hallway the length of the house,” says the woman of the house.
And though it was on a lovely, lofty site in Currahaly, Farran, Farnanes, its design failed to capitalize on the beauty of its doorway.
“We wanted it to open up so we could see the field and we wanted to make it bigger and work better,” say the owners.
“And we also wanted to focus on isolation. That was one of our top priorities.”
They set out to find an architect who could help implement their vision. Some they talked to came up with ideas that they felt really didn’t fit with their dream. On the recommendation of a friend, they met with Cork-based French architect Loïc Dehaye of Loïc Dehaye Architects Ltd.
“It got what we wanted to do with it,” say the owners.
Loïc says that from an architectural point of view, the site had great qualities, but the house was not making the most of them.
“It was well exposed and facing south.
“But the house was in its original state, with four beds, with quite small rooms. It wasn’t a very well thought out design and it wasn’t open to the south to take advantage of those fantastic views,” says Loïc.
He set out to change that. Contrary to the typical extension of his house, the planning summary was to reduce the number of bedrooms, from four to three. The aim was also to create a large open-plan living space and, in the process, to enhance the relationship between the house and its surroundings.
The owners were keen for work to begin and as the extension was to the rear and less than 40m2, planning permission was not required.
“Loïc came up with a plan that maximized each room and made sure they were all very well proportioned. He put in a beautiful light filled extension and did it within the budget we could afford. He listened to what we wanted,” say the owners.
While they don’t want to disclose the cost of the project (the cost of building materials rose sharply during construction due to supply problems, which was not helped by the six-day blockade of the Suez Canal after a container ship ran aground), they are pleased to reveal what the original 123-square-meter (1,324-square-foot) home cost them: €390,000. It came with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room in the front and a kitchen in the back and took up about a third of an acre.
The remodeling plan did not call for a change to the front elevation and the living room was left as is, as it was “a good size”, says Loïc.
Although the rest of the house was remodeled, Loïc says it was “an easy structure to work with” as the exterior walls and roof were kept.
As part of the isolation process, the cavity walls were pumped and then lined. The roof was not touched, but the inner roof was removed.
“We kept the structure but we needed to remove the roof to put in an airtight membrane. It was then recast. We also insulate the attic space.
“We use cellulose insulation, made by Ecocel (based at Marina Commercial Park on Center Park Road, Cork City). It’s made from recycled newspaper, having read it of course,” he laughs.
All interior partitions were removed, except for the front parlor, where a concrete block partition was built. Underfloor heating was also installed throughout.
There was a discussion about what to do with the windows and, following Loïc’s advice, the couple opted for triple glazing for the glass expanse and double glazing for the rest of the rear as it faces south.
“We had thought about putting triple glazing on the whole lot, but Loïc said that wasn’t the right thing to do, and he was right,” says the man of the house.
As a result of careful and thoughtful insulation work, they have a constant and uniform temperature in the house, regardless of external factors.
“Even at the height of this year’s heat wave, it was lovely,” the owners say.
“You would think that with all that glass and being facing south, we would be cooking, but it wasn’t.
“The triple glazing was very effective from that perspective, and we also had a nice breeze going through the extension due to the sliding doors on both sides,” add the owners.
In fact, there are three sliding doors in total in the extension, one on each side of the glass box (leading to the patio areas) and one next to the kitchen area.
Ventilation is not only through these doors, but also through a light shaft. There are two velux ceiling lights, remote controlled (which can also be activated with a smartphone) and, because they have sensors installed, they close automatically if it rains.
“It was Loïc who suggested it and he was very clever because if you have left the window open and you are not at home, it will close if it rains,” says the man of the house.
Veluxes also contribute to ventilation.
“Even with a lot of glass, the extension didn’t overheat during the summer and the owners told me they were glad they were able to drive through the heat wave,” says Loïc, who is a Certified Passive House Designer from the Passivhaus Institut. . Dr. Wolfgang Feist, Darmstadt, Germany.
With all that glazing, the extension is wonderfully light-filled. It’s also a fabulous place to sit and enjoy the rolling views of the countryside, over Bride Valley and East Muskerry, from a comfortable seating area. Loïc designed the open-plan extension so that the seating is in the front, near the floor-to-ceiling windows (by 2020-Glazing), and the kitchen is towards the rear of the room. The huge sofa is from 1922 Furniture near Navan, in Co Cavan.
The kitchen, by Classic Kitchens in Carriagline, has some striking copper features, including a copper sink and copper single-handle faucet on the island. Kitchen cabinets have a warm earthy tone and work well with copper. There is a beautiful wooden breakfast bar attached to one side of the island, with plenty of room too for a separate dining table.
The man of the house restored a wall clock (a family heirloom) and painted it “Scooter Red” and adds a surprising splash of color to the pale walls.
Outside is lovely for morning coffee, says the woman of the house, thanks to Loïc’s creativity and attention to detail.
“It really captured the importance of the little details, like including an overhang around the extension,” he adds.
The cantilever is longest on the east elevation, some 2m beyond the glazed wall, creating a sheltered corner from the elements. There is also a cantilever on the south and west elevations, not as big, but designed to shade out the sun.
The owner says that the overhang provides a great canopy. He also likes the fact that he adds an extra touch to the extension, so that “it’s not just a glass box.”
“I hate that everything is a box or a complete square. Loïc got it right, he keeps it interesting and it’s little details like that that make the difference,” says the owner.
While the open-plan extension was the main part of the project, the master bedroom was also remodeled. They took out a bedroom to increase the size of their bedroom and installed a bathroom. It is a dual aspect room, with the largest window taking full advantage of the south facing view.
Another job involved putting in a utility room and rearranging the layout to get rid of the long internal corridor. An impressive polished concrete floor was laid on the entrance porch and open area.
The couple moved in last November. The project took eight to 10 months to complete, with some delays due to Covid and some additional costs due to the increased price of materials. While a building price had been agreed upon in advance, the couple absorbed some of the additional cost in recognition of the hit their builder would otherwise take. Chq Builders worked on the project and the couple were very pleased with their performance.
The house is not yet fully finished: the owners still have some floors to lay, but they are not in a hurry and are enjoying what has been achieved so far. They are delighted that the focus on insulation has improved the energy efficiency of their home from a D2 rating to an A.
“When all the work was done, a tightness test was done and on the day, the readings were even lower than expected. The energy efficiency is even better than anticipated,” says the man of the house. The decision to remove a fireplace and not install an open fire (Loïc’s advice that they wouldn’t need one was correct) also helped achieve that rating.
With happy clients, Loïc, whose own house is featured in the RTÉ House of the Year series, and who specializes in unique house design and passive house design, says his new house is “a great example of what can be done with a typical bungalow of the 80s”.
Although the extension added only 26 m2, the house has been transformed. Loïc says the typical ’80s bungalow has “great potential,” but the real bonus here was the exceptional location and views.
“The view is so spectacular and ever changing, as the site is elevated. And the house now takes full advantage of those views and is much better connected to the landscape.
“My clients wanted a modern and comfortable house with a better relationship with the place where it is located, so that is what we have done. And with his A rating, he’s also prepared for the future.”