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Guilford Avenue, Sandymount

Project Featured in Real Homes magazine - see here

‘Having lived in Sandymount for years I had grown to love the area with its wealth of restaurants and shops I had decided to downsize from a large five bedroom period property to a smaller terraced house and I really wanted to stay in the area,’  says Judith.  ‘ The terraced house I ended up buying was in my ideal location had some lovely period features and elegantly proportioned rooms but the kitchen didn’t work for me as it was dark, with limited light and very little workspace and with no connection with the garden.  The garden was a good size so I could see that I would have room to extend to the back and also to use the wasted space to one side of the old kitchen,’ explains Judith.

Judith turned to architect David Leyden who had been recommended to her, to come up with a design that would fulfill her brief.  ‘My brief to David was to retain the charm and period features of the existing ground floor reception rooms whilst adding a large sociable space that incorporated the kitchen, dining and living area to the rear of the house.  I have regular visits from my children and grandchild so this had to be a really functional space.’  David came up with an innovative contemporary design that spanned boundary to boundary, ‘the positioning and configuration of this space created an internal courtyard adjacent to the existing return, allowing additional external space and extra light in whilst not compromising the existing rear reception room,’ explains David.  ‘It also allows Judith to be able to view the garden through several layers of spaces from the bay window at the very front of the house, a spot that Judith also enjoys sitting in,’ says David.

As the proposed design required only extending 1.5m into the garden it was exempt from planning, so once the design was finalised Judith could start work immediately. She hired Marvel Restoration Ltd  to do the construction, who had been recommended to her.  ‘The major construction work involved removing the corner and back of the ground floor return, there was a lean-to at the rear of the return which was also demolished, the back space was opened up, the new extension was extended both outwards and widthwise to encompass the two boundary walls,’ says Judith.

The whole process took seven months to be completed.  Judith decided to move out of the house while all the work was going on.  ‘I knew it would be a major upheaval, as I would have no working kitchen, so I rented a place nearby which was great as I had a comfortable place to stay and could pop in to the house on a day to day basis to see how all the work was coming along,’ says Judith. 

As you enter the new extension from the main house, the first space is the kitchen with a dining area and living area at the garden end of the new addition.  The new kitchen supplied and fitted by Shannonside Kitchen was bespoke made to fit the space.  The kitchen area contains a large bank of cabinets and a central island that overlooks the new internal courtyard, the large expanse of glass here and at the back of the house ensures this space is flooded with natural light. ‘Positioning the central island looking onto the courtyard means I can enjoy the outside space while busy in the kitchen.  The kitchen was designed with ergonomics in mind, everything is positioned so it’s close at hand.  The bank of fitted cabinets give me plenty of storage, the integrated appliances keep the look clutter free, and the large central island gives me plenty of workspace, so the space is extremely practical and functions perfectly,’ says Judith.

Judith’s choice of finishings included white marble countertops and wooden flooring, ‘my niece Emma Coyle has a great eye for interiors so she really helped with ideas for the design and the finishings. The white marble countertops where chosen for their reflective qualities and as I didn’t want the space to feel too clinical and I opted for wooden flooring which adds some warmth and texture.’

When it came to the decor Judith kept everything as neutral as possible with just a pop of striking blue on the central island.  ‘My aim for this space was to have it as light as possible and as I have some mid century furniture that is quite dark and wanted the space to have a contemporary feel I really didn’t want any colour on the walls. But I do love colour so my compromise was to paint the central island, and I had my dining chairs re-upholstered in fabric that is a similar blue,’ explains Judith.

‘I am really pleased with how this space has turned out, thanks to David’s wonderful design, it’s so light and bright and warm and the sense of space is so uplifting. It’s really the hub of the house, it’s sociable, practical and functional for my large extended family,  and it’s a space we can all enjoy and relax in,’ says Judith.


Words and styling Penny Crawford-Collins

Photographs Philip Lauterbach

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