The traditional Irish farm cottage is a “long house” type, a straight linear plan containing a sequence of rooms, entered on the side. Typically, these houses have been extended in telescopic fashion, with extra rooms and even animal sheds added to the house linearly. Our clients, who possess a small house of this type, wished to extend the area of some of the rooms, but without wishing necessarily to alter the sequence.

Our solution was to make a simple parallel extension to the rear of the house, and break out the existing rear wall to extend each of the existing spaces individually. The sequence of existing rooms sets up a dimensional rhythm which is continued in the extension, finally reducing to a timber pergola at the end of its run.

The linear quality of the extension is further reinforced by its external expression. The aluminium roof is turned down onto the wall, and the ground pavers are turned up, both meeting at a compressed band of glazing which runs horizontally along the kitchen counter.

A shed lying further east to the end of the site was converted to habitable accommodation by replacing its south wall with a glazed wall. A year later the clients asked us to further extend the house, to connect the long cottage with the converted shed. This we did by making a knuckle piece, or clasp, which joins the necklace of rooms together, and contains a second living room and bedroom suite upstairs.