167 sq m (1,800 sq ft)
Trish Dromey is impressed by the distinctive, mixed style of an architect's home featuring a blend of old and the new.
Built by an architect owner using a lifetime’s worth of stored up design ideas, Eaton Lodge in Castlegregory is a stylish and contemporary version of a traditional Irish property with a striking red New England barn-style extension.
Building the first house he ever designed for himself, on an inherited plot in the seaside village he’d visited as a child, the architect had free rein to blend the modern and traditional and add on the Nantucket style post and beam structure that he had always wanted to build. His aim was to design some thing simple with character and to steer clear of boring bungalows which he believes we have too many of.
Externally the two storey property is contemporary and interesting with roof glazing and large windows. Internally the design and layout is modern but timber beams and panelled ceilings, as well as latched doors and a large stone fireplace with an oak mantelpiece, give it a decidedly old world feel.
The most distinctive a design feature in the property is an atrium, constructed around the chimney, which runs up through the centre of the house to the roof glazing. “You can sit by the fireplace and look up through the atrium at the stars,’’ says the owner, adding from a galleried area above the living room you can look down on the fireplace and up at the sky.
The owner counts the building of the 1,200 sq ft two bed modern/ traditional style house in 2000 as phase one of construction. Although it is a conventional build with cavity walls, he added oak ceiling beams and columns on the interior to make it appear as if it were a post and beam structure. “Phase two was the 600 sq ft post and beam barn which was built in 2004,’’ he said, explaining he designed and fitted it out as an architect’s office but later adapted it for residential use.
Constructed with oak beams imported from Pennsylvania by a company in Tyrone, it is painted red, as this is the traditional colour for barns in the US where they originated.
For the interior walls in the barn he used structural insulated panels. “The exterior is clad in North American ash sourced from Cape Cod,’’ he adds. Designed without corridors, the phase one property has a short hallway with timber stairs leading upstairs and three doors – one to the kitchen, one to the living room and one to a shower room. The living room, dominated by its impressive stone fireplace, has oak flooring, timber sheeted ceiling, numerous beams and an alcove used as a dining area.
The terracotta tiled kitchen is fitted out traditional style with pine units, oak countertops and timber beams. The first floor has a galleried area above the sitting room, as well as two en suite bedrooms — including one at the rear window with views of Tralee Bay.
Between the house and barn there is a connecting section with a long room divided into a study and a small reception area. Inside the red barn is a bright high ceiling living area with exposed oak beams, floor to ceiling windows along one side and eight large roof lights. It has kitchen units which the owner added to make a coffee dock.
Outside, in the space between phase one and phase two is a gravelled south facing courtyard garden.
Making plans to build another post and beam house in Kildare, the owner has put Eaton Lodge on the market with a guide of €350,000.
Selling agent Daire McCann of DNG Giles says this a striking home.
Because of its location in the heart of Castlegregory village within a short walk from the strand she believes it would be perfect as a summer home. “It would also make a wonderful family residence. The post and beam section can be used as an office, converted into an apartment, turned in to a granny flat or used just as it is.”
VERDICT: Stylish, imaginative and individual.