The owners of this period house in Dublin 6 were eager to have a generous central space in the home that was suitable for family life, entertaining, cooking and connection to the small garden. See how they achieved this below …
“We love designing kitchens around the nuances and intricacies of family life,” explains architect Nicci Brock of Brock Finucane, an architectural practice based in Dublin.
“Our practice is committed to creating buildings, spaces and places of quality, beauty and character. We take pride in executing work with particular regard to context, craft, sustainability and heritage.” Currently Brock is involved in projects across the country, from Achill Island to Kerry – the latter for a beautiful kitchen overlooking the Blasket Islands.
“Wonderful” is the only way to describe the clients for a completed project in a period house in Dublin 6, Brock says. They had recently returned to Dublin, after travelling extensively, and were eager to create a home.
If the brief was simple, Brock encountered some problems with the site, which is overlooked extensively on three sides, and is restricted in dimension to the rear. Privacy and overlooking were an issue. Avid food lovers, the kitchen space was a priority. Her clients were eager to have a generous central space in the home that was suitable for family life, entertaining, cooking and connection to the small garden.
“Our aim was to make a light, open, daylight-soaked space, that knitted internal and external spaces together, while retaining privacy and restricting overlooking,” explains Brock. “The result is a large flexible family space, placed between two courtyard gardens and the knitting together of interior and exterior spaces with material textures.”
Outside is an unassuming exterior visible from the road, which belies its light-filled interior. The main elevation to the street is made up of a black zinc roof, with strategically placed rooflights, to drench the space with light, while preventing overlooking. Tumbled buff brick elevations face the courtyard gardens, with a nod to the dolphins barn brick to the rear elevation of the main house. Deep reveals are topped with concrete canopies to allow the kitchen spaces to be opened to the courtyards, even in the worst weather.
“Functionality in the kitchen was of paramount importance, as was space for a large dining table. A simple palette of materials was used internally – oiled oak floors, brick and concrete. Good lighting design, and adequate space for art was key,” explains Brock, who shares five tips for kitchen renovations.
1. Think carefully about how you wish to use the space and your requirements.
Today kitchens are the central hub of the house, so approach the design by thinking of the layout in terms of moments – with places to cook, to eat, to entertain and sometimes a spot to sit and work.
2. Size doesn’t matter!
A smaller yet carefully considered, designed and curated kitchen space can be far more successful than a large oversized kitchen.
3. Don’t feel your kitchen should be brochure-perfect
You can bring your own style to the party: hang art, use beautiful stone and interesting feature lights, and leave space for furniture. There are plenty of opportunities to inject some personality while creating a slick, contemporary kitchen.
4. Consider the relationship between interior and exterior
These include kitchen spaces such as barbecue areas or pizza ovens. Can these areas be knitted together with material textures, or lighting schemes. Do you need outdoor prep and storages areas?
5. Lighting is key
Think about orientation, and how to choreograph natural light in the space, with carefully placed windows, rooflights, or glazed doors. Equally, a kitchen is a hardworking room – think about task lighting for cooking and prep areas, lighting in cupboards and fitted furniture, and feature lighting for dining areas.
Photography by Ruth Maria Murphy