The site is located on the Rosguil peninsula on the well renowned "Atlantic Drive " boasting some of the most beautiful natural scenery of mountains and rugged Atlantic coastline. The landscape here is typically windswept and bare, however the site is set in the sheltered side of a steeply sloping valley cascading to the sea, in what might be considered somewhat of a micro climate with substantial planting of mature coniferous / deciduous trees. The existing dwelling having fallen into some disrepair, consists of an original stone walled cottage with an attached stone outbuilding, nestled into the base of a steep hillside surrounded by the dense cover of trees and vegetation. The cottage is accessed via a screened laneway leading from the public road.

The brief from the clients was to create a substantial family home suitable for the needs of modern day living, with an emphasis on maximising light, sun and views. The clients also indicated that they wished to retain the character of the original cottage.

A measured survey of the property was carried out.



See below:


View of Site



 View from Public Road down the Valley


 Design process:


This site is situated in a spectacular scenic location on the renowned "Atlantic Drive " in an area designated as "Especially High Scenic Amenity" in the Donegal County Development Plan 2006-2012. Therefore it was apparent from the outset, there was a responsibility to deliver a design that would integrate successfully with the unique surroundings. Being designated "Especially High Scenic Amenity" brings restrictions. The initial approach was to consult with the local Planner for the area where it was argued that the existing dwelling, having fallen into some disrepair, could be made habitable with minor decoration works. Whence it did not fall under the definition contained in the CPD 2006-2012 of "Refurbishment of Rundown / Dilapidated Dwellings, which is subject to floor area increase restrictions. This allowed for flexibility in achieving a floor area increase, which would meet the needs of the clients in terms of their accommodation. Further lengthy detailed pre-planning discussions were held with the Planner regarding the design. Inspiration for the design was drawn from the local vernacular architecture. The setting of the existing cottage was unique in that it was cut into the hillside, therefore any extension to the rear would not be visible. The design concentrated around achieving a front elevation that was consistent with local vernacular architecture, with greater flexibility at the rear. The existing cottage remained largely intact, while the existing outbuilding would be demolished to make way for the new extension. The design utilised the form of the traditional linear plan cottage with the appearance of attached outbuildings. This was achieved using familiar vernacular features, a natural palette of materials and simple detailing. Due to the enclosed nature of the site, sun and views were at a premium, therefore larger openings in simple form with high level roof lights were introduced where possible, to maximum effect. The footprint of the existing cottage was increased from 60 sq. mtrs. to 242 sq. mtrs. which accommodates an open plan kitchen / living / dining, utility, h/press, shower rm, store & plant rm, home office and lounge on the ground floor, with a master suite, 2 no. bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor.

Careful consideration was given to the existing mature planting within the site, conscious of the impact of removing too many mature trees. The trees were assessed on their species, shallow root structure, proximity to the build and the likelihood of damage to the dwelling should they fall. A layout was prepared detailing the number and location of trees being felled and the proposed planting within the site.


See planning drawings below: