Home Property Features A house of hope, determination and dreams in Malahide

A house of hope, determination and dreams in Malahide


A family home in Malahide which was completed in 2015 may have involved renegotiating the land boundaries to provide a site suitable for a new infill family home with the end result being one of a modern day compact home which is designed to maximise solar gain on the Malahide Road in a picturesque setting.

“With this project we basically renegotiated or swapped the site from one neighbour to another as one neighbour had the whole front of the site and the other neighbour had the whole back of the site so we asked the neighbour to give us a bit of the front and the other neighbour for a bit of the back to create a site that would work,” explained Architect over the project, Derek Trenaman.

“We worked on this project for Chris Gilson first and when this project was finished we were asked to design a house for the neighbour so we’re just finishing the second house. The same contractor built the houses and they are both finished with the same level of detail which is nice.

“The house is a timber framed house with external insulation cladding Canadian Western Cedar. These materials would be good to build a house like this because the house could be completed faster as the timber frame could be constructed off site. It arrived sealed and water tight effectively within 14 days,” explained Derek.

“The house then gets finished on site. For instance, the windows would have been pre-ordered so all of the windows pretty much arrived in the same week. The reason for the windows been pre-ordered is so that the house is made airtight and sealed as quickly as possible.

“You would call this house near passive standard. It has a chemical recovery heat ventilation system, an air to water heating system and U values to 0.15. With this house, I would say that the average cost was €2,000 per square metre. It is a beautiful house,” he enthused.

“The home owner only has to put the heating on in December and January for maybe an hour to two hours a day because it retains the heat. The heat recovery system recycles 92% of the heat in the house which is generated from body heat, appliances and solar gains. The air is recycled continuously, the heat is recycled by the exhaust air heating the incoming air.

“This project is a family home, the client originally lived on the corner house of this road but the client sold the house and the clients husband passed away through tragic circumstances so evidentially the house was the only asset she had left and we worked very hard to get her planning permission and that took a few years but we got her there in the end,” added Mr Trenaman.

“It is a three-bedroom house with a kitchen, sitting and a dining area. To be honest for such a tiny house it has far more space in it than it really should, it’s only 125 square metres but it has sort of double height stairwell and it has a back living, kitchen and dining area. The house is perfect for her needs.

“The house is a very, very energy efficient one,” said Derek.

“Typically when you’re working on a project like this you would be expecting it to take between 18 months and two years from planning permission straight through to the end but this one took a bit longer, I think it was almost three years in the process. When you get a house like this one, the house is definitely worth the wait!

“Having got to know the client very well over the years, this project was a bit of an emotional one to work on. When you’re working on a lot of projects and there is a quick turnaround, you don’t really get to know the client but with this project, we got to know the client and her family very well,” enthused Mr Trenaman.

“The client is absolutely thrilled with the house and we would still be in fairly regular contact with her. The clients original dream would have been to have had a big Georgian mansion but she’s very happy now with her very modern house and if we designed the Georgian house for her now she wouldn’t have it.

“The house was a progressive response for her life and to be dealing with her was very much a life changing experience given the history of what she has gone through to get to where she is. We know her children as well. They really love the house too,” imparted a reflective Derek.

“This project was a great experience and journey,” he added.