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Breathtaking Donegal Home


A sufficient number of well-designed homes afford breathtaking views from the inside, with it taking a special effort to create a feeling of being in touch with the wildness. The coastal home known as ‘Teach Bing’ on Horn Head, Dunfanaghy in County Donegal was designed by brothers Antoin and Tarla MacGabhann of MacGabhann Architects as well as their fellow practitioners Eoin Bradley and Bjorn Patzwald also affords breathtaking views from the outside.

The house sits on Horn Head peninsula overlooking Sheephaven Bay. According to the architects, the house takes its architectural cue directly from its landscape, in particular from its rising of Muckish Mountain.

“On one side of the mountain it’s rectangular and on the other side of the mountain it resembles a sleeping dog or pig. It has a complexity of form,” explained Architect Antoin MacGabhann.

“We knew that the house had to cater for more than the view and the most important thing wasn’t the concept of course, it was the clients’ brief. Their hopes and requirements were applied to our model and we also needed the house to be an economical, efficient design as we cannot take someone’s money and present them with an expensive design!

“The house was orientated to make the most of solar gain on its southwesterly aspect which in turn naturally identified where the bedrooms, main living spaces and private courtyard should go,” added Mr MacGabhann.

“This external space is like an extension of the interior with large glazed sections that slide back to merge the inside and the outside. The notable chimney visible from the exterior is the team’s architectural expression – the hearth of the home!

“When you’re at the fireplace in a home, you’re at its centre which is a very symbolic thing and with the chimney so visible on the exterior it’s pointing at that living space,” he revealed.

“The basic structure of the house is concrete cavity blocks and the house has been finished in traditional rough-cast wet dash render. The second key material is the zinc in the roof throwing back the sky. The roof has also been designed to funnel water into a cylinder towards the side of the house.

“The multiplex shape of the house means there is enough going on inside that there was no need to give expression to individual areas with lots of different materials,” enthused Antoin.

A lavish entrance hall doubles as a boat room which leads to the main open plan split-level kitchen and living space which also leads to the dining room. The house has a large footprint of almost 3,000 square foot with four bedrooms. The house features oak throughout, both on the floors and on bespoke storage units that divides the lower seating level from the kitchen and also conceals a radiator with white walls and ceilings bouncing daylight!

“We are absolutely delighted with the house,” said the clients. “There is a true feeling of calm from within. The interior space, clean lines and light add to this effect. The design blends seamlessly with the natural landscape outside and it is captured by the windows at the front of the house.

“The design of the house mirrors the spectacular views we have of the Derryveagh Mountain range with both sea and mountain views. Nature was always at the very essence of our house project. It is truly a great modern family home,” they added.