Home News ‘Clarinda’ Dun Laoighaire Penthouse Apartment- revamp!

‘Clarinda’ Dun Laoighaire Penthouse Apartment- revamp!


The re-development of this penthouse apartment was particularly tricky as there was an entire block of apartment dwellers on the floors below. John O’Neill of John O’Neill and Associates had to build a new penthouse apartment before removing the building’s original roof, essentially Mr O’Neill had to build backwards.

In January 2011, the owner of the original penthouse asked John O’Neill and Associates to build a new apartment with construction beginning in January 2013. The new penthouse replaced the original 150 square metre of living accomodation on two floors as well as a roof terrace.

“Given that the residents below were all present during the works, we had no choice but to rebuild our new penthouse around the existing roof,” said John O’Neill.

“Logistically that was tricky, it was a really big challenge! It meant that we had a building within a building for a while,” added Mr O’Neill.

“Having the contractor Gerry Jones of Jones Property Services on board as part of the design team was an important part of solving this logistical nightmare,” revealed John.

A replacement two-storey dwelling was built around the existing single-storey one. Once this ‘envelope’ was complete, the original mock-period ‘mansard’ roof – a structure which has two slopes on each of the four sides could be removed.

The penthouse which is a two bedroomed home with stunning panoramic views from Howth to Wicklow sits atop Clarinda Close, a 1995 building in the architectural conservation area of Clarinda Park in the south Dublin seaside village of Dún Laoghaire. This project revamp required close consultation with planning authorities before plans were submitted.

“We found the conservation department very dynamic and positive to deal with,” explained Mr O’Neill.

“Their attitude was that our new addition at the top shouldn’t be a pastiche of the original building. The new building should look new and vice versa. Ironically, that was complex too, since the original building was a bit of a pastiche of a period dwelling in itself. Yet our addition is definitely very 21st century.”

“The use of DEAP in the design process allowed us to achieve the maximum amount of glazed area permitted under Part L of The Building Regulations. The penthouse is clad in a powder-coated pressed metal panel and triple glazing system.

Dublin is not a city where a penthouse culture exists. The first penthouses were built in the 1920’s and during the ‘property boom’ in Ireland developers referred to even the most mundane of top-floor apartments. Most of them lacked the key elements of ‘abundant glazing.’

The Clarinda penthouse has the elements that lack in other penthouse apartments in abundance from its built in sauna and a broad strip of dazzling limestone and black marble to its swish furniture and fittings.

The apartment’s 1,614 square foot is almost double that of the original space, and Mr O’Neill has installed the maximum amount of windows permissible under building regulations.

The main bedroom has all the trimmings someone would expect to find in the master suite of a power penthouse. The room is lined in comfortable carpet, it is encased in glass to enable the owner contemplate the views of nearby Sandycove and the sea from the comfort of their bed placed at the centre of the room. To the rear, the room has its own en-suite bathroom which has a built in wet room style with a super contemporary free standing bath as well as an adjacent sauna. These luxurious finishes, furniture and fittings were selected by Michael Ó Mara of MiD Interior Design Agency.

From the entrance hall to the large open-plan living/dining and kitchen area, the floors are white limestone with black marble insets and the adjoining study has beautiful oak parquet underfoot. The kitchen is similar to a streamlined and glossy lacquered affair, instead it is a bespoke hand-painted version with a chic Silestone island.

At the centre of the space is an impressive oak spiral staircase, off which the rooms are accessed and which goes through the centre of the whole space.

On the left to the entrance hall is a study with a small terrace that dominates the East Pier.


“We laid out the accomodation according to orientation,” explained John O’Neill. “The main living, dining and kitchen area faces west, but there is a south-facing terrace. It gets the afternoon sun and the evening light. The study has a northern view over the harbour. The entire apartment hinges around the curved staircase which itself has a clear view of Sandycove.”

The apartment has also been designed with built-in technologies meaning that its owner lives anything but conspicuously from an energy efficiency point of view. It has an A3 BER. An Ochsner Airthermal System was supplied by Eurotech and provides space, heating and constant hot water.

This system works by extracting heat from the atmosphere through an ECO split air evaporator table which is located on the roof and through a state of the art heat pump and Buffer Tank system heats the apartment with an ‘A’ rated low temperature and high comfort underfloor heating.

The intergrated system runs according to a weekly schedule for each room to match the owner’s lifestyle and his use of the space at any given time. The sensors also have the ability to learn about changes in room usage, lifestyle and weather as well as regulating the temperature in advance without human intervention.

There is also a heat recovery ventilation system throughout the lower and upper floors to provide air changes with the fresh air supply consisting of high efficiency (90%) central mechanical system.

Potentially the best room in the apartment isn’t inside! It is the large roof terrace at the very top of the building which is accessed from the upper hall by a second curved stairs. The terrace has stone paving in two tones laid as long stripes that appear to mimic planks. The railing is made of a series of vertically cantilevered steel elements.




John O’Neill & Assocs, Architects and Interior Designers LTD

1 Irishtown Road, Dublin 4

www.jona.ie or 01-6678100



MiD: Michael Ó Mara Interior Design

Century Court, 100 Upper Georges Street, Dún Laoighaire, County Dublin

www.m-id.ie or 087-6153968



Jones Property Services

Laragh, Maynooth, County Kildare



Clifton Scannell Emerson Associates, Castledawson Avenue, Blackrock, County Dublin

www.csea.ie or 01-2885006



Structural Glazing Specialists LTD, 30 North Main Street, Youghal, County Cork

www.sgskglassonline.com or 024- 90584



Eurotech Group, Rossulus Walk, Castleblayney, County Monaghan

www.eurotechgroup.ie or 042-9749479