After getting married and their travels, Myles and Jane Lamberth drove all around the West Coast of Ireland and South England looking for the perfect place to ‘set up shop’ and home and whilst many places came close including moving out to the French Alps, in the end Strandhill always had a certain draw for them due to the good mountains and the good surfing facilities. But there was a need for a better place for people to eat which lead to the Lamberths not only setting up home there but they also opened their very own café on the Strandhill sea front entitled ‘Shells.’
The house they started off with was more or less destroyed and featuring old ceilings and a lot of dampness. The foundations of the house were that of a century old run-down cottage but Myles and Jane were able to salvage some of the existing materials as well as gathering some new raw materials which they incorporated into the design of the house. This quickly turned the dwelling from a run-down cottage to a modern family home which they share with their one year old son whilst getting some help along the way from their builder Derek Shaw and their architect John Wiggins.
“We have a love for flea markets, junk shops and breathing new life into old things, so why not do that with an old house. We think character and design is more important than functionality! It was the thick stone walls as well as a mountain view that took our breath away despite it not having a sea view that attracted us to the house and it also helped that it was one of the cheapest houses in the village,” said Myles Lamberth.
“Boundary issues and a delayed start as we were waiting for our builder to finish another job meant it took us 18 months before we could move into the house. All builds of a house are frustrating at times but it is important to just hang in there and be faithful to your original ideas which is what we did.
“When we got stuck into the work ourselves, we loved it but when you stand and stare at the same half constructed house as well as forking out thousands of Euro’s for months it can get frustrating. In saying that, our builder Derek Shaw couldn’t have come more highly recommended as his work is to a very high standard and he never took shortcuts,” added Mr Lamberth.
It was when both Myles who is originally from Cape Town and Drumcondra native Jane were surfing in Cornwall during the summer a few years ago that love blossomed but it wasn’t plain sailing as their first official date was a disaster which was saved by a romantic sunset swim in the sea and according to the Lamberth’s the rest is History.
On almost every surface throughout the house a rough-hewn wood salvaged from all over the country has been turned into kitchen units, wall panelling and a dining table. The house is definitely that of surfers with the dwelling having a loft-like feel to it featuring high ceilings and an open-plan layout.
“We designed the house to have everything we love in it. The house is only two and a half miles away from the café but at the same time they feel like two different worlds,” explained Myles.
“When we planned out the design of the house, we were not thinking about children but the open plan space really works well for our baby as we can play, cook, eat and socialise all in the same space and it is also very easy for us to keep an eye on things and there isn’t a need for two-way baby monitors. I would highly recommend open plan houses if you have children. The polished concrete floors are a bit hard but we went out and bought a big fluffy rug to stop the little man from hurting himself,” added a laughing Mr Lamberth.
“We will never sell this house, it’s small but perfect for us. If we have more kids we might have to extend again or go into the roof but we love this house too much to leave. Some of my favourite things in the house and parts of the house would have to be the hot outdoor shower, under the stars or in the rain there’s something special about having a shower outside. For Jane it would be our 10ft table from Rocket Lane who use wooden gym flooring to make furniture. Jane loves to socialise around the dinner table and it is also a major feature to our open planned house.
“We used a lot of polished concrete, stone and old up-cycled wood that creates many characteristics to the home. We took an old floor and stuck it to a wall to add character, we poured concrete tabletops for our kitchen, our kitchen only cost us €500. We also used a rusty barn door that slides open to our bathroom and we also exposed a lot of stone and didn’t hide the beams as we love the beams so they would be some more of my favourite things in the house,” enthused Myles.
“I would highly recommend to vault your ceilings as you will be amazed as to how much of a sense of space it gives by doing this. Another thing I really like about the house it that we didn’t have a huge budget so we basically ‘tacked on’ a wooden shed as an extension to the back of the house which has given a modern look to the house and it was also a lot cheaper to build!”