When clients had their home damaged by fire, the opportunity presented itself to design a new modern lake house. Set in rural Ireland, and classified as a nature resort, the plot is surrounded by Lough Derg on the eastern side and local country lanes on the western side. The views across the lake are magnificent, so the proposal had to exploit this aspect to the maximum. The research on traditional countryside houses revealed the Irish vernacular architecture is honest with simple proportions and little or no decorative detailing. Usually, houses were single storey, one room deep with gabled roof end details. Playing with proportions of the traditional Irish cottage became the starting point of our design. In order to comply with space requirements, to maximise the view on eastern side, and to address different functional parts of the house, three basic shapes were put together and centred around the main entrance hall. The northern wing with the best views accommodated the lounge, dining, kitchen and entertainment areas, the southern wing, four bedrooms and bathrooms and the eastern wing became the service part of the house with utility areas and garages. The house was designed to have the ‘solid aspect to the road’ and to be totally transparent to the lake. The northern and southern wing are gently curved to be less intrusive and more sympathetic to the coast line. A rustic spinal stone wall runs uninterrupted from the front garden through the entrance hall and out to the rear garden. The same stone cladding was proposed to both gabled walls. To complement local sandstone, cedar cladding was proposed to the side entrances set in these walls. The solid walls to the road are rendered and painted white, while elevation to the lake is formed by full height glazed panels. From the inside, screens offer uninterrupted views to the outside, from the outside they act as big mirrors and reflect water, trees and grass.


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