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Light up your life!

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5 ways to add natural light to your home

Nobody wants to live in gloomy and dingy surroundings of course. However, perhaps surprisingly, a survey by a UK windows, doors and blinds manufacturer last year showed that the top feature people aged between 25 and 44 look for in a home is lots of natural light.

Not a state-of-the-art kitchen, not a luxurious bathroom – just simple, natural daylight.

With that in mind, here are some ideas to create more light in your home. Some are really quick and simple, some require a bit more planning, but they’re all designed to create a lighter, airier feel to your living space.

1. Uncover your windows
How easy is that?

If you have heavy, dark curtains which absorb and block a lot of light even when they’re open, try changing to paler-coloured fabrics or blinds.

Blinds can be infinitely adjusted to allow in as much or as little light as you like. It’s even possible to get powered versions which can be controlled by the press of a keypad button.

There are the old faithful Venetian blinds, but they can be too dense and are also awkward to clean.

Vertical blinds are a good, more up-to-date choice and can come in lacy patterns which allow light through. They can be easily dismantled and gently washed if necessary.

Compact roller blinds or softer-looking Roman blinds are another option.

If you don’t like blinds by themselves or if you maybe live on a busy road and have privacy concerns, very light and floaty plain white voile curtains could be your answer. They will retain your privacy without the heaviness of some of the net curtains that are around but will let in the maximum amount of light. Combine them with a simple roller blind for night times when you have the room lights on.

Indoor shutters could also be a good choice if you like the minimal look. Their clean and regular lines add a touch of continental simplicity to the room and the louvres can be adjusted to admit the amount of light you need. Shorter café-style shutters give you the best of both worlds – maximum light coupled with necessary privacy.

Yet another option for making the most of your window light is to use frosted film on the glass. It’s easy to apply, is available in many decorative designs and can be used all over the window or just on the bottom half, for instance. It retains privacy while letting in maximum light.

2. Reflect!
A really simple and easy way to make the most of the light in your room is to hang lots of mirrors. Put a large one right opposite the window and watch the daylight double.

Lots of little, beautifully-framed mirrors in dark corners will multiply the light wonderfully, while looking really decorative too. An added bonus of multiple mirrors is that they also make your room look bigger.
In really dark, narrower spaces like hallways, put two same-sized mirrors opposite each other and let the light bounce between them. Putting a mirror at the end of a short and dark space will make it feel longer and lighter.

3. Roll on!

If you have patterned wallpaper or dark painted walls, roll on a lighter colour paint.

Go for an eggshell or even a matt finish – they will both reflect light softly and evenly without glare. The paler colours won’t absorb light but will help to throw it back into the room. This works especially well in small dark spaces and can make them seem bigger than they are too.

You don’t have to stop at painting the walls either. If you like the look, try painting the floorboards white and adding a bright rug.

Alternatively, go for light-coloured carpet or pale wood laminate flooring to bounce the daylight around. The room will look much larger and brighter.

4. When is a door not a door?
When it’s a window too!

Changing a solid door for a glass one, or even just swapping a panel within an existing interior or exterior door, is a great way to let light flow through your spaces. For privacy where needed, use frosted or patterned glass, or apply the same frosted film mentioned above. It’s a much cheaper alternative and is easy to change if you want a new look.

5. A new view
If the quick fixes don’t give you the extra light you need, then this is the time to think about actually adding some brand-new daylight access.

Putting in a new window, patio doors, dormer or skylight needs careful planning and you’ll want to take advice from an expert. Call on your local, friendly architectural advisor – be it an architect or architectural technician, to get some help in choosing the best and safest place for your new window.

They can assess the structure of your walls or roof and advise on where will work best, what measures are going to be needed to maintain structural integrity and what style or design would look good there. For fundamental changes to the front of your property, you may need planning permission and your architectural advisor can help you with that too.

Maybe consider some more unusual ideas, like putting smaller windows near the ceiling rather than larger ones taking up lots of wall space.

This can give you the light you need without taking up the whole wall area. It’s a good idea for small areas where you want to have maximum storage or space for furniture against the wall.

A light-coloured ceiling will reflect the light downwards where you want it. This house extension image includes a ceiling window too, for maximum impact.

More help?
These are just a few ideas to make the most of the natural light in your home. There are more things you can do with clever artificial light to help boost that airy feeling and we’ll explore those in another post.

However, if you think that adding new windows might be the way to go and you’re looking for architects in Dublin, give us a call to get advice and help with your project.

Based in Rathfarnham, at Architectural Drawings and Building Services we are happy to assist and partner you through the whole process of adding new windows to your home to really let the sunlight into your life.

Thinking of getting new windows for your home?

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When designing and building homes a lot of people tend to focus on how the inside of the home will look first and the outside can be a bit further down the list. Windows can be one of the most important aspects of your build. Windows are in every room, can be seen from inside and outside, and can really change the look of a building or a room. When choosing windows for your home there are numerous different types and styles to think about. Do you want wooden, PVC or aluminium windows? Do you want big, small or something in the middle? One pane of glass or maybe even two or three? You can even choose windows with glass that is self cleaning. There really are a lot of types of windows to choose from. Your Architect will be the best person to help you choose which type of windows will suit your home.

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The first thing your Architect may have you think about is the size and style of the windows you want in your Home. Some of the most popular styles of windows in Ireland are:

Bay and Bow Windows
Bay windows usually consist of three panels that are not fitted into the wall like normal windows. They are square shaped and protrude out from the wall. They are very pretty to look at from inside and outside and can be a really beautiful addition to the front of any home. Bow windows are made with three or more panels and are usually curved but are equally as nice as bay windows. Bay and bow are a great choice for rooms that may be a bit darker because they allow light to come in from different directions.

Sash Windows
Sash windows are made of two sash frames that slide up and down past each other balanced by weights in the frames. They were popular for hundreds of years before staring to be replaced by more modern types of windows but have recently become very popular again. Because both windows can be opened at either the top or bottom they can allow for better ventilation in a room without a draught. New materials allow an old style of windows to be very energy efficient in your home.

Casement Windows
Casement windows are windows that are attached to a frame by hinges. They can be hinged at the top, bottom or sides and are opened and closed with a handle. Casement windows are great for ventilation and can be opened inwards or outwards.

When you have decided on the style of window that suits you home, you will need to decide what material your windows will be made from. Again you Architect will be able to guide you in choosing the right material for you. The main material used for windows in Ireland are:

PVC windows can be the best for your home due to being very energy efficient and have a lower cost than wood or aluminium. They are easy to care for and need very little maintenance. They have a very long life, are more durable than wood or aluminium and are also recyclable.

Timber windows can be a more traditional choice but may be more expensive than PVC and but are probably the most versatile. Timber windows will require more maintenance but when looked after properly can last for hundreds of years.

Alu-clad will be more expensive than PVC or timber and may be harder to source as there are fewer suppliers in Ireland. Aluminium can be very elegant, is modern looking and available in a wide range of colours.

Once you have chosen the style and material you need to decide if you want single, double or triple glazing. Triple glazing is becoming more popular in Ireland due to its energy efficiency so speak to your Architect to decide which is best for you.

Your dream kitchen can be a reality

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The kitchen is nearly always considered the heart of the any home. It is where families meet to eat, laugh and can be one of the most used rooms in any house. Having the right kitchen for your house can mean a number of different things. It can mean having a lot of storage space, bigger cooking facilities or having room for family and friends to sit together in the same room. Modern kitchens are designed to take all these things into account.

In a lot of busy homes, kitchens are where every one meets in the evening or at the end of the day to share a meal and talk about their day. So your kitchens design needs to be able to allow you to do this. When you meet with your Architect they will help you decide what are the most important features you need in your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you want, but always be realistic about the space that you have, your budget and what are the essentials. The one thing your Architect doesn’t want to do is let you down, so try to choose functionality over form. Sometimes the best way to achieve your dream kitchen may be building a kitchen extension.

extension design services

Expanding your kitchen can add value to your home and give you that much needed extra space. Kitchens that are done in open plan style can make it seem like a new home. But there are a lot of decisions to be made before that. What type of Kitchens are available for your budget? What materials do you want? Would you like an island? Do you want open plan kitchen, living and dining? The possibilities are nearly endless, so consulting with your Architect will bring your dream kitchen one step closer.

When it comes to renovating kitchens there are a number of things you will need to think about:

    • Types and styles of kitchens
    • Materials to be used
    • Flooring options
    • Extensions or renovations of existing kitchens
    • Appliances
    • Open plan or enclosed
    • Layout

Changing kitchens can be one of the biggest financial decisions you can make but also one of the most rewarding. Your Architect can help you every step of the way, from design to completion and it is reassuring to know that you are getting the best advice possible from a professional who knows a lot about kitchens. There is no rush when deciding to do major building work on your home, so take your time and make sure you are getting what your home and family needs when it comes to choosing your new kitchen. Your Architect is there for you to achieve the kitchen of your dreams.

How to choose the right flooring for your home

Architectural Technician wood vs concrete design

When it comes to choosing the right flooring for your home your Architect will be able to help you decide what types will suit your needs. Whether it be for a home with a growing family that needs a hard-wearing floor or comfortable carpets, there are so many different types of flooring to choose from. The first thing you need to do is decide which rooms in your home are the most used and may need a more resilient type of flooring and which rooms you would want more comfort in your flooring. Hallways and kitchens will need a more sturdy types of flooring than bedrooms and living rooms.

Types of Flooring

With so many different types, styles and sizes of tile flooring available, choosing the right one can be a bit daunting if you don’t know what you want. This is where your Architect can advise you on the type and style of tile flooring that will match your home perfectly. They will help you decide if you want Ceramic, Slate, Stone or Marble tile flooring, big or small size tiles and everything in between. Letting your Architect help you decide will make sure you find the right tile flooring for you.

Hard Wood
There are two types of hard wood flooring for you to choose from, Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood. Neither one is better than the other, both have their pros and cons. Solid hardwood is flooring made from one piece of wood and is about 2cm thick. Solid hardwood expands and shrinks based on the humidity in your home so if your home is prone to damp solid hardwood may not be for you. Engineered hardwood is layers of wood bonded together with adhesive. They way Engineered hardwood is made means that it does not react to humidity so is chosen by more people. Oak, Cherry and Maple are the best to choose for their strength. But wood like Mahogany will look stunning in any room. Talk to your Architect about which will be best for you.

Laminate flooring is suitable for those who may not have a lot of money to invest in their floors. It is very hard wearing and durable and comes in many colours and styles. ~It can create a beautiful finish for a lot less than hardwood flooring would cost and is a very popular choice for many homes. But like solid hardwood flooring it does not react well to humidity. It can be great for hallways and living rooms but will not work so well in kitchens or bathrooms where there can be a lot of moisture. Your Architect will be able to assist you in deciding which rooms in your home are suitable for laminate flooring.

Vinyl flooring is a popular choice for busy rooms in your home, particularly the kitchen and bathroom. Vinyl flooring is water resistant and durable at a lower cost than wooden floors. Vinyl flooring is laid in either sheets, which is more water proof and easier to install, or tiles, which can have the look of a ceramic floor without the price.

When it come to having a comfortable flooring surface nothing beats a nice plush carpet. It is easier to match a colour scheme with carpet and can really give a luxurious feel to your living rooms and bedrooms. With so may different styles, colours and pile thickness carpet can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. It is definitely one of the most versatile types of flooring for your home. Obviously carpet is not suitable for kitchens and bathrooms but mixes really well with all the other types of flooring available to you.

Before you choose any type of flooring for your home, always consult with your Architect. They are one of the best people to talk to when it comes to choosing the best type of flooring for your home.

Everything you need to know about Bathroom Renovations

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famous architectsOf all the rooms in our homes, the bathroom is one of the most used but the least thought about spaces when doing decorating or renovation. Bathroom Renovations can add much needed facilities to your home or work environment. As a family grows the need for Bathroom Renovations can change the dynamics of your home. Whether it is adding a second or even third bathroom or renovating your existing bathroom your Architectural Technician can help you every step of the way from planning to building. It is really important to carefully plan all the aspects of your bathroom’s renovation, including a list of your likes and dislikes, what are your family needs or requirements and what you like about your existing bathroom and may want to keep. Bathroom Renovations are also a great way to add extra value to your house.

There are many different types of Bathroom Renovations available to home owners in Dublin. You can change your existing bathroom to a bigger and more family friendly room or you can add extra bathroom space downstairs in your property with an extension. Bathroom Renovations can also give independence to those with mobility issues by being designed to meet their specific needs.

What type of Bathroom Renovations do you need?

Existing bathroom
Renovating your existing bathroom can be a cost effective way of doing Bathroom Renovations on a smaller budget. This can be through simply removing a bath that is not really used and installing a large shower enclosure or just updating your and rearranging your bathroom to better utilise the space The are a multitude of ranges and types of shower enclosures and bathroom products to suit every need. Your existing bathroom can also be fitted with accessible showers, baths and safety bars for those with mobility and special needs.

Bathroom Extensions
If you have the space, a bathroom extension is a fabulous way of doing Bathroom Renovations in your home. If you already have a ground floor extension on your home it may be possible to extend your upstairs bathroom or even add an en-suite to a bedroom. Of if you are planning on building an extension on your home adding a downstairs bathroom during the build will add value to your property and extra facilities for your family.

There is nothing quite like taking an invigorating shower or relaxing in a hot bath after a hard days work in a bathroom that is designed to your specific need and gives a feeling of peace and tranquillity. This is why Bathroom Renovations might be exactly what you need to allow you to enjoy your home on more levels than you imagined.

Your Architectural Technician will guide you through every part of your Bathroom Renovations and carefully plan where you want everything because, unlike furniture, your bathroom items cannot be moved once they are in without additional cost. This is why your Architectural Technician will be an invaluable resource when considering Bathroom Renovations and once all the planning, design and building is done all you will have to do is relax and enjoy your new space.

House Extensions in Dublin

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There are many different types of House Extensions in Dublin available to home owners. Whether you are looking for a bigger kitchen or simply more living space for your family, an extension is a versatile way of gaining more space. Before you decide on design and construction aspects plan what your budget will be and allow a contingency for any unexpected issues that may occur. Meet with your Architectural Technician to decide on what type and size of extension you can get for your budget. Your Architectural Technician will then draw up plans to maximise the use of the space of your extension to properly suit your needs.

It is said that on average 8 in 10 people in Ireland would consider extending their home in some way. When most people consider House Extensions in Dublin they generally choose kitchen or living room extensions to the rear of their properties. Well designed House Extensions can transform any home by maximizing the floor-plan and adding value.

For most people the need for House Extensions can be for any variety of reasons:

  • A smaller home bought for a good price that needs extending and renovation.
  • To give much needed living space for a growing family; a bigger kitchen, extra bedroom or a bigger bathroom.
  • To modernise and increase the value of an older home.

Adding House Extensions to your home may be one of the best decisions you and your family will ever make but it can also be a stressful time. This is when having a good Architectural Technician will be of benefit to you. They will take the stress and strain out of planning House Extensions and can oversee the project from start to finish.

small house extension design

Popular types of House Extensions in Dublin

The most used room in any house is the usually always the kitchen. It is often described as the heart of the any home and most of us dream of having a bigger and more functional kitchen. Whether this be an open plan kitchen and living area or simply more space and storage in your existing kitchen, House extensions are the way to achieve this. It can be a large scale extension or a small add on but it will give you family exactly what it needs. You can also go all out with House Extensions and really give your home that Wow factor.

As our family grow and mature the need for an extra bedroom come up quite often. House Extensions are a great way of solving this problem. Whether it be for a growing teenager or an older relative, bedroom House Extensions are designed to meet the specific needs of your family. They can be designed with or without bathrooms and are perfect for those with mobility issues. If you need to have a parent or grandparent living with you
House Extensions can allow you to have your loved ones close to you but still allow them to have their own privacy and independence.

Attic Conversions
This is another option for growing families that may not have the outside space for ground floor House Extensions in Dublin. An attic conversion can be used as an extra bedroom, living room, a play room or office space for those that work from home. It may seem that your attic is not big enough for House Extensions but speaking to your Architectural Technician can show the amazing things that can be done with a smaller space.

To find out the best type of House Extensions in Dublin to suit your specific needs, talk you your Architectural Technician today. You will be pleasantly surprised by what is available you, as there are so many different types of House Extensions in Dublin to suit every budget.

House Extension Design Ideas For Modern Homes

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A nicely planned house extension can improve the visual and functional quality of any modern home by leaps and bounds. People are always looking for ways to add and alter their existing homes to accommodate more space, more utilities and facilities. Here are 4 of the most common reasons homeowners opt for a house extension:

  • They want to alter an existing property bought at a good price.
  • Needing more space accommodation for a growing family resulting in a bed room, dining room or even a kitchen extension.
  • Wanting to make an existing house more energy efficient.
  • Wanting to modernize the house’s aesthetic to add to its resale value.

Moreover, a good extension can completely transform not only the spatial quality of your home, it can also improve your lifestyle. From car porch additions to entire attic overlays, there are a number of ways you can design extensions for your house. There are millions of ways you can alter, improve and upgrade your homes functional and aesthetic integrity. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some house extension ideas for modern homes.

5 House extension design ideas for your homes

1. Conservatory Extension
A conservatory – also known as a sunroom or a solarium – is an individual space that is either integrated or attached to a primary building. It is one of the most common house extension design ideas and are mostly used to add a multipurpose space inside a home. It usually consists of an entire wall made of glass and is awesome for regions that see harsh winters. A conservatory is usually designed in an orientation that emulates the most sunlight. It can be used as a living room extension, a family room, an office space or even an indoor veranda.

If you want a conservatory that is four seasonal – i.e. can be used all year round – then you can install climate control HVAC and energy efficient glass. This is definitely a versatile extension idea and will surely add to the pragmatic as well as visual value of your home.

new house extensions

2. Attic Extension
Attic extensions usually entail adding another story to your house. Depending on the climatic condition and the vernacular building style of your region, it can either be a gabled or flat-roof addition. Attic extensions are used to add a more extensive floor area ratio to the home and need extensive structural analysis before they can be even started. This kind of a house extension design is very common these days, and is mostly seen in existing properties that have been bought at a good price but need to be spruced up.

architect planning permission stillorgan

3. Patio Extension
A patio extension is usually used to add to the aesthetics of a modern house design. Depending on your budget and tastes, you can either opt for a pavilion, a veranda or even a pergola-ed patio. You can even go for a roofless glass-walled style enclosure if you’re looking for something unique and avant-garde. The basic idea is to improve the quality of the outdoor space so this kind of a house extension design usually requires some landscaping to complement the new construction as well.

edwardian house extension

4. Kitchen Extension
The kitchen is supposed to be the most ergonomic space inside a home. It not only acts as a central location – the hub – of your home, but it also accommodates a number of family gatherings and ventures. Therefore, when it comes to planning a house extension design for your kitchen, you must always be extra careful.

You must carefully plan the functional aspects of the space without compromising the visuals. Need more counter space? Make sure the aisle in front is a requisite 4 feet minimum. Want a kitchen island? Do not compromise on the economy of the space. Want an adjoining outdoor barbeque area? Make sure you create firm but transparent indoor-outdoor barriers between the two spaces.

terrace house extension design

5. Terrace/Balcony Extension
In order to fully utilize the potential views from your property, it is imperative that you invest in either a nice terrace or a balcony. This type of a house extension design calls for some extensive appraisals. Firstly, you have to figure out what parts of your home have the potential to provide the best views outside. If it’s from a public area of your home like the living room, then you can opt for a large terrace to maximize and utilize those views. However, if it’s from a private space like a bedroom then you better opt for a cozy, glassed-up balcony.

architect planning permission killiney

Extending your home can be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made and these are some of the most popular and in-demand house extension designs that people invest in.

Considering building a house extension? Read this first.

affordable house extensions rathfarnham

The motivations to make enlargements and improvements in a house can be for a wide range of reasons. It can be a property that was acquired for a reasonable price but needs renovation and expansion. Or maybe the family has grown and demands more house space.

Maybe one or two extra rooms, or a bigger kitchen or living room.
Perhaps the motivation is to revalue the house or modernize it, replacing simple materials with more complex ones.

If you want to increase your homes space and create a better living environment while adding value to your property a house extension is the way to go.

However, you have to remember that house extensions and several other changes to a property may require specific authorizations like a certificate of compliance and planning permissions.

I’m thinking of extending, do I need planning permission?

Maybe not, let us explain how things work regarding planning permissions in Ireland.

For small extensions at the rear of your house that are less than 40 square meters in floor area and are not higher than the original house, you don´t need planning permission. Bear in mind that the 40 square meter threshold includes the combined extension space for all extensions to the original house’s footprint.

For extensions on the front or side of your house or for large house extensions at the rear of the house where the extension is more than 40 square meters, you will need planning permission.

If I do need planning, how long will it take?

From the time you apply, typically about 8-10 weeks.

What are certificates of compliance?

If your house extension involves any structural changes, you must get a certificate of compliance.

This certificate must be obtained before the actual building work starts as it involves several site inspections and can be provided by a surveyor, architect or another suitably qualified person with the correct indemnity insurance.

And remember that to get a mortgage for the extension work or to sell your property a certificate of compliance is mandatory.

And finally some last considerations about building a house extension.

Take your time, think carefully about your space needs and hire the services of a professional company. We at ADBS are here to help and not only can we manage the whole planning application process on your behalf but can also produce a carefully designed extension.