Playing with the past

North Circular Road, Limerick

'We’ve had the opportunity to work with Studiomove Architects on a couple of
projects. Their approach is the same as our own – attention to detail without
sacrificing efficiency and speed. Their designs are simply stunning, blending the perfect combination of natural and contemporary elements. We would definitely recommend Studiomove. They’re professional, creative and put their client’s
interests as their main priority.'
Lymar Contracts Ltd., builder

Our Challenge

Major overhaul

A 1910 house, which may have been designed by the architect William Clifford Smyth, who did many buildings in and around Limerick, was bought by the clients for its potential, and large, mature elevated site within walking distance of the city centre. Changes over time had undermined the original character: a conservatory hiding the front entrance, replacement PVC windows. Fireplaces in rooms over three floors took a squad of servants to maintain; the house now had to be comfortable and easy to maintain for a couple with young children.

The Opportunity

‘God is in the details’ Mies van der Rohe

After 100 years, even the original details that survived needed an upgrade. The beauty of the house was still apparent, but a serious injection of time, skill and money was required to restore it. And it’s the detailing that makes this type of house so appealing. The screen to the stairs dividing front and back hall, the paneling there and on the underside of the stairs, on the doors with their stained glass inserts.
In the past, winter meant huddling around a fire, or moving to keep warm. Insulation, modern heating systems and discreet solar panels allow the whole house to be enjoyed, always. But these had to be installed while respecting the appearance both inside and out.

Consistency of Colour

Interior as punchy as the exterior

The jewel-like colours in stained glass details carried into strong room colours. All the joinery was repaired or replaced like for like. New extensions continued the skirtings, architrave, cornicing and joinery used in the main house.

A Treasure Revealed

And preserved for generations

“The single glazed stained glass window to the main stairs was removed from the original frames and cleaned” - easy to write in a sentence, but nerve wracking when taking a window of this size apart. Each glass panel was carefully sandwiched within a double glazed unit, which was then fitted into the new timber window. A huge sigh of relief went up on site when it was installed. And real pleasure at the end of the project seeing it unveiled!

Original brick pit

A happy discovery

We scoured brick companies to get ones that matched the original in both colour and size. Imperial bricks are slightly larger than modern metric ones, and these were a deep but soft red. Nothing looked right. And then a brick with a name on it turned up in the foundation of a newer extension being removed; Ruabon. The pit in Wales is still in production, and made all the new bricks we needed. The terracotta panels to the new two storey bay window were made by specialists, with time spent on colour matching samples with the brick.

The Result

A romantic family home

Like many houses of the same age, it had great living rooms and bedrooms, but poor functional rooms such as kitchen, laundry etc. The new, playful extensions mean that those everyday rooms are bright and pleasant to be in. Careful selection of materials, and reuse of certain elements such as the oriel window above took time, but the efforts more than paid off. The clients took the curved pattern of the top floor windows from Clifford Smyth’s Shannon Rowing Club, a nice tribute to his first building in Limerick - the finished project is due in no small part to their attention to detail, enthusiasm and engagement throughout.

Let’s Get Started

Let's talk

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