Manganstown the right room in the right place


Working for your parents is one thing (see “Ahenny”). But you can at least be uncompromisingly direct in your communications. Working for your (then) future parents-in-law requires a little more tact, and having your own wedding as the deadline for a finished job requires the ability to produce results under pressure!.. Anyway the house was ready and the wedding went ahead on schedule.

The job in question was a beautiful 1920’s farmhouse in Co. Tipperary. As is usual for all farms, everything revolved around the kitchen. The problem was that the kitchen was in an extension at one end of a house that was otherwise organised around a front hall. Access to the other rooms or to the farm wasn’t as direct as it could have been. The bathroom and the old back kitchen were in a 50’s mass concrete extension. The clients initially were undecided about whether to move the kitchen or change to house to refocus it on the kitchen they had (and really liked as it was west facing and monitored the entrance to the farm from the road). Different options were produced and discussed. The clients also had a concern about people having to come through the house to the kitchen on farm business (not all of them welcome!) which was avoided by the kitchen on one end with its own door from outside.

In the end though it was clear that to keep the existing kitchen would be the tail wagging the dog, and a new, properly built and brightly lit kitchen right in the centre of the house was the right solution. The memory of that old, uninsulated back kitchen was overcome (by blasting it into rubble) and a tall new room added to the back of the house, along with a new back porch (much closer to the farmyard) and a new shower-room.

The new kitchen takes advantage of views of Slievenamon to the north and plenty of light from the east and from the skylights in the tall ceiling space. A fully glazed porch seen through an archway makes the room seem to expand towards the outside. It also provides a space for a farm office (a must for every farm kitchen nowadays...)

The position of the new kitchen means that not only are they getting the value of the new space itself, but they are also getting more use from the other two main rooms at the front of the house, each side of the main hall, because they are now so much closer. And on top of that, the bedrooms are now more private as the route to the kitchen doesn't pass by them anymore.

The clients in this case took on a lot themselves - picking finishes and fittings and putting a huge amount of effort and thought into the whole process (which involved renovating parts of the existing house at the same time). As the photos show, the effort has really paid off.