Thursday, 10 January 2013

Existing Plan Layout

So the plans are in from the architects!

Existing plans:
Below is the plan of the existing layout of the property, including an overhead plan and a view of the side elevation.

Areas marked in yellow denote areas of the house that are to be removed and in the case of window/door openings, replaced with brick, replacement doors or windows accordingly.

Existing location map and site plan:
Below is a brief overview of the site property, including the garden and mews to the south.

Proposed layout plans and elevations:
So here are the proposed plans!
No major changes in terms of additional building work, but still substantial thought and planning are needed to implement these ideas.

Ground floor
Starting with the ground floor, the proposal is to demolish and remove the 1950s/1960s red brick extension to the return. It is of poor construction and adds no real space to the return. Once it is removed, a new period door can be installed on the south face which will give access to the garden.
Staying with the return, the existing door to the garden is to be removed and replaced with a custom built sash window to match the other two. Internally, a new stud wall will create a small toilet and shower space. Clever partitioning in the form of folding doors will hide utility space for washer/dryer etc.

Moving into the main house, the rear room will become the kitchen space, with the rear window to be replaced by a custom built period door leading into the garden. This window is currently not original, with both sashes lost, as well as the entire shutterbox and associated decoration. Replacing it with a door that matches all the windows in the house in terms of profile and decoration would be a great addition (details of door below). This alteration is subject to planning.

The other main change to the ground floor is the opening up of the arch between the front room and rear room. The proposal is to insert a custom steel, arch-shaped reinforcement above the archway, embedded in the wall. This will provide the necessary load bearing required, once the brick/stone content of the archway is removed. A double door is to be installed of suitable period, as detailed below. However this doorway is not finalised, is subject to planning and may be left completely open (ie no door installed).

First floor
The proposal for the first floor of the return is to change it from the existing bathroom into a study or bedroom. The wall in which the door sits may be moved slightly to accommodate the new toilet space just outside this door.
The other two rooms on this floor are to remain unaltered and from front to back are to be living room and bedroom/study repectively (again to be decided).

Second floor
The second floor is also to remain unchanged structurally, with only the installation of the master bathroom in the rear room. The front room is to become the master bedroom.

Rear elevation
Where required, the rear windows are to be replaced with matching timber sash windows, 100% faithful to the rest of the windows. Glazing bars are still to be decided upon depending on cost.

All guttering and downpipes are to be repaired or replaced where required.

The existing render on the rear of the house is to be removed and replaced with a lime based render. Examination and repair of the window head on the first floor window will be completed before this work.

If allowed, the ground floor window opening is to be widened to accommodate the new door into the garden, details of the door below.

Front elevation
Front windows are to be repaired to original state. This work also includes the reinstatement of the glazing bars which have been lost.
The external render is to remain as-is for now.

New door detail:
Below are details of the new doors to be constructed. The first door is the external door leading from the kitchen to the garden and the second is the set of internal double doors between the kitchen and front room.

The architrave profile and panelling detail on the new external door are to match that of the existing windows. Glazing bars are also to match the thickness and profile of these same windows.

Internal double doors are to be decided upon, but the detail is as per the picture.

Window detail
Below is the detail of the final window look once the glazing bars are to be reinstated.

The windows are absolutely only to be repaired with original materials where required and replaced only when the entire integrity of the window has been lost. The windows will feature 4mm glass, weather stripping within the frames and general refurbishment of associated weights and parts.

On the rear of the house, if allowed, any window to be replaced entirely (with an original looking timber sash window) will feature 10mm Slimlite double glazing, as well as the ground floor external kitchen door.

As things stand, these proposals have been forwarded to the Louth conservation officer for review. An exemption from planning has been granted for the immediate refurbishment of the windows, so work is to begin within the next 10 days (fingers crossed).

A planning application is to be made for the other alterations to the house, including the removal of the return extension and installation of new doors and windows, the removal of the internal archway, the minor alterations on the returns first floor etc. The planning process takes 8-12 weeks.

Progress on the windows will be forthcoming, as will the installation of the bathroom on the top floor, as well as insulating the attic.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Beginning

Hey everyone!
Welcome to my blog where I will be detailing the restoration of an 1820's three story Georgian house in Dundalk, Louth, Ireland.
The restoration will entail the complete refurbishment of all aspects of the property, including the original sash windows, the staircase and associated mouldings, skirtings, interior doors and architraves, interior and exterior plasterwork. An entire heating/plumbing/electrical install is also required, as the house currently has no central heating and an antiquated electrical system. Insulation is required, as well as structural repairs to outside walls, internal floors and ceilings and some minor building work to the return, located at the rear of the property. Installation of a new kitchen, bathrooms and shower rooms is also required and all of this work is intended to be carried out over the coming year, 2013.
Specialist trades, materials and craftsmen will be utilised over the project, and this blog will be of interest to anyone who has an interest in property development, period architecture, specialist trades or projects that run massively over budget. :)

Below you will find a brief(ish) first post on the current state of the property, which marks the first in a long line of updates that hopefully many will find interesting.


The house:

The house is located at 3 St. Mary's Road, one of the oldest streets in Dundalk (c. 1700s). The property was constructed c. 1820 and under the Planning and Development Act 2000, the property is listed on Louth's Record of Protected Structures, reference D330.
It has been highlighted to be of conspicuous historical, archaeological, artistic, scientific, social or technical interest, including all fixtures and fittings. Because of this, all work to be performed in restoring this property must be overseen by qualified conservation architects, in conjunction with the Louth Conservation Officer.

History of St. Mary's Road
The below map shows Dundalk in the year 1766. St. Mary's road was essentially unpopulated at the time.

X marks the terraced section, yet to be built.

Below is a later map of Dundalk in 1837, which shows the three-property terrace and an expanding Chapel street.

The house is a three storey over ground level building, part of a terrace development that extends for the greater part of the south side of St Mary’s Road. The front of the building fronts directly without any garden or area onto St Mary’s Road and faces St Mary’s church. The side boundaries are formed by number 2 and 4 St Mary’s Road while the rear boundary is to Yorke St.

The building plot is aligned north-south with the front facing north. There is a return of two stories behind the staircase and the site includes a stable/mews building to the end of the garden which has frontage onto Yorke St. No 3 is little altered since its original construction. The rear return was added about one hundred years ago and possibly replaced an earlier stone built return as can be seen on no. 4 St Mary’s Road.

Front door details:

The building is a mid-terrace house on three stories with a two storey return to rear, to the right the buildings are two stories in height resulting in a gable showing to the west end of the building. The walls to the main house are of limestone rubble, the return to rear is built of brick. Stock brick has been used for forming openings within and the chimney is brick built. The building is a typical layout with two reception rooms on ground floor and staircase to the rear.

The chimneys are 450mm wide suggesting that the flues are unlined.

Front Façade
The front exterior which was probably rendered in lime plaster when built is now coated in
a pebble dash finish applied in the last 40 years, the rear of the building is coated in sand
cement render that has deteriorated in parts.

The building is two –bays wide on the front. The windows are 1/1 vertically sliding sash
casements; the ground floor window and door are not aligned with the bays above.
The door is a new hardwood replacement door having six panels, it is flanked within the door
recess by circular timber pilasters, and there is a single panel fanlight over the frieze.

Front ground floor sash window:

Front first floor sash window:

Front second floor sash window:

The roof is slate clad, natural slates on the front face and fibre-cement on the rear face, the
chimney is red brick
The eaves are slightly projecting smooth render (probably on a brick projection) with a half-
round gutter

Rear Façade, Return and Rear of Property

The rear garden contains the return and a stable block (described below).

The rear façade is clad in sand-cement render (there are structural issues related to the
damaged render about window heads described later). The windows are 1/1 timber vertically
sliding sash windows as on the front façade.

The return is constructed of 215mm red brick. The windows to the return are also timber 1/1
vertically sliding sash casements. On ground floor there is a further extension to the return,
added some time during the 20th century, that is quite poorly built and the roof of which is
badly constructed, has low ceiling height and is poorly insulated.

Return extension roof:

Rear plasterwork:

Stable (Mews) Block
The stable block at the rear of the property is a simple rectangular structure that formerly
had an internal mezzanine floor (probably a hayloft) it has been used in more recent times
as a car service area. The roof is profiled sheet metal, the walls are bare limestone with
some red brick lining to the rear opening; a large timber sliding door in the rear façade
opens to Yorke St while a single leaf timber door opens to the garden through the rear


Interior of stable:

Pit in stable:

More stable interior:

House Interior

Plan Form and Layout

The interior plan form is the typical form with reception rooms on hall floor, front and rear,
entrance hall with stair hall to rear. This form is repeated at first and second floor level.

First floor reception room:

Ground floor hallway:

Ground floor front reception room:


Stairs leading from second floor to first floor:

Stairs as viewed from first floor reception room:

Hot press containing a cylinder linked to a back-boiler system, serviced by the ground floor rear room fireplace:

Entrance to the only bathroom, located in the first floor of the return:

View from the bathroom, across the stairs into the first floor reception room:

Interior Joinery
The shutters, casings and architraves to windows at ground, first and second floors are of
early 19th century pattern and have survived partially intact albeit in damaged condition. That
damage largely consists of damaged sections and replacement of some sashes with modern
forms. Some historic repairs on these items are visible.

The skirtings are almost all new moulded sections. Original skirtings have survived only in
the 1st floor front room as a 185mm section with ogee moulded top.

Doors and architraves have generally survived intact and in reasonable condition.

The open string stairwell joinery does survive albeit with serious decay to lowest 3 steps.
Handrail, capping, balusters and treads are consistent with early 19th century work.
Carriages are weak however, especially the lowest section, and the stairs is prone to
vibration and ‘springing’ suggesting some structural weakness which will need to be

The intermediate floors are excessively springy suggesting a combination of under designed
timber joists and possible decay at the floor wall junctions that should be addressed.

Interior Plasterwork
No decorative plasterwork survives although it is possible to see the scar of a former cornice
on the wall plaster in the 1st floor front room. The ceiling to the top floor is of lath and plaster
while the other ceilings to ground and first floor are of modern plasterboard construction

The original internal wall plaster which is unadorned and undecorated does survive albeit
with many areas of serious damage, in particular the flank wall of the stairs has been
affected by structural movement causing a serious vertical crack in that area

Extensive refurbishing of the top floor front and rear rooms with gypsum plaster:

Top floor bedroom floorboards in excellent condition:

The interior plaster to the return has been affected by the ingress of water through the
wall and the absence of any insulation also resulting in condensation both within and on
the surface of the walls in the return. The wall of the main house have suffered to a lesser
extent from the same problem especially on the rear facade which is more exposed to the
prevailing winds and has been clad in sand-cement render reducing the breathability of the

The view into the ground floor of the return from the hallway.

Ground floor of return, formerly kitchen:

Inside the extension to the return:

Inside the ground floor rear room:

A sample of the period wallpaper: