Donegal Thatched Cottage
Refurbishment & Extension
Planning Approved
Set among the wild grasses and granite outcrops of the Wild Atlantic Way, this traditional thatched cottage is a much-loved bolthole retreat on the west coast of Ireland.

Exposed to harsh coastal conditions, the cottage was in need of some maintenance and repair when the clients took the opportunity to expand the brief and address some of the shortcomings of the compact family home.

The ground floor living space was the multi-purpose hub of the cottage, used for dining, socialising, relaxing and as the main circulation route through the house. It had come to feel quite congested and cluttered, and with only two small windows it offered little natural lighting or opportunity to sit and appreciate the stunning surroundings. With a growing family, additional storage and an additional shower room were also much needed.

The principal elevation was left untouched, while a new large-format window was introduced to the rear, complete with a folding external storm shutter. A bespoke oak bookshelf frames the new opening and creates an intimate window seat, a space in which to curl up and enjoy the costal views. The piece also doubles as a bench for the dining table, freeing up a social space around the fire which features a new local granite hearth and surround.

The ground floor kitchen and bathroom were reconfigured while a small shower room was added on the first floor serving the bunk room. The refurbishment employs a restrained material palette and muted colour scheme, allowing the natural surroundings to take centre stage. Natural clay plasters require no paint finish and help to regulate moisture and humidity in the cottage during the low season. Durable stone and timber floors are easy to maintain, accepting the heavy demands of a costal holiday home, whilst developing a beautiful, tactile patina of use.

Externally, a lean-to extension accommodates a new boiler house, log store and the much needed storage space for outdoor activity gear. The whitewashed walls and red corrugated sheet roofing reference the local vernacular and allow the small extension to blend seamlessly into its environment.
Structural Engineer: HA_EY Ltd
Read more
© 2023 Niall McAleenan Architects.
© 2023 Niall McAleenan Architects.