Charlie Easterfield



 An artist, sculptor, wood carver.  Moved to Leitrim in 1995 from Cork, because of the Sculpture Centre. From 1979 knew she wanted to build her own house and bought her first 'how to build your home' book!

Initially wanted to convert a cottage with barns etc. for studios. Couldn’t find anywhere so looked into the idea of building from scratch. Found and bought the land in 1999. Bought the land with a friend and divided it, as a way of having a neighbour nearby. Started building soon after.
Always liked timber buildings. Spent a year learning about different building systems as she wanted to work on the build herself. Had heard of Colin Bell and knew he had a timber house. Asked him to look at her design. She had already planned her house; Colin tweaked it so that it would work.
The house is designed for her as an artist and how she lives her life. Open plan studio/living space. 

Positioned to get the sun all day long. Storage areas for tools etc. Decking overlooking the garden, she is a keen gardener.


Timber frame house on poles.


Planned, designed and site managed the entier build. A huge acheivement for a single woman.

A big learning curve yet one that she was very capable of handling. Undertook a lot of the work herself which led to low labour costs.  Proud of the fact that the labour costs of the build came in less than material costs.

Problems in sinking the piles as the land was so wet, found it hard to find secure footings.

Recommends the book ‘A pattern language’ which really helped her in her design.  Kept cuttings from magazines to inspire her and to have visuals of what she wanted.


Has lived in a sustainable way for many years. It was as important as she could afford to make her home low impact and sustaianble.

  • On piers so leaves a small footprint. 
  • Local timber
  • High insulation, doesn’t need heating on from March to October.


As an artist, the house is filled with visual stimuli and art works.


Self with Colin Bell


Burkhart Herrmann



Foundations  Concrete pillars
Walls  Timber
Roof  Iko tiles


  • Solar gain
  • Wood stove
  • Oil boiler - plans to get rid of this


  • Well
  • Rain water harvesting.


Septic tank


A real plants woman the garden is creative and fun. A large pond, poly-tunnel, trees etc…. Worth a tour in itself.



Time scale: 14 months.

If she was younger would like to do it again with the benefit of hindsight.
Satisfaction rating:  Very high.  Though realise it’s just her home...nevertheless it is her dream of 21 years realised

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