Christ and Martha



We made the move from a flat and busy Netherlands to the hills of Sligo in 2003. The cottage we laid our eyes upon was part of a farm, uninhabited for some time. It had an attached shed and various outhouses providing plenty of options for our ideas but was in need of quite some work. It is situated on a generous site in a quiet area with stunning views around. Colourful throughout the four seasons. We saw this as a perfect spot to work on our ideas re. living and working. 


Self-Build Part stone build cottage with a timber frame extension at the back. Various outhouses: Art Studio (previously a cowshed), garage and workshop (under hay barn).


Main house had an extension of which roof and walls were in very poor state. This was rebuilt as a timber frame structure to Christ’s own design and principles, turning it into an airtight, bright and spacious area. Now an area with extra ordinary thermal performance and comfort that hardly requires any heating. The walls were built to accommodate for ‘left-over’ windows. 

Re-use of materials plays an important role in Martha’s Art and is inspiring to many.

Use of re-used materials throughout the project. Low-cost.

Timber is main heating source. Currently bought from local supplier but CO2 emission is somehow compensated by own 4-acre woodland. 


Lots-a-Light and solar gain are prevalent.
Timber burning for heat and timber growing for carbon offset and enhanced bio-diversity.

Low-cost, mortgage-free. All works are driven by re-use of salvaged materials and left-overs Awareness that high living standards leave a high environmental impact.

Mortgage free, Low-cost

Re-use of salvaged materials
(slates, tiles, hard wood doors windows, double glazing)
Natural building materials
(timber, hemp, sheep wool and celluloses)
Enhanced bio-diversity.
Timber stoves
Daily use and promotion of bicycles.


Some people call it: ‘Irish at the front, Continental at the back’. 
A number of artistic elements found in mosaic flooring, tiling, inspired by late Austrian architect Hundertwasser. Various art works and details in house and studio.



Self-build but we had great help from Roman of Clioma House.


Extension: ‘left-over’ high-spec double glazing and doors. Timber frame constructed with celluloses in voids between internal OSB-board (taped) and in external layer of wood fibre board, to address cold bridging. Left-overs of hemp and sheep’s wool in strategic places. Reclaimed kitchen and furniture.
Art Studio: 3”-cavity double leaf concrete block wall, pumped with beads. HDPS insulated floor and PUR-sheets in elevated roof. Reclaimed fibre-cement slates, hardwood (double glazed) windows and doors. Reclaimed kitchen parts and furniture.
Workshop: timber frame insulated with celluloses. Ceiling has a few small areas with hemp and glass fibre which were installed purely for comparison (thermal mass and insulation performance) with celluloses. Reclaimed French doors and windows (all double glazed and hardwood) 


Timber stove without back boiler in house. OFCH as emergency back-up and for bath. Showers and taps with electric heaters. Studio has a timber stove.

After re-building the extension the original stone-built external wall at the back became effective as extra thermal mass, delivering 24-hour comfort.
Although the volume of the house increased somewhat, the demand for heating reduced substantially at the same time.


Main’s water supply. Water barrel under flat roof for plants.


Storage of domestic waste bags in enclosed container and 3 to 4 times a year a run to Finnisklin Waste Disposal. Waste water disposal standard septic tank and percolation, in need of upgrade. Dry toilet in studio


There are various areas for leisure, vegetables, fruit and herbs. Enclosed composting areas, four-acre field gradually turning into woodland with young trees, ‘forest walk’ and pond for enhanced bio-diversity


A work in progress. Barn accommodates a test-rig which is built for development of new-to-come component for waste water distribution.

Living mortgage-free is a luxury in one way but may not be feasible for many families. Turning an old house into a comfortable family home, with little money available, takes many years and may even become a life-time ‘hobby’. The many small and bigger jobs are extremely time-consuming particularly while running a household with young kids at the same time. It requires the development of handyman-skills, which can be seen as a positive element. The rewards are though in the creation of something private and unique.

Promoters of cycling. Kids do 4-mile run to school on most days.

Members of ‘warm-showers’ project.

« Back to Property Listing

Would you like to ask the Home Owner a question?

You can send an email directly to the home owner by completing the form below: