Matthew and Maureen Rodgers



They lived and worked in Dublin however, they both loved surfing so spent a lot of their time travelling in their camper van to the west coast of Ireland, Strandhill and Streadagh for the surf. Decided they would like to move out of Dublin and to try to buy somewhere nearer to the coast. They wanted to buy an old cottage or house that had potential. They found this house and moved, were happy with it for a numner of years before thinking about extending it.

They wanted a contemporary house. James, their neighbour was working on the ‘Hedgerow House’ and took them to see it in construction. They loved it and that convinced them that they really wanted Dominic  Stevens as their architect.
A builder neighbour suggested Dominic Stevens as an architect to them. They contacted him and he asked them to write him a letter explaining the type of house/extension they were looking for.  Maureen has an art history degree and so felt very capable of conveying the kind of spaces they were looking for. She drew on Derridian philosophy about the role of the architect, seeing the architect as artisan ‘creating a frame for people to live in’. ‘He, the artisan, would create the framework for us, the inhabitants, to be the artists within it’.

Dominic came up with a design they immediately liked.  The front of the house was not touched; the extension is built into the slope at the back of the house.


Old stone rubble house (one and a half storey) with an extension on the back.


Getting the design and planning approved took from Jan 2008 – Jan 2009 when the work started. They were able to live in the old part of the cottage for the most part but had to move out for a while towards the end of the build.
They moved in in July 2009 with some work still to be done.


  • Lots of insulation.
  • Pellet burner.
  • Passive solar gain means very little heating needed. They have in fact taken out some of the radiators as they are completely unnecessary.


Worked withDominic to create their home to match their personalities and lifestyles.They wanted to work with what they had - they had lived in the old house for three years and were quite happy in it. From the old inward looking part of the house they wanted a connection to a newer part that would be outward looking. A fluidity of space where rooms ran into each other but also that rooms could be inter-changeable. They wanted a contemporary extension somehow joined onto the old house and wanted the middle space to be an ambiguous space. 
The connection be-tween the old and new part they called the ‘In-between room’ and is a space full of light that is part shed, part living room, part conservatory and part play-space. There is a ‘nice sense of the old house’ which is used for bedrooms, office and TV rooms which then lads to the lighter more spacious modern day time rooms of the living room, kitchen and dining room.


Dominic Stevens


Found it hard to find a builders: Asked 3 builders and went with a company that their neighbour worked for :RNP construction. Not completely satisfied with their work.


Foundations Retaining walls into the slope of the land and concrete posts.
Walls  Timber frame, insulation breather membrane and Onduline exterior finish.
Roof   Onduline
Insulation 300mm rock wool throughout


Wood pellet burner for water and radiators. They need very little heat in the new part due to the very effective passive solar through the triple glazed windows.


Group water scheme.


Biodigester and reed bed.


Polytunnel and small vegetable garden.


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