Sara and Frank



The design was fed by the landscape. We lived in the old family farmhouse down the lane from the site for 4 years before we started building. We walked the site morning, noon and night, had picnics with the children, watched the cloud patterns on the mountain and saw ourselves living there long before we put pen to paper. We kept coming back to this field because of it’s seclusion from the road and it’s incredible views of Benwiskin mountain, the bog and woods. We wanted a light filled home with plenty of space for three young children. We both love contemporary architecture and feel it can blend well with the vernacular.


New build. 1 ½ storey contemporary house with a nod to tradition in it’s form and materials.


The zinc clad entrance “tower” mimics the rugged angular form of Benwiskin Mountain, it grounds the house and acts as a counter balance to the horizontal aspect of the house. The curved glazed south facing wall captures views across rural landscape.


Geo thermal heating system. Passive solar heat gain due to site orientation and design. Set up for future rainwater collection. Locally sourced labour and materials where possible. High level roof lights to enhance natural ventilation and passive summer cooling.


The house has been designed to capture the sun throughout the day. All bedrooms enjoy east light directly or indirectly. The main living areas benefit from east, south and west light as well as stunning views. The house has high ceilings to enhance the sense of lightness and space.
The house brings the landscape inside, an ever evolving wildlife documentary.  Large south facing curved floor to ceiling glazed windows open up the panoramic views. It allows for the shifting needs of the family, a large space for family gatherings yet cosy enough for sitting quietly with a good book.
Base in stone, a rugged natural material which  reduces the visual massing and ties the building to the landscape
Queen post oak pegged mortise and tendon timber trusses.


Sara Connolly and Frank Pastor



Concrete cavity wall construction, zinc clad walls and roofing, natural slate roofing, double glazed aluminium windows, Mountcharles stone cladding, timber trusses.


Geothermal heating. One wood fuel fireplace with integrated damper. Two chimneys ready for fuel efficient wood stoves (we plan to grow our own trees for fuel).


Group water scheme and considering rainwater collection.


PET - Packaged Effluent Treatment System


Mostly natural with large lawns surrounded by rushy meadows, native trees and wildflowers. The house is integrated into the landscape by bringing planted beds up to the house. Earth embankments reduce the visual bulk of the house. Native hedging of hawthorn, holly, willow has been kept and supplemented with alder, white thorn, beech, oak, ash. Small pond has been created which teems with wildlife -  frogs, dragonflies, beetles and the dog. It is also used as watering hole by the chickens and the occasional pheasant. An area has been set aside for raised vegetable beds and a herb bed near the kitchen.


As two architects we spent a ridiculous amount of time exploring all the design options this site inspired. This house has been a collaboration of both our experiences and we couldn’t be happier with the results. It is still a work in progress.

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