When Clíodhna Barlow first bought her semi-detached house in Clontarf, Dublin in August 2014, it was in need of a ‘total modernisation’.
It was built in the 1930’s, an attic was added, but the rest of the house needed a complete restoration and upgrade.
She was also keen to extend the side and rear of the property to make the most of the south facing garden.
Clíodhna, the founder of Cubed Marketing, said she has a clear vision of what she wants to achieve in the home she shares with husband Conor and their three boys Jack, 12, eight-year-old Louis and four-year-old Bobby.
High on her wish list during construction in 2015 was improving the energy efficiency of the house, which included continuous internal insulation with cavity wall insulation on the front.
“I grew up in an old bungalow that could get cold and damp very quickly, the kind of house where you wear your coat inside — so I knew the benefits of a warm house,” she said.
“We probably put most of our budget into things that people didn’t see to make the house cozy and warm. We are now seeing the benefits of all of this.”
In the attic they have installed a combi boiler which both runs the central heating and heats the water on demand which is a huge energy saving.
Structurally, the renovation included the demolition of the side annex garage and replacing it with a two-story annex with Velux skylights and a single-story rear for the kitchen. They have fitted high quality Aluclad sliding doors to the rear of the house and new double glazed windows throughout.
“We also upgraded and updated the rest of the old house, paying a lot of attention to the insulation. We poured concrete in the floors of the old house to match the quality of the new build. The original walls are still in the house and we have only improved what was there.
“The plan was to have a large living area with lots of light at the back.”
The couple, who did not take advantage of a grant, managed to double the size of the house from 105 m² to 214 m², while raising it to an enviable A energy rating.
Clíodhna, a keen DIY enthusiast who designed and executed many of the interiors herself, said the result is remarkable when it comes to energy efficiency.
She said it takes about 10 minutes to heat the whole house, even in winter, and the electricity bill is usually around 300 euros for two months.
“It’s so effective that our boiler is typically only turned on four or five months a year. The house is so cozy that we wouldn’t know it was a bitterly cold day outside until you stepped outside,” she said.
As a marketing strategist, she worked closely with her builder, Darrin Fagan, and her architect, Colm Burke, which helped keep the communication “really strong”. “Anytime there were any issues or challenges, we fixed them very quickly for the finished product, which helped a lot,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/retrofitting-the-house-is-so-warm-now-that-we-wouldnt-know-it-was-a-cold-day-outside-41525063.html Retrofit: The house is now so warm that we wouldn’t realize it’s a cold day outside