Featured Architect Project Killyleagh.

Killyleagh Self Build
Replacement Two Storey Dwelling
Constructed 2013-2014
Area 250sqm / 2690sqft
Energy Rating 83B
Contractor Roskyle
Structural Engineer: McAuley Browne

The site was spectacular, everything imagined that could be put on “dream site wish list” was here, stunning panoramic views, remote yet still within a community, orientated perfectly on the sun’s path, existing heritage, sheltered by mature trees and literally a stones throw from the water’s edge and all tucked away on the shores of Strangford Lough.

The client’s brief was to provide a “forever home” where a young couple could settle, raise a family, and grow in harmony with the surrounding environment. The client believed that as the family grew the site could be developed to respond to the family’s living and working needs.

The intention was to respond to the pronounced topography of the site and the mature trees that formed the backdrop, the orientation of the site (natural light) and the existing two storey stone building. It was the clients’ intention to refurbish the stone building some time in the future as a potential workshop and home office, but in the short term they would simply stabilize its structure. The brief was to interact with this stone building, to create a courtyard that would generate a sense of enclosure from the wind and also to allow a private area for the family to use (screened from Seaside Road).


With reference to the traditional Irish long house, it was the intention to create a simple two storey vernacular form, with a single storey form that would “soften” the scale of the scheme and also balance the visual interaction with the existing two storey stone form.

The two storey element is positioned in relation to the earth bank (approximately 3m above the level of the yard), which would visually absorb its mass and reduce its visual impact, as it nestles against the tree line and step in site.

The reduction in scale is further emphasized by “banding” of the dwelling with a darker base colour (to align with the single storey elements of the scheme) and a lighter colour above. This would “ground” the design.

The realignment of the two storey building form was to respond to the alignment of Seaside Road, the slope of the earth bank that opens up further views to the east, the southerly aspect (natural light) and beyond the immediate views, to frame views to various focal point such as Portaferry, the coastline and the islands.

On arrival at the site, the single storey form aligns in parallel to the stone dwelling, then the courtyard tapers in size focusing in toward the covered entrance.

There is a balance of planes, between solid and glass, to afford views to the Lough but to create a sense of solidity to the courtyard (rear) and to the westerly aspect. A future canopy will connect the proposed scheme to the stone building helping to frame this end view.

Windows to the double storey form are slot type to the side gables and a single opening at the gables, a reference to a traditional aesthetics. The main areas of glazing are generated in a way that affords views that open up as you walk through the house, with the main areas of glazing.

Materials chosen are durable & robust for the exposed nature of the site and that are sensitive to the building stock in the area. Window frames are polyester powder coated aluminium, as are the rainwater goods and fascias. Timber boarding has been limited to the wall close to the entrance which should provide more shelter from the weather.

Internally the ground floor layout flows freely from the entrance hall into the main living/dining/kitchen space, snug or to the first floor via the angled staircase. Each room provides a directed view over Strangford Lough creating an intimate and personal experience. The first floor accommodates four bedrooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom’s view over the Lough is softened by the use of sedum matting which covers the single storey element to the front of the house, it’s ever changing colour from vibrant green to deep purples provides a calming relationship with the expansive Lough beyond.