Loughinisland, County Down.
They say never work with friends or family, but we made an exception for John Lavery, and it proved a great decision. John and I had been friends for a while, and when we acquired a site, knowing John and his optimistic outlook on life and passion for his job, we believed he would deliver a design that would meet our requirements.
From the outset we wanted to build an eco-friendly house, using sustainable materials and with low energy requirements, trying to adhere to the principles of the passive house. I was also going to self build, so a practical design was essential. John researched this in depth and came up with a design that met all these goals, without compromising on space or functionality.
This was achieved from the beginning with a southern orientation of the house, timber frame construction, a simple rectangular form, and with the glazing designed to maximise solar gain. From there John produced a very detailed set of plans, which were invaluable on a self-build.
John produced a spacious and comfortable living design that has proved fantastic for family life. Using mostly natural and locally sourced materials externally gives the house a very pleasing aesthetic, and although the shape of the house was a basic rectangle, he added interest through his mix of stone, cedar, zinc and glazing.
The open plan interior design is a joy for our children, as well as giving us a great feeling of space, and connection with the outside via the floor to ceiling glazing on the southern face and the double height dining area. We couldn’t be happier with the result.
John’s site visits also proved to be very practical and helpful to me as a self builder, and the whole process was made easier by having John on board.
Our friendship remains strong even through something which is regarded as one of the most stressful events in your lifetime. That in itself speaks volumes for John’s ability.