If you are thinking about self-building your own home, then you need to be open to new design possibilities. When you’re designing your dream home, getting the design right is essential.   We understand how important it is to get the design process right. This means that you get your dream home and not just an ordinary house. You probably haven’t worked with an Architect before or designed a house so knowing how to get started can make a huge difference to the home you end up with. This post will help you to get the most from working with an Architect.

People Want What They Know, But Don’t Always Know What They Want

There is a saying that I heard from an elderly Architect friend, Brian Kelly (now deceased RIP) which has influenced my approach to home design ever since. Brian told me that people want what they know, but don’t always know what they want. When he saw my confusion he when on to explain what he meant.

He said that if you imagine living on an island that had only three types of cars, and then when you went to buy a car you would naturally choose one of these three car types. This is because these are the types of cars that you know.

Gerry Gleeson Designing A Dream Home

Then imagine one day a ship arrived and brought three totally different types of cars to the island. Now all of a sudden you have six types of cars to choose from. It’s likely that you might still select one of the types you already know. And that’s alright, However, having seen these new types of cars, you might decide to pick one of these. If this happens then you realise you didn’t actually know what you wanted.

When it comes to designing your dream home it’s our job to take you on a journey and to introduce you to all of the possibilities. Once you know what choices are available to you, then you can make an informed choice. The stories below are the best way to explain the process to you. So read on!

Gareth and Lorraine 

Gareth and Lorraine live in Clane, Co. Kildare and contacted me to discuss an extension to their home. When I arrived at their home we had the obligatory cup of tea and a chat which is very important.

Lorraine produced a set of plans which they had drawn up by a friend of Gareth’s but who was no longer involved in the project. The plans in themselves were fine and followed what Lorraine said she wanted, which was a flat roof extension with large glass panes which gave the space a very clinical look.

At that stage, the easiest thing for me to do would be to take their existing plans, re-draw them, lodge the Planning Application and collect the fees. However, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I brought them on a journey to consider other possibilities.

The basic space requirements were tweaked a little but the real change occurred at roof level. I introduced them to the idea of an interesting vaulted pitched roof and the rest is history.

From the flat ceiling of the kitchen area within the existing house, you walk into the cavernous, spacious sitting room area with full height glass up to the point of the roof on both sides coupled with 2.4m (8 foot) high sliding doors. Planning was secured and work on site is progressing for happy excited Clients.

Emma and Eoin

I met Emma and baby Lilly at her parents’ house outside Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow. Emma had a set of plans that were drawn up some years previously by a man who was no longer in practice. The plans were for a basic bungalow with a standard pitch roof.  I was commissioned to re-draw the plans, make some internal changes and to lodge the planning permission application.

We arranged to meet at Emma’s rented home where I met Eoin for the first time. Over the “cup of tea” I learned that Emma and Eoin had met in college in Carlow. After College Emma taught sailing in the Caribbean and Eoin worked as a tour guide in South America and on the Silk Road to China.

Matching the Design With The Family

Here were two very interesting characters and I was determined they would not going to have a rectangular house. The Clients were fantastic. The site was amazing with panoramic views over Wicklow and Kildare. So the design had also to be special.

While discussing the floor area, I  explained that to get the maximum amount of floor area for the minimum amount of external wall then they should build a round house. I followed this with by asking, “but who would want to live in a round house?” Emma’s eyes immediately turned to Eoin and she said: “We would!” From that point, the journey began.

The concept for the final design is for a kitchen/dining/sitting area with a vaulted roof and bedroom wings to each side. Externally, because of its rural, elevated location, the design reflects the agricultural form. We chose a centre section which reflects a hay barn with two no lean to roof design over the adjoining bedroom blocks.

Planning permission for this house was recently lodged with Kildare County Council and we’ll post progress as it happens. It will give me immense pleasure to see Emma, Eoin and Lilly move into their new home. I am looking forward to – “the cuppa!”.

From Idea to Ideal Design


Designing Your Dream Home

When I first meet Clients, it’s very helpful if they have clippings from magazines, rough sketches, photographs. Equally, working on a blank canvas can be really helpful. Either way, it is my job to work with you to achieve your Dream Home. A home that you are happy with and which will be allowed by the Planning Authorities in your local area.

Our journey to working with our Clients always starts with their wish list. We visit your site, meet you in your home, have a chat and of course, have a cup of tea!

Take a look at our gallery page to see some of the homes we have designed. And when you’re ready to take the next step, then contact us today and arrange a consultation and we’ll meet up for a chat and a cuppa!