When architect Denise O’Connor decided to add a large extension to the rear of her home in Goatstown, Dublin, the focus was very much on connecting the house with the garden. Her vision was to create a large, open-plan living space flooded with natural light.
Here, we speak to our customer Denise – the founder of one of Dublin’s leading architectural and interior design practices – about her stunning garden room extension and why Ultraline’s aluminium sliding patio doors played a vital part in creating a seamless inside-outside flow.
Well, we’d completed a full refurbishment of our home – a 1950s semi – and the time had come to extend out at the back. We only had a small galley kitchen before with no garden access. With two growing boys, I really wanted to create a strong connection with the garden.
The plan was to create a large, open-plan kitchen and living area with the garden as the focus. We extended out by four metres, using large sliding glass doors to create the feeling that the outside was part of the inside and vice versa. We also created a floating corner to achieve a beautiful, seamless look. I designed the corner with its orientation to the west, where the sun would set, to make the most of the lovely garden outlook.
I looked at lots of different aluminium door systems, but most of them seemed really clunky. The connection with the garden was really important to me, so I needed a door with as slim a frame as possible. So when I focused my search on slimline options, that’s when I came across Ultraline.
We’re delighted with our doors. They look incredible – contemporary and timeless – and I love the way we can now move so easily between inside and outside. If it’s a nice morning, the kids just open up the doors and sit outside to have breakfast. It works so well and we use the outside space so much more now. It’s brilliant!
It has to be that connection with the garden. The house used to be made up of lots of small rooms and inevitably you’d end up sitting looking at wall. The new layout means that you look onto the garden which I love. It works so well for us as a family now. The doors are permanently open and the boys are in and out all the time.
It’s also the perfect entertaining space. We had a party for our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary recently and it was amazing how well it worked. And the flush threshold means it’s completely flat as you walk from inside to outside. Nothing to trip over, which is great with elderly guests!
It’s also a really restful space. I like a contemporary look, but I need it to feel homely at the same time. Everyone who comes over says it feels so calm. And of course they always ask where the glazing’s from!
Yes, absolutely. I find myself recommending them all the time. And I’ll be using Ultraline for client projects in future. It’s such a timeless look and the doors are virtually invisible. So even when the weather isn’t so good and the doors are closed, you still have an amazing view of the garden.
Plus I’ve seen my clients’ needs change over the last 18 months. There’s been a move to making the most of your outside space with BBQ areas and outdoor living rooms. Covid has encouraged us to focus more with what we can do with our homes and that has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
Following the recent trend for Crittall-style glazing, I’m hoping there will now be a shift towards Ultraline’s cleaner lines. Crittall-style steel doors don’t perform well thermally and the cost is outrageous. Whereas Ultraline is aesthetically timeless and allows you to enjoy the benefits of an inside-outside lifestyle. There are so many more design options with it and, in my opinion, it goes with any style of house.
It’s been so interesting and beneficial to put myself in my clients’ shoes while working on my own house. There were so many big decisions to be made and sometimes it took a long time to make the right choices. With big commitments like floor tiles, for instance, I found myself thinking, ‘I really need to get this right because I’m going to have to live with these for a long time!’
My advice would be to really take your time and plan everything out in advance. That way, all the decisions have been made and you won’t hold anything up once the build starts.
Doing my own project has also changed my view on phased works. I used to advise clients to approach a project in stages if they didn’t have the budget to do everything in one go. But now, having gone through all this with my own house, I’d say wait and do it all in one go if at all possible. Otherwise it’s just so disruptive!
Read more about Denise’s architectural and interior design practice here And if you need help with your own extension or garden room project, do give us a call to find out more about Ultraline’s market-leading aluminium sliding patio doors.