Home Property Features A red brick beauty in Belfast

A red brick beauty in Belfast


An extensive refurbishment to a Victorian dwelling

Number 50 is a late nineteenth century Victorian dwelling in Belfast. The existing house is a double bay detached property, faced in red brick and located within the designated ‘Malone Park Conservation Area.’ 

The property was in a state of great disrepair after lying vacant for a number of years, requiring extensive refurbishment to bring it to an acceptable living standard. 

Here Steven Moon of McGarry-Moon Architects talks to us about this fabulous property.

“Together with the conservation and necessary upgrading of the dwelling, the client wished to create a larger home that was respectful to the unique history of the area, while fulfilling their desires and lifestyle aspirations,” explained Steven Moon.

“Retaining the Victorian dwelling as the focal point, the completed scheme manifests itself as two sculptural brick elements connected to the Victorian fabric with a double height glazed zone designed to capture natural light deep into the center of the property, where it is then dispersed through the plan by means of sectional manipulation. 

 “This has resulted in the creation of an interesting, stimulating and respectful dialogue between the two distinct architectural languages of the contemporary and the Victorian. The house has been fully restored and can again be appreciated for its architectural interest, whilst now also providing a five bedroom family home,” he added.

 “The form of the new build elements establish a relationship with the Victorian dwelling, garden, neighboring properties and adjacent boundaries as well as the wider conservation area. The arrangement of the new elements allows no overlooking or overshadowing issues to arise thus having no detrimental effect on the surrounding area or neighboring properties,” enthused Steven.

The property was designed by Steven Moon and Jessica McGarry. McGarry-Moon Architects is a design-led rural practice located outside Kilrea, Northern Ireland. As a young dynamic practice, projects are seen as an opportunity to create beautiful, lasting and enriching architecture. Operating across Ireland and internationally, they design a mix of public and private contemporary buildings. Their design process fuses new technologies with older building techniques, in order to create an architecture for the 21st century that adopts the spirit of the vernacular.

Over the past ten years McGarry-Moon Architects have been recipients of six RIBA awards and three RSUA awards, an RIAI award and were shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize 2017 for their architecture office ‘Fallahogey Studio.’ 

“Before we began working on the project the house was falling to pieces, people had broken in and ripped pipes out of it so there was water leaking throughout the house. The clients brief was quite open and she was quite easy to work for. The house is now over insulated and ran off main stream gas and we put under floor heating throughout the old and new part of the house,” he added.

“On the outside of the house we just re-pointed and stripped the roof and re-slated it. We also installed a roof light to incorporate as much light as possible into the house. The garden is North facing which isn’t ideal when you have massive mature trees in the garden,” said Stephen. 

As to any problems encountered throughout the project?

“We used two different contractors for this project and they worked well. The glazing was rather tricky, it was problematic and it took some time to get the glazing finished so that delayed the project slightly. It was a long enough, tricky and complex project but it was an enjoyable one to work on. 

“All of the ceilings and the plaster was destroyed due to water damage, the old house had to be gutted and if the house was renovated seven or eight years earlier there probably wouldn’t have been as much work to do to the house,” added Mr Moon.

“It took 12 months for planning permission to come through for this house. It takes typically three months to 12 months for planning permission to be granted unlike in southern Ireland and mainland United Kingdom where you would be granted it within five to eight weeks.”

As to Mr Moon’s final thoughts on this house?

“The home owner is extremely happy with the house and seeing how the old and new work together. It’s amazing to see what can be done to these houses. Making sure that you have the correct budget to do work on a house similar to this is imperative, most people have a brief that is bigger than their budget so you need to align the right amount of money to it, budgets always tend to run over and the longer they are in planning the higher the costs, building costs are getting more expensive by the day, ” concluded Steven Moon.


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