Mike and Helena Finegan decided to extend and reorientate the back of their property to maximise the light, make the most of the view, and to create an energy-efficient, contemporary kitchen extension.

Having gathered enough information, the couple presented a brief to six architects selected on the basis of their award-winning designs. ‘Each architect responded, but Garbhan Doran really understood what we wanted and met all our requirements,’ says Mike.

As the additional area of the kitchen extension was less than 40 square metres, it could be completed under permitted development rights. The foundations were excavated, the floor level lowered at the rear of the house, and the new kitchen extension built up incorporating steel supports and a huge amount of insulation.

Key Facts

The owners: Mike Finegan, a company director, and wife Helena, a librarian, live here with their youngest son Fionn, a student

The property: A five-bedroom detached house built in 1986 in Rathfarnham, Dublin


Building costs, including professional fees: £155,000
Kitchen: £23,000
Flooring: £12,000
Appliances: £7,000
Worktops: £7,000

Total: £204,000

architectural kitchen extension before exterior

The original kitchen-diner was awkwardly placed in a dark lean-to at the back

architectural kitchen extension owner

Bespoke iroko windows by Joseph McEnroe Joinery flood the new kitchen with light. A bench seat, also by Joseph McEnroe, adds a change of level, with pendant lamps from Hicken Lighting above. The stone tile flooring from Antica creates a cool, modern feel, with underfloor heating supplied by Green-House

Project notes

What we’ve learnt
‘That you can’t beat a good design, so make sure you do your homework and get the right architect.’
We couldn’t live without…
‘…the stone flooring. We love the look and feel of it.’
Our best buy
‘The thermodynamic solar panel supplied by LVP Renewables; we have piping- hot water all year round.’
If we could do anything differently…
‘…we would go for triple glazing rather than double in the north and north-west-facing windows.’
We’ve been most surprised by…
‘…how well the open-plan design works and how sociable the space is.’
Our Favourite spot
‘We love all of it and use every inch.’
Our Top tip
‘Insulate well and go for the highest possible energy efficiency values.’

architectural kitchen extension quooker tap and worktops

Silestone worktops from Miller Brothers contrast perfectly with the white gloss Snaidero cabinets, supplied by Welchome. Boiling water tap, Quooker

architectural kitchen extension kitchen island with bar stools

The central island, with bar stools from Ikea, provides a spot for casual dining, while for more formal occasions, the couple use their existing table and chairs

open plan living kitchen and dining area in an architectural kitchen extension

The seating area is positioned to overlook the garden through the oversized sliding doors. For a similar corner sofa, try Sofa.com

wine rack in an architectural kitchen extension

Additional storage, including a cupboard-top wine rack, and a second utility sink prove handy. For a similar lime green toaster, try Sabichi

built in floor to ceiling larder and built in miele appliances in an architectural kitchen extension

Sleek floor-to-ceiling Snaidero cupboards have been fitted with ovens by Miele as well as a built-in larder


smart storage in an architectural kitchen extension

Smart, low level storage has been built into the units to keep worktops clear of clutter

alfresco dining area outside the architectural kitchen extension

A bright and modern alfresco dining area sits just outside of the oversized sliding doors