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What is an Eco Friendly Home?

With more & more being shown on TV & magazines about Eco Home, we take a look into what makes an Eco Home.

With the rise of new techniques and technologies more and more of us are considering what our impact is, both at scale and also on a local level, on the world around us.
This growing consciousness has lead to an increase in the building and development of “eco”, “eco-friendly” and “green” homes.
Even on a day-to-day basis, we are quizzed in the office or out onsite about the latest efforts to build eco-friendly homes and as a result thought we would answer some of the key questions here.

 

eco home architects slemish design studio

What is an Eco Home?

For many, the first question is simply “what is an eco home?”
This type of question makes sense because, for decades, the “eco-friendliness” of a home really wasn’t a major consideration. As a result, even though the trend might be growing, it’s still new to many.
Put simply, an eco home is a dwelling or home built with the aim of reducing energy consumption and waste, whilst also attempting to be as sustainable as possible with minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
That might sound like a bit of a mouthful but the reality is that there is no set definition and as such it will change and be completely relative to your own specific project.

 

Key Features in an EcoHome

The key features of an eco home differ in a similar way to a definition. Each home, or project, will be slightly different and as a result, will focus on different features or requirements.
Some of the most common features include greater levels of insulation, a greater emphasis on airtightness, yet still the quality of fresh air from the likes of MVHR, the maximizing of natural light and some form of solar power generation.
Some projects might also focus on incorporating rainwater harvesting and even impact the natural area surrounding the house with the inclusion of natural gardens or vegetable patches.
No matter what the features are, the focus will always be on creating a home that is as sustainable, energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.
If you keep this to the forefront of your mind throughout the lifecycle of your own project key features, materials and building methods should follow in an eco-friendly way.

 

 eco home architects slemish design studio

Eco Home Materials

Eco building materials are becoming more and more popular due to a variety of reasons including price and accessibility.
Materials used can range widely, depending on the scope of the project, but can include timber, natural stone, slate, LED lighting, solar panels and less of a focus on uPVC and other plastics.
When considering what materials to use for your own eco-friendly home project you might want to focus on the following three key factors:

  • Recycling/Reusable nature
  • Biodegradable elements
  • Location

The last factor, location, is interesting as a trend for locally sourced, eco-friendly, building materials continues to grow. Whilst this might not always be possible, think about your location and what might be nearby.

Building Your Eco Home

Building an eco-friendly home is a fully holistic process that begins in the planning phase and subsequently filters down through every aspect of the building thereafter.
This means that, at varying levels, the aim of building an eco-friendly home will influence every key decision including design and architecture, chosen features, materials used, building process and more.
For a novice, we would highly recommend using professional’s at all key junctures to ensure the project runs as smoothly as possible.

 

If you have any major questions or concerns you can contact our team at the office by clicking here!

Working with an architect for your home

Working with an architect for your home.png

Your home is likely to be your most valuable asset and the process of designing and building or extending it may feel like a daunting prospect.
Hiring an architect is the key to creating your dream home, tailored to your own personal tastes, needs and desires.
Whatever the brief, architects will bring something more to the table. Their extensive formal education and practical experience mean that you can be sure of design quality. And of course, they are professionals, working to strict codes of conduct and service so you are in safe hands

Your home is likely to be your most valuable asset and the process of designing and building or extending it may feel like a daunting prospect.

 

The Process

This is an outline of the services that can be provided by us at Slemish Design Studio Architects. Full details of the architect’s services along with the terms and conditions will be specific to your project. They will be itemised and agreed with you by your appointed architect.
You can commission an architect for any of the stages you need for your project.
The RIBA’s ‘Plan of Work 2013’ sets out the key stages of a construction project from conception to completion.

 

RIBA Plan of Work Template

 

Stage 0 / 1

Preparation and Brief
This is the most important part
of the project and where the architect can add real value.  The architect will undertake some preliminary appraisals to assess the options and feasibility of the project. This can range from a sketch design solution to a full feasibility study and will enable you to decide on the best way forward.
They will identify the need for any approvals and other consultants, most commonly a structural engineer.

Stage 2

Concept Design
Using the initial project brief the architect will develop outline proposals. An architect will present a number of initial concepts for you to choose from. They will also liaise with local planners as a priority. The final design brief should reflect your aspirations and provide you with a home that adds value and improves your quality of life.

Stage 3

Developed Design.
The architect will spend more time at this stage transforming ideas into something that can be built. This includes coordinating the work of other consultants into the designs.
Once agreed, between you, the design proposals will then be submitted for planning approval, if required.

Stage 4

Technical Design
The architect will now prepare the technical drawings and a specification and/or a schedule of works that will be used to price the tender and construct the building.
The architect can then invite and appraise tenders from builders and administer the building contract on your behalf.

Stage 5

Construction
Throughout the construction phase, the architect will administer your contract with the builder, carry out regular inspections, deal with queries, instruct any additional work required, monitor progress on site, keep track of cost, value the works and certify payments due to the builder.

Stage 6

Handover and Close Out
When the project is ready to handover the architect will make a final inspection and certify completion. The architect will be available after handover and during any defects period to arrange for
certifying the final payment.

Charred timber cladding or Shou Sugi Ban as people know it

charred timber cladding

Everybody’s talking about Charred timber cladding or Shou Sugi Ban as people know it.
But what is it and how can we incorporate it into our home design?

Shou Sugi ban is a term used to describe the process of charring timber with fire. It is currently taking the world by storm. Already huge in the States and Australia, its popularity is spreading like wildfire through Europe. Architects, as well as designers, are keen to incorporate Shou Sugi ban into their projects. If you saw anything from Milan’s international furniture fair recently, some prestigious design houses, as well as some of the greatest global brands, showcased charred pieces including Armani Casa, Riva and Roche Bobois. Their carbonised wood pieces use the same techniques that we use here at.

Look, here is a scantily clad Angelina sitting on a carbonised chair by Maarten Baas for Moooi.

Look, here is a scantily clad Angelina sitting on a carbonised chair by Maarten Baas for Moooi… Everyone loves carbonised timber!!


TOASTED

Oooh, Fancy… so where are you based?

toasted charred timber cladding in armagh northern ireland


TOASTED
is based in the heart of the good old apple county of Armagh in Northern Ireland. We offer a whole range of delicious charred timber products and can ship them to you if you like.

So what is it again? Can we butter it?

No! No butter or jam required. Basically, it’s nothing new. In fact, it all started way back a couple of thousand years ago. Here’s a quick story to fill you in…
Once upon a time in Japan, families would often store their food in little wooden huts. They would cook in here too and their problem was that all too often these huts would go on fire and the entire family’s winter food supply would literally go up in smoke. Then they would starve and die which kind of sucked in a not very happily ever after kind of way…
Until one day some ‘bright spark’ (see what I did there?) decided that if they set the wood on fire before they built with it, then it wouldn’t go on fire again. Have any of you have experienced the dread of going camping and letting the campfire go out? Well, try relighting that blackened charred kindling fellow campers!! It doesn’t matter how much lighter fuel you saturate it with…that thing’s dead!

So a completely practical side effect of this beautiful burning process is that the fire fireproofs it! Cool no?
After enjoying their buildings not burning down for a while, the Japanese people discovered that the insects that had been chomping on their walls had ceased and appeared to have taken themselves off to pastures new. Turns out bugs hate the taste of charcoal!! Who knew? Another plus. Add to this the fact that the burning process also completely weatherproofs the building too and you start to feel they were really onto something. The upsides just keep coming, don’t they? Hardly worth mentioning that mould and spores don’t grow on it either. Seems petty really…
The charcoal layers provide pure protection. In fact, the oldest building currently standing on the planet is clad in Shou Sugi ban. And it’s been around since 700A.D!!

Great story! Any nerdy science bits to wow us with now?

Well since you asked… the fire burns off the cellulose layers in the wood while the strong structural lignin stays completely intact. This causes the beautiful textures associated with Shou Sugi Ban to really come to the fore. People just can’t help stroking the wood and feeling those ridges created by nature. It’s so tactile. Be advised, strangers can and will want to stroke your home. It’s something you might want to prepare yourselves for.

So how can we use this amazing charred timber? For exterior?…or interior design?

Well, we have adapted and refined the skills invented by the Japanese people to offer a contemporary range of Toasted timber. Most people are putting this stuff on their walls. Either as timber cladding outside,….or on feature walls inside their homes. It is a very adaptable material and lends itself just as easily to an industrial feel, a contemporary look, or a rustic vibe. It blends with brick, concrete, stonework or metal.
You can choose your wood species, the amount of burn you like, the profile and style of your cladding etc so that your Toast is completely bespoke and tailormade to your project.

modern house extension charred timber cladding

modern house extension charred timber cladding

 

charred timber clad internal wall

charred timber clad internal wall

 

Why can’t we grab a blowtorch and do it ourselves?

You can!! There are some people who want to give it a go themselves and, with some trial and error and the odd singed eyebrow, it is perfectly possible. It takes a lot of time and energy, and potentially an occasional hospital run, but for those of you who like to self-build, it is a very rewarding creative process. We have adapted our own secret processes over the years to make sure we get a consistent and beautiful finish using a variety of temperatures and burn techniques, so if you need something a little bit special, we’d obviously recommend getting those in the know to help you create something truly spectacular.

 

sasha from toasted picking timber to char

Here is a picture of me in the burn shed looking all serious at a plank of timber cladding 🙂

 

sasha from toasted in armagh

Here is the reality of me burning on a daily basis looking more like Bert the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins: oohhhh smoky.

So far our clients love the wow factor and the pure aesthetic beauty of our Toasted timber…but they’re not all just vain and shallow. They also respect the sustainability and general green-ness of Shou Sugi Ban as well. Also, it must be said that a lot of love is coming in for the low, slash no-maintenance factor too. The fact that you won’t have to repaint or re-stain your building for the next 80-100 years is frankly a big draw for people thinking of using timber cladding.
So come and have a look at our Instagram or Facebook feed and see if anything inspires you to have some toast on your dream home? We’d love to see what you think!!

 


 

Here at Slemish Design Studio Architects, Steven from the office has started his own “grand designs” a granny flat for his parents to the rear of his house. With the house being from the 10930’s the idea was to put on an extension to sit out from the rest of the house.. this is where the charred timber cladding came into play… I’ve spoken with Sasha a pile of times to make sure I know what I’m doing.. thankfully she pointed me in the right direction… just hope now it turns out the way I’ve imagined lol.

We work and a variety of projects all over Northern Ireland & in the Republic of Ireland…..feel free to get in touch should you wish to discuss your project on the form below.

 

 

new house project in cushendall

new house project in cushendall

We’re pleased to have been appointed as architects for a modern house outside Cushendall, County Antrim.

With the location being in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) we’ll need to make sure the design is both sympathetic to the area & our client’s needs.

area you looking to build in the future?

Should you have any planning queries or have a project you’d like us to take a look at, feel free to contact our office to see about our free consultations.

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area

During a recent trip to Dunfanaghy, County Donegal, we stopped at The Rusty Oven for some food and drinks and quickly realised that it was an outdoor pizza restaurant.
Now, if you know Donegal or typical Irish weather in general, then you’ll know that “outdoor” eating areas are usually a disaster at the worst, and tempting fate at the best of times.
Despite this, we thought it was such a great idea. Luckily the weather was perfect and there really is something unique about relaxing outside with great food, drinks and company.
This got us thinking… How could we do this at home?

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area The Rusty Oven, Dunfanaghy, Donegal

image credit – The Rusty Oven, Dunfanaghy, Donegal

So, without further ado, we’ve developed a set of Slemish Design Studio design tips for the perfect outdoor BBQ area!

Location, Location, Location!

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area

Zeidler Residence designed by Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects. Photo by Matthew Millman

We know this might sound like a property investment headline but the location is just as important when choosing your BBQ area. Ok maybe not just as important, but it can make or break a great outdoor dining experience!

In this case, you generally want to pick a spot in your garden that gets the sun, during the right times of day, is easily accessible with the kitchen nearby, and is free from any heavy foliage.

It is also worth noting that you don’t need a huge space. Everything can be adapted depending on the project.

Dining Setup

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area

The South Yarra Residence designed by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design

Are you going to install a basic BBQ area and use movable garden furniture, as and when needed, or are you planning on something more concrete (excuse the pun!) and permanent?

These are some of the key questions you need to consider when designing your new outdoor dining setup. This will filter into other areas of your design plan including storage and materials.

Materials

Speaking of materials… Our biggest recommendation when it comes to BBQ area materials is, go all-weather, durable and, in terms of aesthetics, as natural as possible.

Stone, timber, slate and concrete all fit the bill and should give you a solid base that can be enjoyed during the warmer months but also won’t fall into too much disrepair throughout the winter.

Indoor Outdoor

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area

Modern home outside Dunadry Antrim designed by slemish design studio architects 

We’ve talked about indoor-outdoor design before and there’s no reason it can’t include BBQ areas.

The design concept, which essentially sees the lines inside and outside your home bleed together, can be applied to your outdoor BBQ area if you plan on building it next to a kitchen or living area.

This works particularly well if you have sliding or opening double doors!

Lighting

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area lighting

The best BBQs, alfresco dining and garden parties can grow long into the night meaning some form of alternative lighting might be required.

Obviously, this won’t be too different from any other outdoor lighting you currently have but could include smart LED lights, hanging lights, wall fixtures and so many more options.

Outdoor Storage

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area storage

found this on google & cant credit it to anyone, it’s used for bikes, but would be great as an outdoor BBQ store

Space and storage might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about outdoor BBQ areas but if you plan on entertaining, even on a small scale, some carefully allocated space can come in handy!

This could come in the form of permanent outdoor shelving, a concrete bench with a removable top or even a permanent dining table with inbuilt storage below.

Outdoor Fireplace

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor BBQ Area fire

designed by one of my best mates – The Country Gardner

Firstly, we don’t condone mixing alcohol and fire… So if you’re planning on some serious outdoor entertaining then this might not be the recommendation for you!

Now that the legal requirements are out of the way we would suggest considering some form of an outdoor fireplace or fire pit simply because, even on the sunniest days, Irish weather can be temperamental and temperatures can change or drop in an instant!

A permanent fireplace or fire pit would be the perfect addition to any BBQ area.

What would be in your dream outdoor BBQ area? Let us know!

For any questions, recommendations or design tips, get in touch by clicking here.

5 of the Weirdest Houses in the World

In a studio like ours, as the years go by, it’s fair to say we’ve stumbled across countless weird and wonderful house designs and layouts.
Open plan, broken plan, eco-friendly, classic and hundreds of other variations appear on our desks every day but, every so often, something will catch our attention that’s weirder than normal…
So, for your inspiration, we present to you the 5 weirdest houses in the world!

 

Dr Seuss House, USA

Dr Seuss House, USA

First up, the infamous Dr Seuss House in the United States.
This strange dwelling can be found in the wilds of Alaska and stands at 12 stories tall, or 185 feet, and also features its very own escape tunnel and safe room, amongst other features!
Despite being so eye-catching the house currently sits empty and has been in a constant state of unfinished construction for over 15 years!
The owner, a local attorney from Anchorage, seems to have no plans to move in but we can bet the views from the top are enough to make anyone jealous!

 

read more on this weird house – click here

 

The Crooked House, Poland

Krzywy Domek

Next, we move from the haphazard to glossy, modern architecture at its finest…and weirdest!
The Crooked House, known as Krzywy Domek (“little-crooked house”) in Polish, was first opened in 2004 as part of a shopping centre in Sopot, Poland.
As you can clearly see, the house was inspired by old medieval fairy tales and stories and covers 43,000 square feet in curvy, wacky design straight out of a Brothers Grimm story!

Krzywy Domek

read more on this weird house at – click here

 

Ballytarsna Hackett Castle, Ireland

Ballytarsna Hackett Castle, Ireland

image was taken from aransweatersdirect.com

Moving swiftly on we now return to the Emerald Isle and more specifically, Ballytarsna Hackett Castle in Cashel, County Tipperary.
We might be based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, but we regularly travel the length and breadth of the island and know the countryside is no stranger to some weird and wonderful designs!
In this case, you can actually book, via Airbnb, to stay a night in your very own castle courtesy of Texan investor and property developer John Carrigan who bought and redeveloped the site twenty years ago and still lives there today!
Guests will be treated to 5 floors of classic castle atmosphere, in a build that has stood since 1220, and even get a chance to explore the dungeon below…if they’re brave enough!

find out more on this website we’ve found – click here

75 ½ Bedford Street, USA

75 ½ Bedford Street, USA

From the old world to the new world, we now move to 75 ½ Bedford Street in Manhattan, New York City!
This tiny little house is approximately 9 ½ feet wide but shrinks down to just 2 feet wide at its narrowest! On top of that, it’s just 999 square feet of space in total…not much in the Big Apple!
Despite its size, Bedford Street boasts quite a history including being a former carriage gateway entrance, cobblers shop, and candy factory.

The classic redbrick exterior gives way to a beautiful interior featuring a galley kitchen, two bathrooms, fireplaces throughout the house and a central spiral staircase and runs right through all three floors.
As is to expected in Manhattan, this little slice of New York has been sold for crazy prices over the past two decades. The last sale, in 2011, fetched over 4.3 million dollars!

75 ½ Bedford Street floor plans

 

The Thin House, England

The Thin House, England

Our final weird house continues the “thin” theme with The Thin House in South Kensington, London, England.
This wedge-shaped property is slightly more deceiving than its counterpart in New York as at its widest it’s a “massive” 34 feet wide! Not huge, but still bigger than Bedford Street.
Despite its size, it features a 600 square foot studio apartment which incredible views across the London neighbourhoods below and was recently sold for a crazy £895,000!

you can read more on the express website about this house


We hope these weird and wonderful creations have inspired you in some small way on your own design journey. Each, in its own way, shows what can be achieved with quirky ideas, limited space or an unlimited imagination!

Whether you want something as unique or prefer tried and true, you can get in touch with our team here to discuss your dream home or redevelopment.

have you seen our clients testimonials?

clients testimonials.

These testimonials are flying out every Tuesday on our social media under Testimonial Tuesday.

check out some of our client’s testimonials… we plan to have a dedicated page to these on our website once I can find time 😀

 

clients testimonials

 

slemish design studio architects clients testimonials

 

slemish design studio architects clients testimonials

 

slemish design studio architects clients testimonials

 

Client’s Case Study Water’s Edge Glenarm

Our next Client’s Case Study takes us to our Water’s Edge B&B Glenarm project with Jenny, Pete & Norman (the dog). They give us an insight into what it’s like to build your very own B&B from a disused Police Station 

Client's Case Study Water's Edge B&B Glenarm
Our client has recently been award NI’s Best Guest House/B&B Stay

Why did you decide to build your dream home?

We wanted to leave the rat race in England and live by the sea. We wanted to run a business together and work from home. We drove past the police station in Glenarm when over visiting family and before we knew it we had bought it.

How did you come about Slemish Design Studio?

Mr Google helped. We were living in England when the purchase was going through but we wanted to use Architects local to the area where we were buying. We shortlisted 3 and asked them to provide sketches based on our brief, to tender and then to meet with us on site. We liked Slemish Design Studio’s way of thinking and their easy approach. We immediately gelled with Joe and Steven and we are certain we made the right choice.

When putting your brief together, what was top of the list?

Maximise sea views from all guest rooms and our own living areas. Retain the character of the building. Provide a flexible but workable place to live in and run a B&B from allowing us and our guests to have privacy and space.

Client's Case Study Water's Edge B&B Glenarm

What is your must-have feature you wouldn’t compromise on?

Large sea facing window in our living space.

How have/did you found the experience so far.

Slemish Design Studio was an excellent team to deal with, Joe and Steven were always on hand to talk through issues when things got tough. We lived in a camper van in our driveway during the build and sometimes things got a little overwhelming. We found that the guys made time for us, gave us sound advice and acted as our advocate when we needed any issues of a technical nature resolving.

What was your favourite part of the process?

We enjoyed seeing the building take shape after it had been gutted and we loved watching the plans come to life. We particularly enjoyed witnessing the big window go in.

During the whole process, what did you find the worst

Variations!

Have you used anything different such as MVHR/Eco etc in your house

We wanted to install MVHR and we are pleased we didn’t compromise on this. When costs increase unexpectedly it is easy to decide not to install something that isn’t a necessity. We run a B&B and we find that MVHR helps keep temperatures constant and air fresh.

How would you describe your project

Enlightening, rewarding, overwhelming, emotional but on the whole a fantastic experience, every day was a school day. No regrets.

Have you any tips for any future self-builders

Plan everything in detail, write it down, research. Give clear instructions, know what you want to see in your home. If something is really important to you do not compromise. Keep a diary, a site diary if you are living on site, but in any event a diary of works and events. We have found it really useful to refer back to both during the build and afterwards, even recently when an item failed after almost 3 years, we were able to show that although purchased on a particular date, it wasn’t installed until some time after resulting in it being within warranty leading to a free replacement. Above all, enjoy the experience, for us, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are so pleased we were able to be involved in the process. Slemish Design Studio enables you to remain involved at all stages of the build so that you feel part of the team.

 

If you fancy a night in a luxury and award-winning 5star B&B get in touch with Water’s Edge Glenarm

new granny annexe in broughshane on site

One our of our latest projects has started on site.
A new modern granny annexe to a period home in Broughshane, Ballymena.
Steven from our office has started this & we’ll be overseeing everything onsite… helps when it’s only 2seconds down the road from the office

We work and a variety of projects all over Northern Ireland & in the Republic of Ireland…..feel free to get in touch should you wish to discuss your project on the form below.

 

granny annexe broughshane

How much does a smart home cost?

we’ve been asked this question a few times – How much does a smart home cost?
Everyone’s looking to put new technology into their homes & as everyone knows it moves quicker than a new iPhone being released.

We asked Alan Clarke from Techfit who specialise in Smart Home Solutions and Home Automation Systems.
Techfit is currently working on a smart home for one of our clients at present, which includes Full control system including, Cinema room, Philips lighting system, Home networking, TV/Sky/4K distribution, Full. WIFI set up, Remote Blinds, Alarm, CCTV, Motorised sliding gate and 2N integrated video intercom.
We look forward to bringing your more on whats happening with our project on site.

So…… How much does a smart home cost?

We all, given the choice, would opt, when building our new home or renovating our existing home, to include a smart home specification. Imagine all the conveniences it would bring – with the installation of a central hub unit and a fully networked home. You can integrate your TV, phone, broadband and satellite services throughout your home, and immediately de-clutter your living spaces of cables and boxes, with one remote-control controlling everything. Giving you the fundamental infrastructure to build on for the future of your home.

As well as that you have the abundant conveniences of one-touch control of everything around your home. Using your smartphone/ tablet to control your lighting, your heating, central audio, home cinema, blinds and curtains, alarm, CCTV, electric gates and intercom, and all access points to your home.

How much does a smart home cost? philips home lighting automation

 

A Smart Home could change your life, bringing you a new level of comfort, convenience, energy saving and secure peace of mind. Not only can it free up time in your daily life that might be better spent elsewhere, but it also eliminates the daily burden of having to keep track of all the chores that need to be done.

 

How much does a smart home cost? control 4

As home automation systems become the mainstream you will find many do-it-yourself systems hitting the market, consumers are faced with the decision on whether to tackle the setup of a home automation system themselves, get their electrician to tackle it or to hire a professional to do the job. While you will definitely save money by the DIY method, don’t let the cost of a professional sway your decision when a home automation system is such an integral part of your home.

We regularly receive calls and emails from newly built homeowners who let their electrician install what they described as a “smart home system”, which turned out to be not so smart. So the message is clear – leave it to the professional installer.

Your average home builder would set aside a budget of approximately £15K to £20K for a kitchen and £8K to £12K on appliances, and think nothing of doing so, and may quite possibly end up changing this equipment in years to come. Ultimately, the question is, how much value do you put on having a smart home? Bearing in mind, once installed, with the exception of software upgrades, you will never have to review this smart home infrastructure again.

How much does a smart home cost?

 

So, how much is making your smart home going to cost? Is it something that you can afford? We all want the “bells and whistles” of a modern smart home, but affordability is something that needs to be considered, i.e. is it in the budget? For a lot of us, that’s the real issue. Who wouldn’t want the trivial matters of everyday life automated and improved? None of us in our right minds would turn down that offer — that is if we could afford it.

As it turns out, the cost of smart home install doesn’t have to break the bank as long as you’re clever about it. Let’s take a look at what a typical smart home installation could cost you.

On an average 2,500sqft house your costs will be approximate:

  • TV – Data- Wi-Fi Networking – €3,000 + VAT
  • 4-Zone music system including speakers – £4,000 + VAT
  • Lighting Control (for main rooms only) – £4,000 + VAT
  • Control System (Processors & Remote-controls) – £3,000 + VAT
  • CCTV and Alarm – £3,500 + VAT
  • Labour & Commissioning – Dependant on the level of specification.

For your free no obligation quotation please email us your floor plans today. Or why not pre-book your appointment to visit our showroom and let us demonstrate first-hand all the features and benefits of our control systems.

We will custom design a smart home solution to meet your specific requirements, and more importantly your budget.

At TechFit we will project manage every aspect of your installation. TechFit also offers a simple, efficient, productive and cost-effective way of integrating and automating business environments. We work closely with the commercial sector, helping business owners and managers to automate and control every aspect of their business.

From idea to installation “TechFit is with you all the way “….

Phone our team today (042) 942 0261

Email us your plans: info@techfit.ie

 

tips on planning an extension

The planning stage is an important part of planning your extension or renovation. Working that little bit more now will help in the long run with your project.

 tips on planning an extension

It doesn’t matter what size your project will be, it pays to sit down with your architects & go over everything in detail.
This is the part of the project that we find clients most existed.. the before stage, sitting down & going over their ideas for what they want at the end of it all.

In our case studies with our clients, we’ve asked them to pass on some tips for planning your project.

Having done this twice, and saying after the first time never again –I think self-builders should be prepared for the extra effort and time it will take to go through this process. Having lived in quite a few different houses, we were lucky in that we knew how we liked to live,
Tristan & Ruth Kells House
 
Just really enjoy it, make sure you have a positive mindset towards the project. Choose your architect carefully and encourage them to push the envelope with your brief a little. Remember they have trained to create new and exciting buildings. Look at lots and lots of architecture online and challenge your tastes. I read that your taste will change every 5 years.
 
Be very clear about what you want. Never take anything for granted and write everything down. You will always go back to look for that one name and number. Finally, just enjoy it!
Cathy – Rathkenny House
 
building a house is one of the most stressful things you can do but also very rewarding,
I would advise anyone who is thinking about it to definitely give it ago but make sure you get the right people behind you from the start.
Mark & Nicola – Buckna House

 For renovation inspiration, check out this before and after project just outside Randalstown, County Antrim

 
 

Client’s Case Study Martinstown house

Client’s Case Study at our Martinstown house takes us to, Self-builders Ciaran & Catherine. They give us an insight into what it’s like to build your own grand designs.

case study martinstown house architects ballymena

Why did you decide to build your dream home?

We were given the opportunity to build beside my parents. While it has always been a dream to build my own house I didn’t expect the opportunity to arise so soon! As the plot is on family land we felt we really needed to honour the site and ensure that the house would be a home for life.

How did you come about Slemish Design Studio?

I had seen some of their work online and I liked the style of architecture. When I went to meet Steven and Joe I felt we clicked and would work well together, they are both really lovely guys and I felt that we had really similar taste in material finishes and designs. They were really supportive throughout the building process and really approachable.

When putting your brief together, what was top of the list?

My list was about 4 pages long! I was careful not to impose limitations on what they could create but I outlined how I wanted the house to ‘feel’ and work as a home. Some priorities were that I wanted to be able to reach the gardens from any point in the house. I wanted to be able to see through the house to the view upon entry. I liked single storey buildings and courtyards and I wanted a contemporary house which borrowed from the local vernacular.

What is your must-have feature you wouldn’t compromise on?

As with most things in life budget can dictate how a project becomes a reality. There are always compromises to be made! One thing I was determined we would include is black timber cladding and I am so glad we did as I love the finish.

How have/did you found the experience so far.

Many people say building a house is the most stressful experience of their lives but I genuinely loved it. I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity to build my own house and I really tried to relish every moment, there is nothing quite like poring over the plans for your home or visiting the site as the design drawings become real walls and windows. I remember seeing my views framed for the first time by walls and realising that this was what I would wake up to every morning!

What was your favourite part of the process?

I find it really difficult to pick just one, I so enjoyed the process of working with the architects, liaising with the builder, designing the kitchen etc. I suppose having the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about their jobs was the best part.

During the whole process, what did you find the worst

As this was going to be a ‘forever home’ I got myself tied up in knots about where to prioritise budget. There are very important decisions to be made in terms of the spec of the house as insulation/windows/roof decisions can only be made once. We had to really wrangle with this to ensure the budget was allocated sensibly. In the end, we decided to invest in the ‘bones’ of the house and accept that certain aspects such as the landscaping and some rooms would have to wait until after we moved in.

Have you used anything different such as MVHR/Eco etc in your house

We installed a BEAM MVHR house, invested in a deep cavity and lots of insulation in the walls and roof, the windows are triple glazed and while we currently use oil for our underfloor heating, long term we will explore more eco-friendly options like a heat pump.

How would you describe your project

It was a pleasure to plan and build and is a pleasure to live in.

Have you any tips for any future self-builders

Just really enjoy it, make sure you have a positive mindset towards the project. Choose your architect carefully and encourage them to push the envelope with your brief a little. Remember they have trained to create new and exciting buildings. Look at lots and lots of architecture online and challenge your tastes. I read that your taste will change every 5 years.
The builder will make or break your experience, do your research and speak to past clients to check out how the houses they have built are standing the test of time and how they found the builder to work with. I struck gold with John (ESTCO LTD). I would build another house in the morning but only if I knew John would be my builder, he was wonderful.

 

selfbuild live belfast 2018

selfbuild live show belfast this weekend – 16th-118th February

Come meet us at the selfbuild live show in belfast this weekend..come along to Titanic exhibition centre
Hall 2 Stand K2 to speak to us about any architecture or planning questions.

for free tickets you can get them from their website here 

should you have a project you’ll like us to discuss please feel free to get in touch via our social media or our contact page – click here

selfbuild live belfast 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone

We’d like to wish all our clients, friends, family & all those who just like our work a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year… Hope Santa comes & we’ll see you all for a very exciting 2018

 

happy christmas architects ballymena

we’re extending our office!!!

sooo..we’re taking the 2 rooms below us for more office space.

these rooms were the original entrance into the old office block along with the reception area for the old pattons, joinery works.
these days they are used as the Raceview Mill General Office & a tourism office…. and soon to be new architects office space 🙂

Our Plans!!!

these ideas have been playing on our mind for quite a while now. with 4 of us in the office we need extra space for meetings.
the master plan is that we use down stairs as our main working office for the 4 of us, which can expand to suit 6/8 people.
& the first floor is to be used as our meeting space with one area being our main meeting area & having a more casual meeting space,
this will help when we’ve 2 meetings on the go & also for when we’ve our monthly CPD’s (continuing professional development)

now the hard bit.

between the 4 of us we’ve been sketching googling, pinteresting the bit out to put ideas on the table… thankfully we’ve always had an idea.. its just putting it into practise.

AMD Services is a building contractor that we’ve worked along with since we’ve started 5 years ago & pleased to say are helping us with the work on the office… again thankfully as we can design really nice house’s etc but when it comes to actually building it, it’s a different story.

the good thing about this office extension, will be that the 4 of us have all input into what it’s going to look like etc.. at the end of the day.. everyone wants to enjoy going to their work!!

I’ll keep you posted with more updates on what’s happening with our office as it goes along.

 

new offices