Well Designed Small House

Customer reference for Joe Fallon Design as told to pickapro by Marian Manton, Co. Tipperary from Tipperary on 19-Sep-2013

When was the work done?
We had our first design consultation in October 2012 and I think we finalised the design in February 2013. We're in construction now, the timber frame goes up next week.

What was involved?
It was design for a 3 bedroom detached house, one and a half storeys. Joe also helped us with the planning process. He presented about 5 different ideas.

How did you choose Joe Fallon Design?
I spent about 5 weeks figuring out what I wanted and really searching for the right architect. I found Joe through an online search. I picked him out because he had the kind of aesthetic I was looking for. Then we met Joe and he was great.

Had you definite ideas in mind before you talked to Joe Fallon?
I'm a designer myself so I had clear ideas of what I wanted. I wanted a house that was really high spec in terms of energy rating - it's going to be an A2 rating. I wanted a house that wasn't big but was designed well so it felt spacious. I liked the idea of sloping roofs, and the idea of an attic space, but I didn't want a traditional dormer look. It's a country setting, and it's on a farm so I didn't want it be really contemporary. I wanted it to fit the landscape and the area.

Did Joe introduce new ideas?
Joe completely met the brief and more. He can just utilise space really, really well. It's 170 square metres but it's really well designed. There's a really lovely double space landing and hall area when you walk in. It's not a big house, but that will make it feel it really spacious. It's those little luxuries things that make it really work, and that Joe really nailed.

He also got it just right in that you wouldn't think the house was dormer - there are no dormer windows at the front. There are at the back, but they're quite square and contemporary. At the front he has lots of glazing and they're really interesting shapes. He does really beautiful corners.

Joe is quite traditional in some ways but then he then he has these contemporary shapes. It's a really nice mix and works really well in the setting.

He came up with a really cool open living space, with kitchen, dining and sitting area. That has these beautiful windows. Maybe a more old fashioned architect might have put the beautiful windows in the sitting room but Joe put it in our living area where we spend most of our time.

How did the project run?
Really unbelievable. The project ran really smoothly. I gave him a really clear brief. He followed it, and he gave me exactly what I wanted and more. Not only that, the was very, very thorough on the planning process. He made it really so it couldn't have been refused. He advised us to go to two pre-planning meetings which was really good. We got the planning straight off.

The amount of times we've called him. Once construction started, he's been down to the site a couple of times.

What was the biggest benefit to you of using Joe Fallon Design?
It's really about how accessible he was and how hands on he was. For example, the spec changed in that it went from a masonry construction to a timber frame construction, and we were advised to get a mechanical ventilation unit. Joe did a redesign free of charge to find a space to place that. So, he's been really, really great and really hands on.

He's also really concerned about budgetary stuff.

I'd say his use of materials. We'll have natural stone in one area, and treated cedar in another. And he picked this really nice grey colour for the windows.

Would you recommend Joe Fallon Design to others?
Yes, definitely.

Any tips for other people?
Yes. Joe recommended we get engineer/project manager to help once house went into construction, which was sound advice. Our engineer has caught lots of things with regard to the timber frame that would have caused problems done the road. Just don't take things for granted.

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Joe completely met the brief and more. He can just utilise space really, really well.

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