The owners of this bijou Dublin flat had one seemingly impossible request for their home’s redesign – they wanted to squeeze in two shower rooms. A family member lives here full-time and the couple stay at weekends and during holidays, so it was important to create two separate bathrooms to make it easy to share the space.
Some smart thinking allowed architect Eva Byrne to not only include the shower rooms for her clients, but also incorporate a utility area.
Flat at a Glance
Who lives here? An Irish couple who live in the countryside part of the time and a relative who lives here full-time
Property A1970s flat
Size Two bedrooms and two bathrooms
Architect Eva Byrne of Houseology Photos by Philip Lauterbach
The original living space in this Dublin flat was quite dark, consisting of a separate kitchen and living room. Eva removed the division between the rooms to create an open-plan kitchen-diner and living space.
Eva’s clients, who spend most of their time in the countryside, were also keen to add an extra wash-space, as they share their flat with a family member who lives here full-time. So she got rid of the bathroom to incorporate two neat shower rooms and a utility cupboard.
In the kitchen, Eva removed the wall where the washing machine was previously located to create an open-plan living space. “It would have been very difficult to move the boiler in a second-floor apartment,” Eva says, “so we left it in place and covered it with a cupboard.”
Eva asked her builder to construct simple MDF kitchen units that reach the ceiling. Inside, the shelves are adjustable, so the owners can tailor the storage to their needs.
“We chose integrated appliances, as they’re easy on the eye in an open-plan space,” Eva says. “The green glass tiles are reflective and warm, and give some depth to the white kitchen.”
The circular table can accommodate four people and is light enough to be moved around the room. “The single leg is very important in a small space,” Eva says, “as it allows people to sit comfortably around the surface.”
Eva tucked an office area into the space behind the sofa. “The trestle table can be folded away if the owners want to move it,” she says. “The cupboard with opaque doors keeps any junk hidden away.”
In the living room, Eva lined up the sofa, coffee table and TV stand to create an uncluttered, harmonious feel. The monochrome, block-patterned rug anchors the space.
The simple translucent blind rolls up neatly to let in maximum light from the south-facing window.
In the hallway, Eva aimed to create a welcoming and practical space. Cushioned vinyl floor tiles have been laid in here and everywhere else, apart from the bedrooms.
A wall mirror sits above a small shelf and a row of hooks. “Positioning the coat hooks at a lower height is less cluttered than if they’re at eye level,” Eva explains. “They’re hung 1.2m above the floor, as none of our coats are any longer than that.”
A neat picture shelf above the radiator provides a handy surface and doesn’t block the heat.
Previously, the hallway felt a little squashed, with a darker floor and hooks at eye level.
Eva replaced the original four-panelled internal doors with modern ones. The opaque glass allows light to flow through the flat while maintaining privacy.
The master bedroom has a pure wool carpet and a king-size bed with storage below. Two vintage bedside tables with sliding doors are space-saving and prevent the owners knocking into any sharp corners when they get out of bed.
A basin in the original bedroom was removed to create a doorway to the new en suite.
Eva also moved the main bedroom door right up to the corner (see floor plan), which allowed her to widen the fitted wardrobe slightly and created more space in the hallway for a utility cupboard.
The fitted cupboards are a combination of Ikea interiors and bespoke doors. “The wardrobes are 2.3m high, while the ceiling is 2.6m high,” Eva says. “So by fitting full-height doors, we’ve created an extra shelf between the top of the wardrobe and the ceiling.”
In the tiny en suite, Eva had to think carefully about how best to use the space. “Every centimetre had to prove itself,” she laughs.
A shower slots into a recess on the right, while a compact toilet, small basin, and towel radiator are tucked into the area straight ahead.
“Wall hooks are key in a space like this,” Eva says. “In here, there are hooks everywhere – in the shower, on the wall by the basin and on the back of the door.”
A mirrored cabinet above the basin provides useful storage and appears to double the space.
The neat basin features a soap dish and a practical tray where the owners can keep toiletries handy.
“I prefer to tile only halfway up in a bathroom, as it’s nice acoustically to have some plaster,” Eva says.
The doorway in the second bedroom was also moved along to the edge, which made room for a wardrobe with light-reflecting mirrored doors.
As there was only room for one bedside table, Eva installed a picture shelf above the bed. Two clip-on reading lamps have been attached to the ledge.
Another shower room leads off from the hallway and includes many of the same features as the en suite.
“The shower is just 70cm across, but its 120cm length makes it feel quite big,” Eva says.
Once again, hooks provide essential storage. “I’ve been in larger bathrooms that feel quite cramped,” she says, “whereas this room feels spacious, as there’s somewhere to put everything.”
Between the two shower rooms is a useful laundry cupboard, hidden away behind streamlined doors.
The space inside was carefully worked out and is 75cm wide and 60cm deep to accommodate the washing machine. There’s a shelf above the machine for stashing laundry essentials, and a shelf at the top for towels and linen.
Eva also installed a hanging rail 1m higher than the surface, which is enough room for most garments.
Hooks on the back of the door and on the adjacent wall provide extra storage.