Modern Irish small house plans inspire me. They influence my own designs. The understated no-fuss simplicity is particularly attractive. And like the honesty of construction is very appealing.
Down to earth.
There is a lot of bad design around us, so here highlighted are examples of what we at Islandhomeplans.com call good design. You may not agree which is perfectly fine.
Those who enjoy understated residential design will enjoy this article…hopefully.
Source of the Modern Irish Small House Plan – History
Irish history owns its fair share of pain and suffering. And the traditional Irish cottage which has stood with its people through the centuries (probably the original Irish small house plan) often consisted of 3 basic, squalid rooms.
Irish cottages of yester-year carry the core layout for even Irish modern small house plans today. The quirky, beautiful, country cottages – and even those which are just simple shelters – from the weather – speak to the unique and fascinating history, culture and lifestyle of the people of this emerald isle.
Today there are still so many modern Irish small house plans that still follow the same basic linear plan of lobby, open living space and bedrooms!
(Note …bathrooms were not included…of course.)
Upscaled from the simple cottage was the farmhouse, normally two storied with a family living room and a “reception” room which was the room for receiving guests. To this day, finer homes show off the additional reception room separate from the family living space used daily.
More recent Irish small house plans often consist of a hall leading to a back muck room. Off the hall there is often a family room and a formal reception room opposite, if you were lucky to have the money! Sometimes the kitchen/dining is to the rear , sometimes to the front, walled off. and the bathroom would also be to the rear. Today smaller homes have evolved from these layouts.
What did those cottages normally look like?
Here was the typical cottage. Sometimes the roofs were hipped, sometimes they used tin roofs.
Today there aren’t many thatched roofs left but I managed to find one!
Modern Irish Small House Plans: Old Elements
Irish small cottage houses, some of them original, have been spruced up to make new homes. The traditional small house plan layouts with the thick stone walls, whitewashed or left in natural stone have been efficient in retaining heat in the cold wet climate.
This old stone cottage above (complete with gable walls and a tin roof), converted to a luxury love nest rental, shows how old Irish small house plans can upgraded for modern use while retaining original features. In this case here, the concrete extension mimics the original cottage and links the two structures to make a bigger house.
The cottage walls may be uneven but the renovation has underfloor heating and a modern kitchenette. Even roof skylights have been added without losing the original feel of the cottage.
Modern Irish Small House Plans: Modern Links
Have a look at how old venacular cottage elements have created charming and elegant homes today. Small house plans linked with clean modern lines work so well together as the textures contrast and complement.
In this example, the exposed cottage stone texture already contrasts with the clean smooth whitewashed plastered cottage. Linking them with an understated and precisely engineered glass and steel box is a simple and elegant idea – as they say in Ireland “it’s class”.
Old Making New Even With Small Houseplans
Taking old to make new is an Irish talent. Here below two old cottages were spruced up using contracting stone and whitewash and joined with a modern glass link! I love the blotchy uneven stone next to precision glass and steel next to clean sharp whitewash. Perfect!.
The effect has raised the bar and revalued the property at a much higher level while adding much needed space.
Linking old rubbly structures with new engineered elements is a brilliant, tried and tested technique of using contrasting materials for links, is a good tool to have in your design kit. This design below is actually in Cape Cod…Massachusetts…but it is a good example!
Just the ticket for you! Maybe not as large as this one in Cape Cod, but juxtaposing the new against old uneven materials is a tactic often used in modern Irish small house plans.
Irish Modern Small House Plans: Linear Gabled Forms
Many Irish modern small homes have enhanced the ancient linear cottage forms with white pristine plastered walls and balanced openings. By retaining tin roofs but changing the colour of the standing seam cladding to charcoal and using dark framed glazing and black or grey pipework, new homes appear culturally Irish, understatedly modern and attractively simple and accessible.
New homes for sale here! Again the venacular pops through to the Irish modern small house plan design. No need for ostentacious architectural elements. Just proportion, contrast (here is black wood and white washed stone,) balance and understated elegance. In the examples of homes we show (with the same gabled walls), horizontal dark wood cladding against the white plaster provides an eye catching contrast.
Another option shown was to modernize the Irish cottage plan to a double storey, similar to the farmhouse. Here the linear cottage shape is brought to the 21st century by the double storey glazing on the gable wall. Clean lines, sharp white plastered walls and charcoal window frames, cladding and pipework emphasize the latest trending style.
Evolving the old cottage design, this modern two storey modern home below has the gable was cut out and replaced with glass! (And the chimney stack adds some fun!) I actually found a similar design which had just been completed in the countryside… although a bit bigger!
Modern Version of the Small Irish Cottage
This extension / garden cottage and large glass opening the is modern and simple. By using sliding panels of wood contrasting with chopped wood texture, clean white walls and large glass openings, the shed extension is attractive, elegant.
This Irish modern small house plan nods to the Irish cottage venacular using the elements in a modern minimalist way. I love the panels of wood boards , the large glass opening and the texture of chopped firewood storage.
Modern Irish Small House Plan Ideas: Terraced House Renos
This 763 sq feet, 3 bed end of terrace house was up for sale in Cork, fitting a very tight site in the city centre. With a few renovations, the makeover took the old terrace to a whole new level.
New hardwood floors, new roof, new windows were added.
Modern Irish small house plans from old terraced houses in the towns are great examples of design renovations. Extensions and rearrangements of rooms and finishes bring the homes to the 21st century.
The most up to date renovation point was improving the long dark kitchen.
This is another great design idea…another tool to add to your set for design.
The long dark kitchen was made more spacious and bright by upgrading the old terrace with large patio doors to the narrow space outside and by adding a few rooflights,
Bye bye dingy space.
Upgrading The Mews
The super expensive mews houses have been re-purposed in city centre with amazing interiors and additions to bring in light where it was once dark.This front wall creates privacy and style.
Charm and history aside, mews living has its drawbacks. Their Achilles heel has always been limited space and lack of daylight. (Traditional mews had no windows at the rear so servants couldn’t spy on their masters).
By using a modern front wall , this mews house easily modernizes an old mews house facade. Behind the wall is an attractive courtyard and additional light via french doors with full glass.
looking out to the small private walled gardens. Adding glass conservatories add space and more light!! Their simple facades can open up to wonderful internal spaces. These components modernize old urban mews homes, increasing the value.
Modern Small House Plans Can
Impact Your Small Home Designs
The traditional Irish house is truly a core design for small homes, simple and efficient. The way the Irish architects and homeowners have upgraded and modernized their old cottages inspires us to look at their design toolkit for inspiration for our own small house plan designs.
- Use venacular or the old core designs of your region and upgrade them
- Use contrasting materials with contrasting colours and/or textures
- Add traditional elements revamped
- Juxtapose modern elements against old
- Add lots of light by making new openings or extending openings
- Use modern exterior elements, pavers, walls, fences etc
Traditional house plans, traditional building elements and components, modern juxtaposed materials and contrasting colours will create your new small house plan design with class and quality.