Donaghadee

Background

We were approached by the client of this project to completely renovate this building via funding that was solely from the Donaghadee Heritage Initiative fund. This building as it sat when approached by the client was in a state of complete disrepair. The two commercial units to the ground floor were not fit for purpose with numerous damp issues and defects throughout. To the first floor there was a single bed studio apartment which had an exhaustive list of issues including, damp, leaking roofs, non existent insulation in areas and a number of security issues. An additional issue which only became apparent upon inspection of the property was that an adjacent property had built an extension to their property at first floor level over our ground floor retail units to the rear of the site.

Approach

Our initial approach was to firstly interrogate the building, undertake an extensive survey and produce a set of detailed survey drawings from which we could work from. Understanding this complex building was key to the development of the project and gave us a clear oversight into where the most work was required.

We worked closely with the Townscape Heritage Initiative to ensure that the building was restored to a state circa 1930’s. This included reinstating the original front façade including a curved glazed corner window to one of the commercial units, resintatement of the commercial units timber painted pilasters and fascia. The upper portion of the front façade had its windows renovated including the plasterwork around the leaded oculus window. We also reinstated the original decorative parapet wall at eaves level as seen in the historical photographs. As a subtle modern gesture we introduced a more modern plaque in the original location stating the date of the buildings renovation in 2016.

The apartment to the first floor was completely modernised to comply with current building control renovations. We were also able to utilise the height of the building during replacement of the roof. We cut away the damaged ceiling exposing the underside of the roof and were able to insert a new mezzanine level and additional bedroom to increase the lettable nature of the project.

This project, albeit smaller in scale, demanded a softer approach in terms of design and unearthing its original character. The final outcome is a testament to the work put in by the design team, the encouragement of the funding body and the meticulous workmanship of the contractors on site.

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What a transformation!
— Ards and North Down Borough Council
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