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Winkens Architecture
Whitestown, Drinagh
Wexford, Ireland
t. +353(0)53 9126605
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we only live once

This article was written for the Irish Market and was published in an Irish newspaper

So after much thought and calculating you have come to the happy conclusion that you can afford to build your own home.
There are quite a number of things that should be taken under consideration for the fulfilment of ones dreamhouse.

The location of your house is quite important. Is the future neighbourhood nice, even in rural settings you ought to be aware of what is going on around you. Try to imagine what it will be like all year round, throughout the four seasons. If you are on a main road, is traffic going to raise seasonal?

In any case it is much better to place your house set back from the road. This will reduce the noise level inside and give your children more room to play out front. Parking is also important and should be considered.

A good sized site will ensure that peace and quiet will remain yours in the future too. Because you like the location there are probably more to follow your footsteps.


In selecting a site keep a look out for the path of the sun, a view (if any) and the prevailing winds. These points, when taken into consideration and integrated into the design enhance a dwelling tremendously. Think of the environmental impact of your new house. If your site is in the countryside try to avoid going for a two-storey style. A single storey bungalow is less obstructive because it can blend more harmoniously into the landscape. The highest point of a site it not always the best spot for a dwelling, the more exposed the location the more wind and weather you will have to endure.
At this very early stage one should also not forget the remaining rest of the site. Does the oil/gas tank really have to be that visible? With thoughtful positioning and planting of trees and scrubs one can easily hide it.
But even if you can not go ahead right away and landscape your entire site, a few flowers are planted fairly fast and can be such a pleasure to look at.
Trees, blocking off the prevailing winds are likely to lower your future heating costs as well as enrich the look of the building.
Should you be so lucky and find a site with mature trees try to maintain them if you possibly can, they will certainly increase the overall value of your settlement.
Following the purchase of a site you should strongly consider choosing an qualified Architect to design your house. There are quite a number of advantages to go to a professional.
A little time and thought at the beginning of your building process may save a lot of hardship and unpleasant surprises later. One should never forget that our surroundings make an important contribution to all our well-being. The way we live influences the way we feel.
After all, we only live once.

zeno winkens architect (c) 1991/2017

"The Goal of life is living in agreement with nature"  Zeno, (335BC - 264BC) greek philosopher