Gira has bought its switches to a family home in rural Country Antrim, Northern Ireland.
A remote plot of land, a rather tight budget, and a young family’s dream of their own home – this was the starting point for the House in the Hollow, a unique project that has captivated thousands of followers on Instagram (@thehouseinthehollow). It all started with the birth of Gareth and Lindsey Boyd’s son, Archie. They soon realised they would need more space once he became a toddler and as an architectural technician, Gareth had always dreamed of building his own house – which came in handy, considering that the couple only had a budget of £160,000.
The Boyds put their house on the market in August 2017 to fund their self-build which meant mean they needed to finish their new home as quickly as possible. They were looking for a rural site, with plenty of space for Archie and their dogs Buddy and Ivy. Luckily Gareth found the perfect property a few months later. Located in the countryside of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, the plot included a driveway, a preinstalled waterpipe, and an electric pole in reach: enough for Gareth to get to work. The couple envisioned an open floor plan with a spacious kitchen, dining, and living area at the centre of their home. Sustainability was also a major concern. Apart from using natural materials and finishes, they wanted to keep the building as energy efficient as possible.
As Gareth and Lindsey wanted to build a nature-based home, they decided to go for a timber-frame structure. The facade was fully clad in cedar shingles as the couple loved how the uneven finish blended in with the surrounding scenery. The walls and roof were pumped with cellulose installation and the couple took a fabric-first approach to make their house sustainable, concentrating on the building envelope to reduce their energy consumption. The house’s structure and windows nearly meet the standard of a “passive” home.
Gareth paid special attention to air tightness and installed a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) unit to recycle indoor heat. All in all, this keeps running costs as low as £300 per year.
The Boyds didn’t have a specific style in mind when it came to decorating and furnishing the interior, but they were strongly inspired by scandinavian architecture and design. As the house slowly took shape, they also got a lot of ideas from similar homes on Instagram. For the finishing touches on their walls, they installed Gira Esprit switches in linoleum-plywood. The aesthetic immediately caught Gareth’s eye: a certain simplicity and attention to detail, combined with natural materials. The switches have a stylish and contemporary, yet understated appeal – exactly what he was looking for. They come with an optional push-button operation for integration into the smart home. The surrounds are fully compatible with sensors in the Boyds’ home so that all the thermostats and humidistats look alike. In fact, the switches tie in so well with the rest of the interior, they look as if they have been made for it.
The family has been living in their new house for two years and relish being so close to nature in every season. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do as they focus on landscaping and finishing touches, but it already feels like a true home for Gareth, Lindsay, Archie, Buddy and Ivy.
Jacob Muijnck, Managing Director at Gira UK says, “Building your own home is a hugely rewarding project and something that many people aspire to, so we were delighted to offer our award-winning Design Lines to the self-build market. Sustainability is a huge consideration for us, throughout our business, including our product development, use of raw materials and energy efficiency in the smart home. We are always keen to promote intuitive technology so that as many families as possible can have the utmost comfort and full control of their environment through using our switches, sockets and smart home systems. Designing with future needs in mind is critical for a self-build family home, so Gira has a range of options for Design Lines including linoleum, stainless steel, aluminium, chrome and even glass. Our Gira Esprit Linoleum-Plywood range unites two natural materials which have always been popular with architects and designers, as well as proving robust and versatile.”