House design in rural Ireland #NarrowPlan

Rural House Guidelines – Narrow depth plans

There are several consistent themes running through every County Council in Ireland regarding rural house design:

• Simple plan forms
• Traditional roof pitches (35-55 deg)
• Narrow plan depth

It’s this last point I’m going to focus on here…

What exactly is a narrow plan?

Traditionally Irish houses would have only been a single room deep. A room of this depth can be lit from a single window (especially importrant when glass was taxed!) and was generally in the region of 5-6 metres deep.

It is this type of depth that the planning authortities are currently asking for; below is a screen-grab from the Mayo Rural House Guide with their recommendations:


We are currently working on a house where the resulting depth is 6.5 metres (part elevation below):


It then got me thinking to what our own house was. Designed long before any Design Guides (including the original one from Cork) and is now a house cited as a good example of rural design in County Mayo, below is the original CAD drawing of the relevant part and ‘as constructed’



Depth of plan = 6.3metres approx – #NailedIt

The conclusion that I’m trying to make is that it is possible to get great design within the constraints of Planning Authorities. In fact these constraints are encouraging good design based on proportions and scale that are familiar in the Irish rural landscape.

For further reading check out the following Council Rural House Guides (more are available – these are the areas I work in)





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