The site presented a number of challenges, including a house over 150 years old, the proximity to a Special Area of Conservation (River Nore) and the existing topography. Although not protected through statutory designation the original house with its modest scale and unassuming architectural aspirations makes a contribution to our quality of life by informing us of our past and adding visual interest to the environment. The project aimed to preserve the heritage while making a contemporary architectural statement derived from a conservation objective. The brief asked for additional accommodation to meet current lifestyle demands. An adaptive reuse of the existing house was envisaged. The new volumes create an amicable relationship with the old house, mimicking it in a contemporary way. Early in the design process a strong direction was identified as being the one that would respect the existing forest while taking full advantage of the river views. The concept strongly evolved from this direction and the relationship with the old house. The new pitched roofs create an interesting rhythm reinforced by the flat roofs that link all elements together. The rhythm and scale are designed to enhance and respect the surrounding landscape. The compartmentalisation of the overall footprint greatly reduces its massing and visual impact. The rhythm, the relationship with the old house and the respect by the surrounding area were crucial to develop the design. A new axis was also created to link the different elements. This axis regulates the space by creating a clear circulation path that works like a journey of discovery around the house. The main living space provides a vibrant family room that fosters social cohesion by bringing the family together. The house aims to be as functional and adaptable as possible. The natural light and views are captured and framed to enhance the all experience. Full open views to the river are enjoyed from the main living space. The visual connection to outside is provided by openings that give easy access to outside terraces. The project uses building materials that convey a sense of “belonging” in the setting of the area. The main external materials – rendered walls and natural stone slates - have a traditional character and are durable materials that have proven performance in the Irish climate. The design follows climate-responsive design principles, such as good solar orientation and the inclusion of concrete floors for thermal mass.