Operating from the pre-commencement stage is different to pursuing competitive tenders he says, but Visioneer has found the architecture firms it has worked with see the value in involving the building team during the design period. ‘We bring our subcontractors on board to assist with coordination of services, and it means during the pricing stage we’ve built the project in our head and can hit the ground running once construction begins,’ James says. ‘We can be working on a project for two or three years before we even start building.’
Given the scale and grandeur of the plans for Rathgar House, which included a spectacular three-level rear addition and an enormous underground basement (connected by a glass lift no less), the project was always going to be a complex and lengthy undertaking. The difficulties were multifaceted too, with each stage and area of the home providing Visioneer layered challenges to address.
From the outset, the clients desired a sensitive response to the original heritage home, one that would honour, and allow them to enjoy, its history. This meant a simple facelift to the frontage: fresh paint, roof resurfacing and new spouting. Internally, however, painstaking paintwork in moody tones was required for a swanky cocktail lounge and a master study, while in-fill patching of existing decorative wall panels necessitated an ingenious solution. To replicate the panels (rather than removing and replacing them all), Visioneer meticulously made a silicone mould to create new plaster mouldings.
‘It was a complex process, but we’re really proud of the outcome since it maintained that original look and feel which the clients wanted,’ James says.
Hauling heavy New York marble stone to the second storey master ensuite without any casualties was also ‘no mean feat in itself’. Each piece was book matched for the veins to run seamlessly along the walls and around the double vanity – and the effect is explosive. The room borders the edge between the old and new section of the home, and with the swirling stone patterns, black granite floor tiling and a black Kaldewei Centro Duo bath, it continues the dark, opulent tones consistently found in other parts of the original structure.