Presented by architect Dermot Bannon, Room to Improve is about changing how we live through design and adaptation in simple ways without spending vast amounts of money.
With a range of budgets and demanding clients, Dermot Bannon balances his role as designer with that of diplomat, mediator and project manager as he fights his corner with feisty contractors and has his diplomacy skills tested by clients who know exactly what they want.
24 Feb – 01 March: Episode 2 – Rush
Farmer and boatbuilder Enda and his wife Mags live on a 55-acre brussels sprout farm at Balheary near Swords in North Dublin.
After three decades of life in the country, they’re moving back to Enda’s home town – the picturesque seaside village of Rush.
Their new home, formerly owned by Enda’s aunt is an old fisherman’s house near the harbour, but as Dermot is about to discover, Enda is NO ordinary client.
With big plans for a large extension and a viewing turret, Enda decides to manage the project himself as a self-build.
Episode 3 – Moate
Moate in County Westmeath, is a place where football is part sport, part religion. On an overgrown plot on the outskirts of town lies the abandoned future home of county GAA All Star Dessie Dolan, his wife Kelly and their 3-year-old son Nathan.
Schoolteachers Dessie and Kelly have bought themselves a dilapidated cottage on a hopelessly exposed site in the village of Moate. Hemmed in by a housing estate, a golf course and an old railway line, they want a family home with the one thing this site doesn’t offer – privacy.
Dermot’s impressive initial design comes with a few questions, namely Kelly and the size of her beloved utility room.
Episode 4 – Sutton
Healthcare trainer Hannah, candle store owner James and their twin sons are hoping to upgrade and extend the 1960s house where Hannah grew up in Sutton.
But with so many family memories tied up in the place, their architect will have to tread very carefully.
To give the couple the ‘wow factor’ they’ve asked for, Dermot designs a large L-shaped extension at the rear of the house with a soaring mezzanine level but, even before the plan goes out to tender, QS Lisa and the site engineer Keith realize that Dermot’s ‘piece of magic’ will add 20 grand to the 200K budget.
Episode 5 – Kildalkey
Having rented a house in Navan for the last two years, teacher Celine and sound engineer Dave are excited at the prospect of moving to a farmhouse once owned by her grandparents at Kildalkey village in County Meath, where Celine grew up.
The couple will be the fourth generation to live there and retaining the charm and character of the old place is a major concern for the whole family.
Just one room deep, cold, cramped and hopelessly outdated, the farmhouse is too small to renovate on its own, so Dermot designs a single-story extension within the footprint of a cow barn attached to the gable wall.
Episode 6 – Templeogue
In the three years since newlyweds Rosie and Keith bought their five-bed house in Templeogue, Dublin 6, they haven’t changed a thing. From the dark, cold interiors to the cavity block, flat roofed extension, this house is a relic of 1970s design, with décor to match.
Keen to create a unique take on the rather unimaginative suburban semi, Dermot designs a radical, steep-roofed extension to the rear of the house, much to the concern of the neighbours who worry it will overshadow their garden.
Reducing the height of the extension delays the build and increases the budget, leaving QS Lisa O’Brien struggling to find savings and builder Peter Doyle puzzling over the multiple levels of a complex layout.