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Design Guide for Rural Northern Ireland
Scheme Design: Other


The treatment of windows and doors should be equally simple, with large areas of glass being avoided as far as possible.. In some modern schemes, where energy efficiency is a priority, large glazed walls may be necessary but these will be designed as part of the overall form of the building and given a vertical emphasis.
Where large windows are necessary, these can be successfully divided into a number of vertical elements.


Chimneys form a strong vertical contrast to the horizontal shape. They should be placed on the ridge and be visually robust. Lightweight flues can be relatively unobtrusive and may be located on the roof slope, if carefully detailed.

Eaves and Verges

In the countryside, eaves and verges were by tradition plain and simple. In particular the projecting verge or the flush verge and the slightly projecting eaves are 'rural' details which respect local styles.

Materials and Colours

Much of the character of the Northern Ireland landscape has derived from the limited range of traditional materials and colours, usually rendered walls with thatched or slated roofs. A restrained use of materials is quite appropriate for a modern dwelling and is in keeping with the tradition. Too many materials can produce an unsuitable fussy design.
Facing brick which has been increasingly used in recent years, has often proved to be incongruous and inappropriate in particular rural settings. Great care, therefore, should be taken to check if brick is a suitable walling material in the circumstances and that the colour, texture and detailing are appropriate. Artificial slates and plain concrete tiles reflect local characteristics.
The natural colours in the countryside vary from place to place and local characteristics give an indication of suitable colours for new buildings. It is inappropriate to use strong colours on large areas of walls or on roofs. In general, buildings should have roofs which appear darker than the walls. Details are best in a neutral colour such as white, grey or black. Doors can be painted in brighter colours.
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