How to Build a Loft

Lately cold draughts invade through crevices and we look towards insulation.

Note that above the stove – the upper flagstones of the chimney breast have been obscured by roof braces


We reckon that three braces can be removed without compromising the strength of the roof


This way all seven chimney flags can be seen

and timber cladding can meet them right up to the apex


Sheep’s wool insulation  –  so clean and soft – you could actually wear it!


Behold the small attic space formed in the room’s center


Then looking towards the opposite gable


   a darling dresser 


It dictates the new dimensions of a sleeping loft.

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Carpenter Brendan Gavigan

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The loft hangs down from rafters to skim the dresser top, and is secured by bolts top and bottom

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Strong enough to dispense with the need for any annoying supporting post

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and leaves a clearance of six-foot-two beneath

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Traditional to many Irish cottages and accessed by a ladder through a hatch – the loft was storage space for flour and oats – as well as being a cosy bedroom for large numbers of children 

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A timely addition as the first winter storms blow across the lakes of Donegal


7 thoughts on “How to Build a Loft

  1. Too beautiful to believe, that will a very cozy sleep in the coming Winter. And that gorgeous dresser! Is the white wash to its right a test for the whole interior?

    1. The white wash is indeed a test patch, particularly because that gable contains recycled stones which, originally being from a chimney wall, have become impregnated with turf soot. This has leached through into the white wash producing a brownish staining.

  2. I sometimes ask people “Have you ever fallen downstairs “? It fills a gap in the conversation .The large numbers of children makes me wonder if large numbers of children have fallen down a ladder. What a tangle that would be .

    1. The children were put up to sleep up ladders precisely because they were limber! In coastal areas (islands particularly) much rheumatism was caused by washing blankets in salt water – which left a lingering dampness in beds.

  3. Great post! Interesting about washing blankets in salt water. I suppose the salt kept on drawing moisture. That cottage is beautiful…so lovingly worked on…a work of art. Love the cottage in your new header pic too. So bright and cheery looking.

    1. Hi Bridget – I was searching for a passage where I’d read about washing clothes in salt water, and it was by written by Synge, published in 1907 after he visited the Aran Islands. There are few fresh water springs on those islands, and in recent times due to rising water levels, the islands face ever increasing water shortages.

      ”The water for washing is also coming short, and as I walk round the edges of the sea, I often come on a girl with her petticoats tucked up round her, standing in a pool left by the tide and washing her flannels among the sea-anemones and crabs. Their red bodices and white tapering legs make them as beautiful as tropical sea-birds, as they stand in a frame of seaweeds against the brink of the Atlantic. Michael, however, is a little uneasy when they are in sight, and I cannot pause to watch them. This habit of using the sea water for washing causes a good deal of rheumatism on the island, for the salt lies in the clothes and keeps them continually moist.”

      Thanks for your compliments on our cottage which is coming along slowly. The cheery header picture cottage with the yellow windows, is on Inis Óirr!

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