This week in the Examiner, Kieran McCarthy of KMC Homes provides advice on the cost of swapping rooms in your house.

Q. My parents live in a poorly designed 1980s dormer bungalow in the Bishopstown/Waterfall area of Cork. The kitchen/dining room is north facing while the living room is south-facing and bathed in light. Would it be an easy job to swap these two rooms around and do you have any idea of the cost?

A. I guess when dormer bungalows were originally developed, there was less attention given to spatial layout and, even more importantly, to the path of the sun. As we know, the sun rises in the East and then travels through the South to eventually set in the West. When dormer bungalows were being designed, they were more of a standard design that was replicated, as opposed to a bespoke design tracking the daytime path of the sun, so we can see the origin of your mother’s design quandary. So, how do we fix it?

I am assuming here that the kitchen/dining and the living room occupy similar amounts of space and that we do not therefore need to start knocking down walls to accommodate. What we will need to do, however, is to take for an amount of window/sliding door alterations so we ensure your new kitchen/dining area connects with your south-facing garden (whether it is at the front or rear of your property).

So I am assuming we need a good sized sliding door, say 2.4m wide, and we need to have a window sized to sit above a kitchen sink, at the north end of the property we need to account for a large picture window for the sitting room. It may be that you can recycle some of these windows if they are in good condition (say no more than five years old) or, as is more likely, you may need to buy anew.

Next we need to consider your fireplace. I am assuming that you may have had a solid fuel or gas stove in place in the sitting room, perhaps in an existing chimney. If so, we need to move this to the new location. If we have a low profile elevation outside, we could site the flue externally. This is certainly best done by an experienced stove fitter as you are potentially dealing with noxious emissions.

The next, and more exciting, part of the puzzle is your kitchen layout. I am assuming now that you are going to fit a new kitchen and therefore your kitchen company will work up a new kitchen design for you. Once this is complete you will need to account for the location of all your new services. This will entail a series of new electrical points, switches and lighting, but, and probably more difficult to accommodate, you will need to consider a new plumbing and likely ventilation layout.

View full article in The Examiner here.