An existing outline planning permission stipulated that the house was to be kept a considerable distance away from the lake, which would have made it impossible to relate it closely with the water, while also making it more prominent in the landscape. Using photomontages, Anderson persuaded the planners to rescind the original condition and approve a split-level house on four levels near the water’s edge, nestled within the largely undisturbed landscape and without a formal garden, only an elegant agglomeration of great boulders in front of the bedrooms.
The house has rendered walls, a simple fibre-cement slate roof and a dry-stone rubble boundary – the same palette of materials he used at Castlepark. “Generally, wherever we’re building, we try to limit the number of materials,” Anderson told PLAN in the summer of 1974. “We [Irish] are not like the Continentals,” he said. “[When] they build something, they build it well. We’re always skimping and cutting corners with the result that our buildings are an amalgam of all different materials and textures and colours.” There was no corner cutting at Golden Bay for this exquisitely refined, yet modest, house.
The house is casually pulled up onto the hillside from the shoreline. A gentle slip rises to the garage-cum-boathouse (big enough to take two typical Lough Corrib boats, commissioned to a traditional design), its maw projecting forward from the house, with service rooms behind. Also on the lower level are a full-depth hall and a pair of children’s bedrooms. To their rear and up half a level is a guest room with a tall corner window offering an angled view to the lake. The projecting master suite sits atop the children’s rooms in a fibre-cement-clad oriel that shares a fire breast and a plain timber balcony with the pine-ceilinged living room. A long, thin, open-plan kitchen, utility room, dining area and planted terrace set half a level below, on the roof of the boathouse, completes the accommodation of this timeless, now-vanished, 1970’s classic.
“O well for the fisherman’s boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!
“And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!”
– Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘Break, Break, Break’ (1835/42)