Donegal architect scoops award for contemporary cottage renovation

written by Rachel McLaughlin July 10, 2023

A leading architect from Donegal has won an award in the UK for an innovative family home renovation and extension.

Brid Carr from Falcarragh is a Director at Randell Design Group in Chichester in the south east of England.


She recently celebrated winning a Sussex Heritage Trust Award for the ‘South Downs Cottage’. The project involved the full renovation of two original Georgian estate cottages, which are understood to date back to 1795.

The buildings were restored to their original flint glory and extended in a contemporary yet sensitive way to take full advantage of the rural location and views. The design incorporates two glass extensions at both ends of the home, creating a large new kitchen and annex with a sauna.

South Downs Cottage: Randell Design Group

South Downs Cottage: Randell Design Group

Brid worked alongside other consultants to ensure this home met strict planning considerations across heritage, local associations, and the South Downs National Park.

She explained: “It is not dissimilar to if you were doing something in Glenveagh National Park, you have a huge amount of regulations to follow and wildlife to consider, like the flight path of birds, bats, the glare at nighttime, preserving the trees and protecting a heritage aspect stone wall.”

Brid developed an interest in heritage buildings in Donegal. One of her first jobs was as a guide in Glebe Gallery at Gartan. There, she gained a love for beautiful old buildings and how, with care, they can be brought back to life.


Brid studied architecture at UCD and in France. Now 20 years in England, Brid first began practising in London before moving to the south coast. She joined the award-winning Randell Design Group four years ago. The 20-strong team of architects and interior designers specialise in high-end residential projects running from new builds to refurbishments.

The South Downs Cottage landed on Brid’s desk three years ago. The project spanned over lockdown, but in the end, it was well worth the effort. And a great team effort it was too. Brid has shared her appreciation for her colleagues and for the homeowners,  Amanda and Craig Talbot.

Interior Designer and Homeowner Amanda Talbot and Architect Brid Carr

“The owners are thrilled to be in the house. Most of all they love the privacy it gives them on one side facing the road and the endless views on the other side which opens up to fields,” Brid said.

The Sussex Heritage Trust Awards took place on July 4th. South Downs Cottage was awarded in the Small Scale Residential category – marking a great seal of approval from the charity established to preserve, improve and encourage the appreciation of the architectural and natural landscape of Sussex.

South Downs Cottage: Randell Design Group

Homeowner Amanda Talbot, who recently joined Randell Design as an Interior Design Associate, shared her delight with the recognition.

“Craig & I were delighted to be nominated for a Sussex Heritage Award by Randell Design Group, and were thrilled to win! We are pleased that our home has been recognised by Sussex Heritage Trust for both the restoration work and for the modern extensions that make the most of the natural light and views. We loved working with Brid and all the talented people involved in bringing this project to life,” Amanda said.

As the celebrations die down, Brid is back to the drawing board working on other exciting builds. She is also looking forward to returning home to see family in Donegal in the coming weeks.

See more photos and a video tour of the cottage at: