Something old and new

Skibbereen townhouse is fully renovated and extended, with excellent use of materials, writes Tommy Barker

No 57 St Facthna’s Terrace, Skibbereen, has a traditional look (left) at the front, but is more modern at the back and inside.

OLD — or at least traditional-looking - in front, new and very contemporary in a box extension sort of way to the rear, and comfortable throughout in the middle — that’s the run-through on this St Fachtna’s Terrace home in West Cork’s Skibbereen.

Essentially a mid-terraced townhouse, No 57 St Fachtna’s Terrace has just come through a full renovation and extension, with a slickly-finished add-on on the rear, externally clad in a fibre-cement board which is more commonly seen on commercial offices and buildings.

The house was bought several years ago as a do-er up project by a local town professional, using the services of architect Conor Kinsella and builder Dan Hodnett, and she didn’t stint one cent on the finishes and materials.

With the assured design input, it has swelled from a basic two-bed to a three-bed upstairs, with front-to-back open space at ground level, and has almost 1,300 sq ft of quality living space in total.

Agent Pat Maguire guides No 57 at €189,000, and says other two-beds in the terrace in a more original state would sell for about €100,000, needing everything.

Here’s it’s a walk-in job, within a few minutes walk of Skib central, and the St Fahtna profile now is very much owner-occupier, says Mr Maguire.

As a bonus to the handy location, the views behind to the west, are expansive, towards the mounded hills by Lough Hyne.

With its eco-sensibilities the finished, highly insulated house has a B2 energy rating (practically unheard of for a home of this period), with a solid fuel stove in the front sitting room, and an electric heat pump for underfloor heating elsewhere, plus a pressurised water system.

The first floor’s main bathroom is hotel-suite standard, with pumped steam multi-jet shower and bells and whistles; it’s even got a remote control for some of its functions (but what use it might be with shampoo in your eyes is uncertain.)

There’s a picture window in the walnut-floored rear master bedroom, which has access to a balcony, there are two other bedrooms (neither particularly large), and Stira access to a floored attic. Back at ground level, there’s a shower bathroom, utility, kitchen with Shaker style units.

The look to the rear’s a complete visual contrast to the front facade where faith has been kept to the original 1930s period with fresh harling dash, the timber front door inset into a compact porch is a mossy green ‘heritage’ colour, and the four window opes along here are small, aping older cottage style.

Auctioneer Pat Maguire has just started showing No 57, and he says it’s a great home for a single or a couple. He describes it as being in showhouse order — even if the furniture and some of the light fittings work against the contemporary look being aimed at.

VERDICT: No 57’s extension and upgrade can hold its head up in the swankiest of company.

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