A Brady Bunch-style home with an ‘Out of Africa’ look — this Tipp home still making Banner headlines, says Trish Dromey.
Elegant and extra spacious with a distinctive African twist, Ballycuddymore House in Tipperary might be described as a Brady Bunch-style home.
The five-bed house is, like the one in the US sit com, designed to accommodate a blended family — one which came about when an Irish man with two children met and married a Zimbabwean woman with three children and who, together, went on to have two more of their own.
In 2005, they bought this renovated and extended farmhouse in Tipperary, and then they extended and renovated some more.
“When we moved in we had six children under the age of 11 and have had another since then. The family was growing and the house had to grow with it,’’’ says the owner Shane Moran who, very fortunately, happens to be a builder.
Even before they moved to Ireland from South Africa, his wife Caron had spotted and admired Ballycuddymore on the internet.
A 19th century stone farmhouse which had been renovated by a carpenter from New Zealand in the 1990s, it had great charm as well as over an acre of land with space for both children and horses.
Months later, while looking at other houses in the area, they were delighted to discover that Ballycuddymore was still available. “We saw it, loved it and put in an offer the next day,’’ reveals Shane.
Thirteen years on, the house extends to over 3,800 sq ft and has an estimated three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two sitting rooms and a sunroom/dining room more than it had when they bought it. It also has a cedar clad one-bed cottage as well as stables and a sand arena.
Still very much a traditional style property, it has been given a very distinctive look by Caron who filled it with African paintings, furniture and animal skin rugs and also added on two African style verandas.
“We didn’t want sharp edges or modern glass – we wanted to keep the traditional nature of the house and expand on it,’’ says Shane explaining that he renovated a tongue and groove ceiling in one of the rooms and added ceiling beams in the main living areas.
While Shane took care of the alterations and the additions, Caron handled almost everything else.
She chose white for the majority of the walls, decorating with colorful furniture and a multitude of paintings and photographs.
The tiled entrance at the front of the house has a piano, a seated teddy bear and like almost every room in the house, walls covered with framed photos and artwork.
Located at the centre of the extra spacious property is a traditional style sitting room which has a large fireplace with a stove, white walls, timber ceiling beams and mostly red furniture including a sofa rescued from a charity shop.
A striking painting of Nguni African cattle and a large animal skin rug show the strong African influence.
An archway with a sliding door connects the sitting room to the kitchen, which has recently been redone with cream units, granite worktops, a large oak topped island unit with a breakfast bar.
Adjoining the kitchen is a spacious bright, highly glazed sunroom/dining room with a ceiling beam and a huge old table from a Limerick rectory, which Caron purchased at auction.
To the rear there’s a lounge which the family call the Africa room. “The walls are covered in painting from Tendai, a self-taught artist who uses vibrant colours in his African scenes,” explains Caron.
The first project carried out after they moved in, was the addition of a large master bedroom on the ground floor. This has an en suite with a free-standing bath and a shower as well a dressing room with a fireplace which was once the parlor.
Other rooms at this level include another living room, a laundry room, a mudroom, an office and a guest WC. At the top of the stairs is an oak floored games room with extensive shelving.
The first floor also has the main bathroom and four bedrooms, two en suite and one with a walk in wardrobe. There’s also a small study/family photo gallery.
Outside there are two blue-pillared verandas — one over the entrance and another at a gable end with a decked seating area.
Fitted with oil heating and double glazing, the house has an air to water heat pump which provides a plentiful hot water supply for a family of nine.
Much of the site is given over to paddock but the Morans put in a sand area, as well as a stable block and tack room.
Two years ago Shane added on a modern cedar clad 680 sq ft cottage for Caron’s parents which has a bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen/diner and living area.
Located around eight kilometers from Nenagh and 30 from Limerick, Ballycuddymore is also within 15 kilometres of Lough Derg.
Seeking offers of €765,000, selling agents DNG Michael Gilmartin says it’s a unique property with stylish and comfortable living space which beautifully combines old world features and contemporary design.
Mr Gilmartin expects it to have strong appeal to executive buyers in Shannon and Limerick.
VERDICT: Spacious enough for even the largest of families.
Nenagh, Co Tipperary
Size: 358 sq m (3,853 sq ft)