Victorian gem restored to its former glory

Trish Dromey admires a Victorian gem in Tramore whose owners have recently lavished it with the love it deserves.

There’s a touch of Aladdin’s Cave about this beautifully restored and sumptuously decorated Victorian property at 7 Bellevue Terrace in Tramore.

Its high-ceilinged rooms have the cornicing, the chandeliers, and the gilt mirrors that they were meant to have, and the house now looks every bit as grand, possibly even more so, than it did when the 5th Marquess of Waterford built it as a holiday home in 1850.

Dating from the time when Tramore was developed as a Victorian seaside resort, it is one of a terrace of eight holiday homes, which were rented out to gentry who came to take the sea air.

Retained in the hands of local landowning family, the de la Poer Beresfords, until the 1960s, it was a derelict wreck with rainwater coming through the ceiling when the current owners bought it five years ago.

“We saw it on the Internet, came to see it and fell in love with it,” say the owners, who have devoted major effort and expense to restoring its splendour.

The interior walls were painted yellow, the roof and windows and just about everything needed fixing when they bought it. “The moulding and the Kilkenny marble fireplace were some of the few surviving original features,” say the owners who put on a new roof, new sash windows, replastered, rewired, and re-plumbed and also dry-lined and insulated. Finally they decorated, filling the house up with antique furniture, paintings and photographs.

Damask-style gold wallpaper in the living areas and an elaborately -carved four-poster bed are among the more striking additions. “It’s an original Regency bed made with Cuban mahogany which was used as a prop in the Penny Dreadful TV series,” reveals one of the owners, an antique dealer who bought two beds for the house at the props auction.

Bringing in builders to do the heavy work, the couple did some of the work themselves, including repairing the cornicing and wallpapering.

“We started with the drawing room and did one room at a time — and up until recent months we were still making additions.”

With gold and green damask wallpaper, a chandelier, a rococo style mirror gilt framed paintings and a selection of period pieces, the front drawing room looks positively splendid. Once again the room has two large shuttered sash windows and the Kilkenny fireplace has been restored and fitted with an antique French stove. Even the call bell has been put back in working order, despite the fact there are no longer any servants to be summoned with it.

The dining room next door is equally elegant with gold damask wallpaper and an Art Nouveau fireplace and a stove which were both put in during renovations. In the hallway the walls have Laura Ashley floral wallpaper, restored dado rails, and a selection of period-appropriate furniture including a grandfather clock.

The old kitchen was beyond repair, so the owners opted for solid oak country kitchen and painted it duck egg blue, fitting a Stanley stove in the chimney breast.

To the rear, the house has a small utility room and a guest WC.

In some houses, not much effort is spent on decorating stairs, but the owners of this one have used the stairwell as an art gallery and added enough features to ensure that visitors stop and look on their way up. Strikingly decorated in red floral Sanderson wallpaper, it has a mix of old and modern paintings, some antique porcelain plates and a large gilt mirror.

A room which used to be an upstairs drawing room has now been fully restored to its former glory and turned into a bedroom with an Arts and Crafts oak fireplace, a chandelier, and that impressive Regency bed.

From the large sash window in this room there are views of the sea, Brownstown Head and also of the duck pond and the lakes of Tramore.

In the bathroom there’s an original claw-foot Victorian bath which the owners restored after finding it in the overgrown garden at the back. The first floor has three other bedrooms, all decorated in appropriate period style, and the attic space has also been converted.

The owners didn’t stop at recreating the original look of the house, but continued their efforts into the long detached garden at the front.

Stretching to nearly 200 ft, it’s a tiered lawned garden with fruit trees and a variety of ornaments. “We put in 50 different varieties of roses as well as a rose arch, a pond and a fountain,” reveals one of the owners.

The most impressive view of the house can be seen by standing at the gateway at the front of the garden and looking up, which was exactly how the Victorians designed it. There’s also a garden at the rear, with parking.

Selling agents Property Partners Barry Herterich are guiding the four-bedroom house at €330,000. They describe it as a delightful property with panoramic views of Tramore Bay and say it has been exquisitely decorated.

“It’s perfect for a wide variety of buyers — it could be a family home or a holiday home or be bought by retirees who want a home with sea views,” says Mr Herterich.

VERDICT: Glamorously Victorian.

Tramore, Co Waterford


Size: 185 sq m (2,000 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2

BER: pending

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