How else would you spend your maternity leave — only in renovating and extending your home, with brand new babe in arms?
That’s what the owners of 77 Primrose Hill near Cork’s Blarney did, five years ago, when infant No 3 arrived on the scene. And, they lived in the house right through the upheaval and upgrades, kept their sanity, and loved it since as a warm, embracing family home.
Now with a fourth child also in residence for the past few years, and a move made to new schools the other side of Cork, to an Educate Together school in Carrigaline,this family have reluctantly decided to up sticks, but thankfully reckon they’ve the energy and enthusiasm to do it all again. The couple (she’s a secondary school teacher, he’s a youth worker) are leaving No 77 in ship-shape and tasty order for any lucky new occupants, having extended five years ago, and also since upgraded a lot of the interior finishes for a more contemporary feel.
Although this Tower village home (a short city commute), came to market just before Christmas, guiding €239,950 via local agent Humphrey Hogan, it has received an immediate and appreciative response, hitting its price guide in early offers.
At the guide, it’s more expensively-priced than the most recent sales in this c 25-year old development of detached dormers, but that’s down to a few simple reasons— the quality, and the fact it has been very well extended and improved, at a likely cost of between €75,000 to €100,000, with little else to do for anyone who moves in next.
The cosy, all-wood extension has been as thoughtfully linked back to the living areas as it is out to the tiered and decked patio gardens. Simply put, it works, and comfortably so. The timber-framed and externally timber-sheeted single storey kitchen extension was done about five years ago by the well-regarded company Atlantic Frame, who’ve been in the business for years, and this job was overseen by MD Aidan O’Driscoll.
The owners couldn’t be higher in their praise for his and the company’s expertise and ideas, and the extension was virtually finished before they took down the back wall and opened it all up (but, hey, try balancing builders with babies....? Respect).
There’s now c 1,450 sq ft here, with two upstairs bedrooms and shower room, two more downstairs bedrooms, plus bathroom and then interlinked living rooms, flowing into that high, vaulted ceilinged kitchen/dining room. The back’s flooded with light: big windows on two sides, with windows lowered a tad by the dining table for views of the raised herb and flower beds on the deck outside, and then four over-sized Veluxes are set into the pitched ceilings, along with recessed downlighters.
Then,a couple of structurally necessary beams cut through, in warm-toned Douglas Fir, for a homely touch. There are white-gloss units on two and a half sides, along with large island as breakfast bar and food-prep space, and there’s a pop-up socket for appliances in the island’s midst, so no need for trailing electrical leads.
Elsewhere is an abundance of sockets, and right by the double sinks is a neat add-in, an integrated pump for washing up detergent and/or soap. It’s all a practical sociable space, and when deciding the size of the island, mother and babies simply walked around, assessing how much room needed to be left for easy circulation and a sociable space.
The fairly thorough make-over of the house also saw new solid oak flooring go down, the old oil heating system was junked in favour of gas, and then a wood-burning stove was put in the front room: most times of the year, the stove heats the whole house, the owners reckon. Then, when there’s a need for privacy, or sectioning off, specially commissioned sliding glazed doors separate off the rear kitchen/diner from the middle study and front living area. These tactile doors were specially made up by Imago Alternatives, who integrated a sort of muffler edge for extra sound-proofing, handy in a house that has accommodated six, all-in.
Elsewhere, lots of thought was given to storage, so there are three compartments under the stairs, lots of smart built-ins in two of the bedrooms, as well as high-up storage units in the kitchen. Internal doors were changed recently for solid oak, and the wood theme continues into the back garden, with a clearly demarcated tiered deck with glazed screens, seating spaces, and raised beds, for year-round colour and swift access to herbs and veggies.
There’s a shed with power and water, useful as a laundry/utility, and on an exterior side wall is a lean-to shelter for clothes drying or for storing bikes’n’bits under. The extension has eaten up quite a lot of the very private and south-facing back garden space, but as the house is in a cul de sac and faces an open green, there are ball-kicking options out front, and just up the hill by the old Hydro spa above Tower, there are communal allotments for a couple of hundred euros a year - and No 77’s owners were still harvesting their own lettuces there in the week before Christmas.
Tower Power at Primrose Hill