Most people will buy a door to fit their house, but the owners of this elegantly restored Youghal property bought their 186-year-old home to fit a 350-year-old door they had brought from Spain.
“It’s a marvellous carved oak door we got in Grenada and had carried around for several years ago but hadn’t found a place for,’’ reveals Lila who, along with her husband David, has been operating No 2 The Mall as a boutique B& B called La Petite Auberge for the last eight years.
Facing out on to the harbour close to the centre of town, the tastefully renovated, double-fronted early Victorian property is perfectly situated for such a venture.
On Tripadvisor there are a great many glowing reports from foreign visitors who have complimented the décor, appreciated the centrality of the location, and enjoyed the hospitality.
Although it’s operated as a B&B, the UK couple bought the property in 2008 with the intention of renovating it as their home. But they were midway through renovations when the property crash happened and changed their plans.
Moving to Ireland from Spain four years earlier they had settled in Dingle but found the farmhouse they renovated there a bit too remote. Searching for a home close to the sea on the south coast, they were charmed by the history and the architecture of Youghal.
While strolling by the harbour, Lila spotted this house and decided it had potential - although David wasn’t immediately convinced.
The three-storey property had been vacant for a few years but had been extensively renovated.
“Previous owners had done a lot of work and put in en suites — but a lot of the character had been taken out — we wanted to put it back in,’’ says Lila.
The first thing to go was the PVC front door which Lila describes as ‘horrible’, to be replaced by the antique door they finally had a home for.
After that they knocked walls, repainted, redecorated, put in built-in bookshelves and added appropriate finishing touches such as plantation shutters and chandelier-style lighting.
Well-equipped for restoration work, the couple had previously renovated at least 10 period properties.
A builder who used to specialise in restoration work, David is also an artist who has set up a small gallery at the front of the house.
The biggest change they made to the house was to reduce the number of ground floor rooms from seven small ones to just three large ones.
They replaced the PVC double glazed windows with PVC sash windows which, according to Lila, makes the house look as it is supposed to look.
Overlooking the street and harbour at the front, is a generous-sized sitting room which almost stretches to the full length of the house.
Fitted with a huge mirrored fireplace sourced from a salvage yard, this has wall to wall book cases and period cornicing.
The second front sitting room has tiled flooring and decorative cornicing and has now been put to use as a small gallery for David’s painting. To the rear is a long L-shaped open plan kitchen dining living space.
This has painted cream units, two floating islands, porcelain tiled worktops, appliances and an interconnecting utility.
Two sets of patio doors open on to a small decked courtyard at the rear which has pot plants and seating.
Upstairs the couple reduced the number of bedrooms from eight to five and in doing so created a large master bedroom with a walk-in dressing room.
The attached en suite bathroom is very nearly the same size as the bedroom and has a rain shower as well as a roll-op bath which has been painted dusky pink to match the décor.
This level has a further two en-suite bedrooms both facing out on to the Blackwater estuary at the front — one decorated in pale grey the other in raffia.
The top storey has another two en suite rooms — also elegantly decorated for guests.
One has a black chandelier and a dark red feature wall, while the other is a triple room with a feature floral wall.
The third room at this level has an en suite and could be a sixth bedroom but is being as an art studio and office, with timber flooring and built-in work surfaces.
The property doesn’t have off-street parking, but the owners say there is plenty on the street and that neither they nor their guests have had difficulty finding spaces.
Selling agents Sherry FitzGerald Hennessy are seeking offers of €330,000 for the 2,440 sq ft house which they say could be used as a family home or put to use again as a boutique B&B.
Auctioneer Donna Ryan Pender says it has already attracted interest from buyers in Ireland and the UK including holiday home buyers and families as well as business people.
The majority of reviewers on Tripadvisor give it 5 stars.