Modernised by two serial renovators, this Co Waterford house has all the features you would like in an ideal cottage, writes Trish Dromey.
In the hands of a couple of serial renovators from the UK, this terraced property at Stradbally in West Waterford has become the type of archetypically pretty cottage that people like to write and dream about.
Pale pink on the outside, it has all the features you would want in an ideal cottage; gardens with a fish pond and rose bushes as well as a cosy but elegant living room with a stove, a gloriously pink bathroom and a country kitchen with a chequered table cloth, a double Aga and a dresser full of patterned china.
Six years ago, the owners came to Ireland in search of a cottage.
“We flew in to Dublin on a five-day visit — we had three criteria, it had to be coastal, close to a golf course and it had to be in a village,” reveals the lady of house, who opted for Ireland because she originally came from Kildare.
They started their search in Wexford and on the last day of their trip, fell in love with Dungarvan. He came back to Waterford for a further search and then she came on her own.
“This was the first house I looked at and I liked it so much that I bought it before my husband saw it,” she reveals.
When he came to see it, he wasn’t initially impressed, but fortunately for her, he fell in love with the long back garden which offered him ample space for horticultural endeavors.
When they bought it, the cottage, which possibly dates to the early 1900s, was in need of modernisation.
The estate agent told them that it had at some point, along with the house next door, been used as the local courthouse. Prior to moving to Stradbally the couple had bought, renovated, lived in and later sold three cottages in Sussex.
“We lost everything some years back and used the last of our money to buy a horrible cottage in a beautiful village. Our daughter said you can’t live there, but we did it up and sold it for a good price.”
Two cottages later, they decided to move to Ireland and renovate again, by which time they had a wealth of experience in turning old properties into pretty cottages.
She worked out ways to make the new home “cosy but classy” while her husband made plans for the garden.
To start with, they engaged a builder and an engineer to undertake some structural reorganisation. Three ground floor rooms were turned into two, a process which involved knocking two walls.
“We also put in an en suite and a new bathroom, took out the oil fired central heating and put in a stove with a back boiler and we rewired, re-plumbed and re-plastered.”
It took eight or nine months to get the decoration just right — the couple brought most of the furniture with them, employed a carpenter to build a new staircase and also got a new kitchen made locally.
The lounge, which now stretches across the width of the property at the front, is decorated in elegant country cottage style and combines rustic features such as a timber mantled fireplace with a stove and a wicker basket with more classic features including a large ornate gilded mirror, willow pattern china plates and cream sofas with blue and orange cushions.
The kitchen dining room, fitted with cream units with timber worktops and a large electric Aga, has been accessorised with bric a brac and hanging utensils.
The half dresser filled with colourful china completes the country kitchen look perfectly. A striking, slightly more modern feature is an orange splash back.
“We painted the wall behind the unit orange and put toughened glass over it and achieved the coloured glass look at a fraction of the cost.”
She chose orange as a continuation of the colour scheme in the lounge.
The three bedrooms have been prettily decorated in neutral colours and chintz curtains but the stand out feature upstairs is the cerise pink en suite bathroom which, is probably not very typical of a country cottage.
“I saw the colour, liked it and wondered will I get away with and thought why not,” says the owner, who is very pleased with the way it turned out.
Her efforts in the cottage were matched in the garden by those of her husband, who spent several months building a large raised goldfish pond, which he fitted with a waterpump to create a fountain.
Enclosed by a high hedge on one side and an old stone wall on the other, the back garden is over 100ft long and has a myriad of features including trellises with trailing plants, a timber archway, a graveled patio with a chiminea, rose bushes, dahlia beds, apple trees and a lawn planted with daffodils which have just come in to bloom.
The owners say they love the cottage and the village but have decided they now need a single storey property so it’s possible they may be taking on another renovation project soon.
Selling agents Sherry FitzGerald Reynolds say this property, now called Cilldara Cottage, is warm, cosy and charming with an impressive standard of finish.
Seeking offers of €235,000, auctioneer Cormac Curran expects it to appeal to buyers looking for a holiday home on Waterford’s Copper Coast or possibly other UK buyers who want to settle in the picturesque village close to the coast and local golf courses.
Very pretty Stradbally, Co Waterford
95sq m (1,026sq ft)