Cork city home transformed from dark and traditional to stylish and interesting by artist and builder

Trish Dromey visits an artist’s and a builder’s home makeover close to Cork city centre.

Evergreen Road, Cork €195,000

Size: 70 sq m (750 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms: 1

BER: B3

WHEN an artist and a builder collaborate on a renovation project they bring talents to the task which make most ordinary folk envious. 

They also tend to leave behind them properties which other people are always eager to buy. 

This certainly seems to be the case for 28 Maiville Terrace off Evergreen Road, which has been transformed from dark and traditional into a stylish and interesting by Cork artist Norma Walsh and her husband Timmy O’Driscoll, a west Cork fisherman turned builder.

Cork city home transformed from dark and traditional to stylish and interesting by artist and builder

She chose the colours, the tiles and textures and added all the finishing touches while he reconfigured the upstairs rooms and among other things came up with a variety of clever ideas to maximise space. 

Combining her creativity with colour and his with space, they have turned the 750 sq ft house into a very cosy B3 energy rated home.

When they bought the turn of the last century redbrick terraced house three years ago, the first thing they did was let in more light. 

Cork city home transformed from dark and traditional to stylish and interesting by artist and builder

This was mainly achieved by putting in a large skylight in the kitchen, a larger dormer window at the rear and using glass panelled doors on the ground floor.

The overall effect is contemporary and modern, although the house has kept a few original features and some shapes which make it quirky and interesting. 

Since it’s a small cottage they set out “creating a space for everything” and have made effective use of cupboards to banish clutter.

Cork city home transformed from dark and traditional to stylish and interesting by artist and builder

The open plan kitchen/dining room has modern grey green kitchen units and textured tiling as well as two full length cupboards for extra storage. 

The laminate floored dining area has a computer desk hidden away behind doors in a space where there used to be a range.

Double doors with glass panels lead to a front living room which has an original red brick fireplace with a solid fuel stove and white walls which provide Norma space to hang some of her paintings.

Cork city home transformed from dark and traditional to stylish and interesting by artist and builder

When the couple bought the cottage , it had a small downstairs bathroom but with some careful rearranging they found space to put a new modern bathroom upstairs with grey mosaic tiling and a shower.

The back bedroom is a double room with a dormer window, a large painting of Norma’s and sliderobes. 

The front bedroom is also a double and has cupboard space with fitted clothes rails with just enough space to walk in to.

The vast majority of home owners everywhere have now chosen white PVC windows — but this couple have opted for cream which blends well with the redbrick Victorian exterior. 

Cork city home transformed from dark and traditional to stylish and interesting by artist and builder

Renovations also involved the installation of gas heating and putting in a high level of insulation — which is how the B3 energy rating was won.

The decked courtyard at the rear is a striking example of what a little artistic creativity can achieve. 

Originally the type of grey yard found at the back of terraced houses everywhere, it now looks quite continental with raised decking, bright white walls and a bistro set. 

A timber fence hides the unsightly bins and a few potted plants add some additional colour.

Cork city home transformed from dark and traditional to stylish and interesting by artist and builder

Just how well the property is turned out, is evidenced by the fact that one of the first viewers came back within a few days with an offer of €5,000 above the asking price of €195,000.

“We were expecting to get a mix of investors and first time buyers — but most of the viewings have been with people who want to live in it and have included few downsizing buyers,’’ says auctioneer Mark Gosling of Behan, Irwin and Gosling who puts this level of interest down to the standard of the decor and the “attention to detail”.

The location in a small terrace off Evergreen Road, is also a selling point since it’s close to Christ the King Church and is within a 15 minute walk from the South Mall.

VERDICT: Has the finishing touches everyone wishes they were capable of.


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