A serial renovator, it took Geraldine Dennehy over six months to refurbish Cosima, writes Trish Dromey.
South Circular Road, Limerick €590,000
Size: 226 sq m (2,436 sq ft)
Best Feature: Has had the full makeover, by a woman with a good eye
While painting streetscapes in Limerick and seascapes on Achill, Geraldine Dennehy mostly works in oil — but for her home at 5 Victoria Terrace on South Circular Rd, she opted for Farrow & Ball.
Following the comprehensive renovation of her terraced, three-storey, 19th-century property, she painted each of the rooms herself, including the 10ft-high ceilings in the reception rooms.
A tutor and director at recently closed Gallery 75 in Limerick, she describes herself as a serial renovator.
“Over the last five years I have renovated four houses — I live in them for a year and then I sell them.”
This one at Victoria Terrace has been her most challenging project yet: “When I bought it last year, the house was a complete wreck which had been empty for over 15 years. It had been turned into flats, the roof was falling in and the front garden was so overgrown it was difficult to get inside.”
Over six months, Ms Dennehy, together with her builder Michael O’Callaghan, erased all evidence of neglect and restored, renovated and, wherever necessary, rebuilt.
The final touch was to name it Cosima.
“I called it after a character in La Boheme — because the opera was first performed in 1896 around the time it was built.”
Just nine months after the house sold for €240,000, Lisa Kearney of Rooneys auctioneers is lining up viewers for the five-bed 2,400 sq ft house, which is guiding at €590,000.
“It’s in a very sought-after part of the city, has been renovated to a very high standard and will make a wonderful family home,” says Ms Kearney, noting that this type of property is in short supply in Limerick.
In returning Cosima to its former glory, all salvageable original features were kept, including window shutters which are once again in working order, as well as cornicing and picture rails which, when missing, were replicated.
Renovation work didn’t stop with the addition of double-glazed sash windows, oil heating, a new roof, and insulation which earned the property a B3 energy rating — Ms Dennehy also sourced period pieces and period style furnishing to achieve the overall look she wanted for Cosima.
To bring light she bought a multitude of elaborate chandeliers and put one in every room except the utility room, the downstairs bathroom, and the top two bedrooms.
The front drawing room, restored to its original length of 26ft, could be considered the piece de resistance.
Fitted with two ornate glass chandeliers, it has a Victorian marble fireplace, two shuttered windows, large gold mirrors, and has been painted in contrasting shades of Farrow & Ball blue.
The smaller front reception room has a slate fireplace, chandelier, and, with a piano, two cellos, and a guitar, has become a music room.
The kitchen area at the back was beyond repair so had to be demolished and rebuilt.
Now the only modern space in the house, this is a large tiled room with grey granite-topped units, two dressers, a marble table, and two contemporary copper light fittings which Ms Dennehy’s family have taken to calling the Game of Thrones chandeliers.
The bathroom on the first floor return was rebuilt to its original size and fitted out with a roll top bath, a shower cubicle, two antique gold mirrors, and chandelier.
The first floor has two huge bedrooms, both with fireplaces and chandeliers.
In front Cosima has a long lawned garden with period-style cast iron lights and to the rear another garden as well as a virtually intact coach house.
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