A builder's input lifted this standard 3-bed semi in Ballyvolane to a whole new level

No 2 Mervue Crescent, Ballyvolane, is a masterclass in transforming an ordinary home into a stand-out property
A builder's input lifted this standard 3-bed semi in Ballyvolane to a whole new level

22 Mervue Crescent, Ballyvolane

Ballyvolane, Cork 



152 sq m (1636 sq ft)







WHEN you see the amount of work and level of workmanship that went into this Ballyvolane home, the question for the vendor is “Why sell?”.

Not only have the owners invested as much and more in their home as they paid for it first day, it also stands as testament to the skills of the late Seán Nason, a well-known Cork builder, with special connections to the family that lives in No 22 Mervue Crescent.

“Seán was my wife Lorraine’s father and he was heavily involved in our house down through the years,” says Anthony O’Callaghan.

“He unfortunately passed a few years back, but his touches are everywhere we look.” 

Those touches are what helped transform a humdrum three bed semi into a singular home. What started out as a 71 sq m property now measures 152 sq m. Driving up the size are a rear extension and a side extension, measuring 19 sq m and 22 sq m respectively, bringing the ground floor to 112 sq m, while the first floor gained an extra 40 sq m.

“Every year since we bought the house, something has been done to it,” says Anthony.

They bought in 2011 and got the keys the week of their August wedding. No 22 was not in good shape.

“My late father-in-law gutted it. He stripped it back to the bare bricks.

“A few walls were knocked and downstairs was made more open plan when we added the rear extension, which was architecturally designed.

“We bought it for €160,000 which was a fantastic price, but we absolutely invested the same amount and more back into it,” says Anthony.

The rear extension has glass walls on two sides, with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that open up the corner of the room onto a sandstone patio. 

It’s a bright and airy room, with high ceilings and also a lovely picture window which the owners have made the most of by installing a window seat. Selling agent Joe Organ says this lounge has “an ultra-modern feel, with the corner opening bringing the inside out and outside in during the summer months”.

In winter, a recently installed wood-burning stove - one of three at No 22 - keeps it snug.

The side extension creates even more options, less dependent on the weather. It’s an indoor/outdoor room, the result of a garage conversion, made safe for kids’ play by lining the floor with rubber tiles. 

At the garden end is a feature mirror wall and a small seating area with artificial grass and even an indoor swing for the kids, eight-year-old Joshua and five-year-old Pippa.

“The side extension, which includes a utility room and storage units, is a real multipurpose space and the garden room with the swing will be the hardest thing to walk away from,” Anthony says.

The garden itself is expertly done, surrounded by cedar cladding, all installed last year, and with a feature mirror included too. 

The couple are avid gardeners and Anthony says it’s “absolutely phenomenal in summer time”. His favourite spot is under the clematis-covered pergola at the bottom of the garden. 

There’s further paving - enough for a seat or two - outside the side extension, to catch the evening sun. 

Raised flower beds and expertly chosen trees and shrubs complete what is a very pretty and private picture indeed, with enough room too for a trampoline and a garden shed.

While most of the eye-catching work is out back, the front of the house has also been jazzed up. A lockdown project involved painting original red brick black to create a very distinctive facade, with matching garden walls. With black exteriors hotly trending, it makes a very strong visual statement.

“My wife watched me with a raised eyebrow when she saw the black paint, but it looks really well and it does stand out,” Anthony says.

Back inside, to the front of the property, is a sitting room and a playroom, which runs off the kitchen. 

The kitchen is open plan to the dining room which in turn opens onto the rear lounge, via double doors.

Upstairs are three bedrooms and the family bathroom, and overhead again, the attic has been converted into a bright and cosy home office.

As Anthony says, the house has been a never-ending project, and there are even plans for further renovations - if new owners were interested - as there are two active planning permissions in place. The first of these is valid to the end of the year and the second expires in two years' time.

“It would allow you to bring the kitchen out into the garden as well, and to add bedrooms,” Anthony says.

It's been a tough decision to sell up, but they are a family with a taste for adventure.

"We are toying with a few options - we like the idea of a detached house with more bathrooms,” says Anthony.

They will however miss the convenience of living quite close to the city, in an area with plenty of retail, schools and bus routes.

They will also find it hard to leave a home with such strong family input.

“Whoever buys No 22 will get a fantastic, substantial, family home,” says Mr Organ.

VERDICT: Attractively priced for a home that is head and shoulders above your standard semi-d 

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