In pics: Dublin 11 mum's souped-up semi with an outdoor heated swimming pool
Legal pro turns bog-standard home into an exotic oasis
Anne Marie Doyle can't understand why owners of average bog-standard estate homes all over Ireland don't want to turn them into "an oasis" just like her super-charged semi-detached in Dublin 11.
Back in 2007, the go-getting Dublin-born single mother of four got into a hired JCB and dug out a swimming pool in the back garden of her 1950s house at Sycamore Road, located at the Finglas end of Glasnevin.
The outdoor heated pool is just one aspect of a comprehensive transformation the legal professional and former interiors architect has project-managed herself over a number of years in order to rework this home to suit her family's needs.
"We Irish tend to play underdog as a nation. So if you want a swimming pool, why not get out and just do it? You really can. When we were on holidays I noticed the pool environment was perfect for a family - the adults could sit and chat with a glass of wine while the children played in the water. To be honest I didn't see why we couldn't have the exact same facility at home," said Ms Doyle.
She identified and imported an eco-friendly chlorine-free heated pool system from the UK. Then she hired a JCB and a dumper truck, dug out the hole herself, loaded the truck with the resulting debris and drove it off to tip it at the landfill.
While she estimates that it cost her €37,000, she believes she's earned every penny back in the usage it's had over the last nine years. "We've had such great times there with friends and family and all the local kids coming around to play."
Since acquiring the house in 2004, the super renovator has rolled up her sleeves, hammered nails and laid bricks herself in an ongoing project which has included (apart from the pool) the construction a stand-alone two-bedroom mews house in the garden with an earning potential of €1,200-plus a month; a terrace roof garden, an attic conversion with a self-contained suite, a designer kitchen comprising units specially imported from a range of countries, a two-storey bedroom extension; and a contemporary and bright open-plan floor for the main house.
"When I bought it I noted the house had ring beams which meant I could knock all sorts of walls without comprising its structure - there were a lot of possibilities."
Today the house spans 2,200 sq ft - almost twice the size of the average semi. It comes with five bedrooms, three bathrooms and the aforementioned two-bedroom mews, which spans 600 sq ft and has its own private access at the rear of the main property. It helped that Ms Doyle put herself through college to get a degree in interior architecture and set up Insideout, a project management and design business through which she managed and drove up to 14 home-renovation projects a year. "That went really well until about 2010 when the property crash kicked in." So she went back to DCU to obtain a law degree. Today she provides legal services professionally.
The house includes eco-friendly multi-fuel stoves in tandem with gas heating. The kitchen connects to a sheltered deck and a Japanese style sunroom leading to the rear garden. There's a guest bedroom/playroom, an 'Art Nouveau' wet room and a modern stairwell leads upstairs to three double rooms, a bathroom with feature stand-alone tub, a shower room and a balcony overlooking the pool area outside.
A further modern stairwell leads to the second-floor converted loft which contains a suite with a light-filled ensuite double bedroom and lounge area.
Now the kids have grown up, she's selling. "I want a smaller house but with a big site attached. Why? Well I want to build another pool of course!"
114 Sycamore Road, Dublin 11
Asking price: €545,000
Agent: MoveHome.ie (01) 8867090