Cottage Please - Naul period stone property
Period cottage in Co Dublin has been extended and redecorated
Period stone cottages of the sort constructed for workmen in and around our cities in the Edwardian era were long ignored by family buyers for reasons of space.
Constructed by various city estates such as Lord Pembroke's and in outlying areas by railway, tram and utility companies for their workers, this early form of social housing wasn't quite as generous as it seemed. Although the cottages were expertly finished in cut stone, ornate brickwork and utilising fine carpentry skills, they usually didn't extend beyond two rooms. There are still people around today who recall growing up as part of a large family in these restricted dimensions. Families of up to 16 lived in them until the 1950s.
While city cottages were long ago popular for central locations, those in outlying areas languished until the Celtic Tiger years when buyers realised that rural and suburban versions came with great big sites attached - originally to permit workers to tend their own vegetable and fruit gardens - vital for feeding an Edwardian working class family.
Some had 100 ft gardens which offered all sorts of opportunities to extend with the result that the tiny fronts of suburban worker's cottages of this era often conceal vast homes which have been added to at the rear over the past 20 years.
Stone Cottage at the Naul in North Co Dublin was one of those versions revitalised as the property boom neared its end. Acquired by a builder as a run down two-roomer with a rickety lean-to, he gutted it in 2004 and added more than half the space again, utilising that great big back garden allocation to turn it into a four bedroom home with three bathrooms. Accommodation now stands at 1,572 sq ft which is a good 300 sq ft larger than the average semi. And with the period craftsmanship that went into the stone dressing for the original frontage, the house has character.
This was the first part of Stone Cottage's 21st century transformation. The second came when the builder sold on the finished project to Belfast-born Patricia Sandford and her Dubliner husband, Sean.
Patricia, who is a dab hand at amateur interior design, got stuck in to furnish and decorate the place anew.
"We started by opening up the older part of the cottage to the light by installing a series of skylights."
Not just any old skylights however, but triple glazed electronic-powered Veluxes. The Sandfords are also strong believers in protecting the environment and have spent large on many aspects of their home to ensure that it is eco friendly.
The kitchen is definitely the strongest selling point of this property. "I love food and I love to cook and to entertain for my friends and family, so it was important to have an open-plan kitchen and dining area so I could cook and talk to those I'm entertaining. I have four adult children and they and their friends are often here to eat, so this was very important," says Patricia.
No expense has been spared for the kitchen and dining area. The black designer units were handmade by a company in Antrim. The surfaces are in cream corian, a substance which is long lasting, durable and extremely hygienic. The stainless steel cooker is by De Dietrich and has an induction hob. There's a stainless steel, American-style fridge and the dishwasher is a two compartment eco-friendly version by Fisher and Paykel, with large and small load capacity.
The floors in the kitchen, as per throughout the house, are in a pale, marble tile. Accommodation also includes the living room with its carved timber fireplace and granite hearth, a reading room, three bedrooms with an en-suite bathroom off each as well as a main family bathroom. Outside is a large, rear-paved courtyard with a detached garage, a barbecue area and a large wooden cabin - which has been used as a gym and as Sean's home office.
The house is located in Dallyhaysy which is very much a rural location with grain, potato and sheep farms around it. The house is located 5km equidistant from the villages of Naul and Balbriggan. The M1 motorway is down the road, Dublin Airport is a 15 minute drive. Drogheda is also within easy reach and the beach at Gormanstown is a 10 minute drive away.
This house is best suited for those who want to live in a rural location proximate to the sea, the airport and city, who have needs to travel north.
With the family all grown up and gone, Sean and Patricia are moving back to his city roots. "We're off to Artane where Sean grew up." Agents O'Connor Property Consultants seek €355,000 for this family sized home.
North Co Dublin
Asking price: €355,000
Agent: O'Connor Property Consultants (01) 6911404