Thursday 19 September 2019

Old meets new in Carraroe

Carraroe Carraroe, Connemara, Co Galway €375,000

Carraroe is a traditional stone farmhouse with a modern extension.
Carraroe is a traditional stone farmhouse with a modern extension.

Words by Katy McGuinness

When the current owner bought Carraroe in the early 1990s, it was a simple one-and-a-half storey stone-faced period farmhouse.

Originally from Inis Mor in the Aran Islands, she set about creating a comfortable family home in the middle of the village, and undertook a thorough renovation.

In 2008, she embarked on a project that would extend the house significantly.

"After living in the house for that length of time I knew what I wanted and what was needed," she says. "Particularly in relation to teenagers and en suite bathrooms."

The attractive kitchen
The attractive kitchen

She drafted in architect Sean Devaney from local firm Devaney Wallace to bring her ideas to life. With a background in art and design, having studied at the Crawford in Cork, she found the process hugely enjoyable.

"I knew what I wanted in terms of how it would be on the inside, but I had no idea how it would look on the outside," she says. "Some people say they lie awake at night during a building project because they find it so stressful, but my nights were sleepless because of excitement. I was absolutely delighted with the way that Sean blended the old and the new together. I know the house inside out because I project-managed it from start to finish. And almost 10 years on it still looks magnificent."

A double-height atrium-style entrance hall floored in dramatic polished black marble is separated from the dining room by a toughened glass wall - it's a space full of light and air - and the dining room opens out on to the gardens via tall sliding doors.

The kitchen is located in the original part of the house and is fitted with high-gloss white units, a vibrant orange splashback and a sociable central island.

Included in the sale are a number of appliances, including a Waterford Stanley range, induction hob with double oven and an American-style fridge-freezer. A separate utility room gives direct access to the garden.

The sitting room adjacent to the kitchen has an antique-style solid fuel fireplace and could alternatively be used as a fourth bedroom.

The black marble-floored atrium-style entrance hall with its dramatic staircase
The black marble-floored atrium-style entrance hall with its dramatic staircase

The focal point in the family room in the extension is a solid fuel stove, while floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows and doors ensure that the room is saturated with natural light.

A feature of the room is that the curtain tracks are electronically timed to open at dawn and close again at dusk. A home office/study/playroom is positioned just beside the family room and is a flexible space designed to adapt to the needs of a family as it changes over time.

A dramatic staircase installed as part of the extension built in 2008 leads to the upstairs landing, which is floored in restored parquet.

The master bedroom has thick carpeting, recessed lighting and fitted wardrobes, while the en suite bathroom features a corner Jacuzzi bath with built-in rain-water shower, six powerful pumped jets and an in-shower radio.

A balcony can be accessed from both the master bedroom and the landing, and the current owner says that it is a real sun trap, somewhere to sit and read a book or admire the views.

There are a further two bedrooms on the first floor, both with en suite bathrooms that feature heated mirrors and steam showers.

The family room with central solid-fuel stove and wall-to-floor windows
The family room with central solid-fuel stove and wall-to-floor windows

Thanks to geo-thermal underfloor heating in the new part of the house, it is cosy despite all the glass, and the current owner says that it is economical to heat, with a B3 BER.

Outside, there's half an acre of garden and plenty of space to grow fruit and vegetables and keep chickens.

Carraroe is, of course, in the Gaeltacht and busy with tourism in the summer, particularly during school holidays when there is an influx of teenagers keen to brush up on their language skills at the Irish colleges in the area and to make new friends, not necessarily in that order. So a new owner could think about becoming a bean an ti to supplement the family income during the summer months.

The current owner says that she has enjoyed living right in the centre of the village, within walking distance of the shops, an excellent library and cafes such as Bia Blasta and Se Cafe."There is a good community here in Carraroe," she says. "It's a great place to rear children."

The village has an active GAA club and is home to the first Irish-speaking rugby club in the country. There are fine beaches in the area, notably the Blue Flag Coral Beach.

The vendor's children went to primary and secondary school in the village, but now that they are in university in Galway she is planning to move into the city to be closer to them.

"I have loved living in a location that is rural yet does not feel remote," she says. "But I will be back often to visit friends."

Era: Period farmhouse built circa 1900; renovated in 1993; extended in 2008

Size: 353sqm

Agent: Michelle Burke (091) 868 080

Viewing: By appointment

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