Westin, Herbert Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow Retail Price: €725,000 Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 286 6630
The top 10 reasons people sell their homes (according to a UK survey by Rightmove) include: having children, moving closer to family and the benefit of capitalizing on equity/NPV.
Ian and Edel Cullinane, who have just launched Westin, their 1920s home in Bray, tick all three boxes.
When they bought the house on Herbert Avenue four years ago, they had just married and were planning to start a family. After the birth of their son James a year ago, they are now returning to their roots in the west.
“We don’t really have any support from friends or family in Bray and that’s the only downside of living there,” says Ian. “It really helps when you have people you trust around you when you have a kid, especially if one of you gets sick or something goes wrong.”
There’s also a timely reason why increasing numbers of east-west migrants like the Cullinanes are now benefiting from this move.
The gap in values between houses in Greater Dublin (GDA) and those in rural Ireland recently hit its widest spread in a generation after eight years of higher GDA price inflation. But since last year, this trend has reversed. So now is the perfect time to take advantage of this value gap.
Ian is an accountant and is from Galway while Edel is a school teacher from Sligo. They were in college in Galway at the same time years ago but never met.
It took a chance meeting nine years ago in a pub in Ranelagh to then come together. “As it turned out, we had a lot of friends in common,” says Ian.
They got engaged in 2018, married and bought the Bray home that same year. It has belonged to the same family since it was built in the 1920s and was later rented out. At 1,417 sq ft with four bedrooms and a long back garden, it was perfect for raising young children.
While the interior was a little dated, the structure of the property was intact and had been extended at the rear 11 years ago. The couple made some structural changes to create more space.
Originally there was a door leading from the hall to the living room and they locked it. They also smashed the wall between the living room and dining room and replaced it with a sliding door.
The living room has an open fireplace, polished hardwood floors and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. A bay window typical of the time opens to the front.
The sliding door offers a choice of two rooms or one large, which is handy for entertaining. “We had Christmas and New Year’s parties and a christening for James at the house,” explains Ian.
The walls and ceilings were recently insulated and the couple replaced the existing oil range with gas central heating. They added wooden countertops in the kitchen and all the lighting was replaced.
The hanging lights over the island are an appealing effect. “It’s a lovely place and we eat there quite often,” says Ian. “It’s also handy with the baby. We can put him in the high chair next to us.”
When they bought it, the house had laminate floors throughout that were removed.
“We were very fortunate because the original floorboards were in excellent condition for such an old house,” says Ian. “We sanded them down and painted them and they turned out really well.”
However, the floorboards in the hallway were not in good condition, so the couple replaced them with patterned tiles that match the house’s era and provide a pleasing aesthetic upon entry. This design is continued in the downstairs bathroom as well.
Edel was responsible for most of the interior design. The walls are painted white or light gray throughout. Upstairs, they remodeled the bathroom and added a freestanding bathtub.
The bedrooms are spacious and offer plenty of storage space. Two of them had open fires and although they are now closed the fire openings are still visible.
“Both my wife and I grew up in older homes,” says Ian. “We like features like that and it also gives character to the house.”
The rear garden is south facing and private with a patio area. There is also the possibility of converting the garage. This is Ian’s favorite room. “It’s as long as the house and quite wide,” he says. “I put a punching bag inside and used it to keep fit during lockdown.”
“It’s a fantastic area,” says Ian. “You have all amenities at hand and it is close to the sea.”
The couple enjoyed leisurely strolls on the beach during the lockdown. “Lockdown was challenging,” says Ian, “but it meant we spent more time together, which was nice, and we ended up having a Covid baby!”
Sherry FitzGerald demands 725,000 euros for her.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/homes/bray-wanderers-big-home-win-the-young-family-selling-up-in-wicklow-and-moving-back-to-their-roots-in-the-west-41644834.html The Bray Wanderer’s big home win – the young family sells in Wicklow and moves back to their roots in the West