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    Residential property prices up by 2.2% in year to December

    Residential property prices for houses and apartments increased by 2.2% nationally in the year to December, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.
    This compares to an increase of 0.2% in the year to November and an increase of 0.3% in the twelve months to December 2019.
    In Dublin, residential property prices saw an increase of 1.2% in the year to December, while property prices outside Dublin were 3.1% higher.
    In Dublin, house prices increased by 0.2% and apartment prices increased by 5.1%. The highest house price growth in Dublin was in South Dublin at 3.2%, while Dublin City saw a decline of 1.8%.
    Outside Dublin, house prices were up by 3.1% and apartment prices up by 4.0%. The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in house prices was the South East at 5.3% – at the other end of the scale, the Mid-West saw a 1.9% decline.
    Overall, the national index is 16.1% lower than its highest level in 2007. Dublin residential property prices are 21.8% lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 18.1% lower than their May 2007 peak.
    Property prices nationally have increased by 87% from their trough in early 2013. Dublin residential property prices have risen 93.6% from their February 2012 low, whilst residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 88.4% higher than at the trough, which was in May 2013. More

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    Be at the heart of the community in Ledwill Park

    If the recent lockdowns have thought us anything it is how important community is.
    Situated beside Kilcock GAA Club in Co Kildare, the Ledwill Park development from Glenveagh Homes guarantees to put you in the heart of the community.
    Originally launched in spring 2019, the development has been a resounding success with around a third of the approximately 430 homes planned for Ledwill Park sold to date.

    The Sparrow in Ledwill Park

    While the last year or so has been difficult for everyone, Ledwill Park is the ideal place to plan your future – with plenty to see and do on your doorstep.
    Kilock as a location has much to option. The town is a rare example of a town where a road, a canal, a railway and a river run side-by-side and with this comes great amenities and transport services to the area. The Irish Rail service runs from Kilcock to Dublin with the Intercity train taking approximately 45 minutes to Connolly Station. Kilcock train station is less than a 10-minute walk from Ledwill Park.

    The kitchen in The Sanderling

    The M4 interchange is less than a 5-minute drive from the development and the travel time to Dublin city centre off peak is 40 mins (35 km) via the M4. Dublin Airport is also just a 30-minute drive from Kilcock. Bus Éireann also has regular services through routes 115 and 115A running from Dublin to Mullingar via Kilcock.
    There is also an abundance of schools in the area. Kilcock has three primary schools, Scoil Choca Naofa, St. Joseph’s BNS and Gaelscoil Uí Riada and is home to secondary school Scoil Dara, located on Church Street.
    Maynooth University is also located 5km east of Kilcock and is easily reached by both train and car.

    The master bedroom in The Sanderling

    Kilcock also has a wide variety of trendy eateries, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes. You can enjoy a quiet intimate drink in one of local pubs including; O’Keeffe’s, Murphy’s & The Gregory. Or why not have a lovely tasty homemade breakfast at the weekend in either The Blackforest Café, Timeless or the award-winning Rye River Café. The high acclaimed Bujolle Bistro also serves the finest French Cuisine each evening.
    There are also a wide number of sports clubs and recreational facilities in the area including Kilcock GAA, Kilcock Celtic Football Club, Kilcock Canoe Club and the North Kildare Club which is a sporting and clubhouse facility that houses cricket, hockey, rugby and tennis all under one crest.

    The living room in The Sanderling

    In late 2017 the Royal Canal Greenway section between Kilcock and Maynooth was also completed allowing walkers and cyclists to avail of the canalside amenity which will eventually when completed link Dublin City to Athlone.
    The setting is one thing but the homes in Ledwill Park are also innovatively designed to deliver super living accommodation and bedroom space.
    Ledwill Park comprises 2, 3, 4 & 5-bedroom terrace, end-terrace, semi-detached and detached homes, located within the townland of Branganstown, a short stroll from the town centre.
    Ledwill Park offers modern homes to those starting out or seeking a larger home within a thriving community approximately 35km west of Dublin. These modern homes are ideal for those starting out or seeking a larger home within a thriving community approximately 35km west of Dublin.

    The exterior of The Starling

    All Ledwill Park homes benefit from superb contemporary style kitchens from Gallagher Kitchen, along with stainless steel sink featuring an elegant swan tap, shaker style wardrobes and cobblelocked driveways to name but a few features.
    Ledwill Park also has the added benefit of being an A3 rated homes which incorporate sustainable and renewable technology, resulting in lower energy costs. All homes are constructed with a high level of insulation in floors, walls and roof structures. Heating is thermostatically controlled by using a heat pump system to maximise your comfort.

    The living room of the Moorhen

    The various house types are as follows:
    Sanderling AThe Sanderling (A) is a wonderfully designed 3-bedroom semi-detached property. At approx. 110sqm / 1,184 sqft these homes are ideally size for couples or families.

    The exterior the Sanderling (A)

    On entering the Sanderling (A) the hallway leads to a large living room with an elegant bay window. The guest WC is positioned just off the hallway. At the rear of the property there is a well-proportioned bright and spacious contemporary kitchen with dining area and direct access to the rear garden through French doors. This house type also benefits from the inclusion of a utility room which offers counter space and is plumbed for washing machine / dryer.

    The kitchen in The Moorhen

    Upstairs, the landing guides you to 3 family bedrooms and a master bathroom, 2 double bedrooms feature shaker-style fitted wardrobes. The master bedroom also boasts an en-suite. The family bathroom is beautifully presented with tiling and 3-piece bathroom suite.
    Externally the Sanderling (A) is presented with a half brick render finish, composite front door and cobblelock driveway.

    The bedroom of The Moorhen

    Sanderling (B)Before entering the Sanderling (B) you are greeted with a stunning fully bricked exterior with composite front door and cobblelock driveway.
    The Sanderling (B) is a superbly designed 3-bedroom semi-detached property of approx. 108sqm / 1,162 sqft. The design of the Sanderling (B) allows sunlight to engulf each room of the home, no matter the aspect.

    Another bedroom in The Moorhen

    Downstairs, the living room located to the front of the property boasts a large window, creating a bright, light-filled space. The large kitchen / dining area is located to the rear of the home and benefits from a utility room. The contemporary shaker style kitchen coupled with breakfast bar really does make this room the heart of the home. The kitchen also has direct access to the rear garden through double doors.
    Upstairs, the landing guides you to 3 family bedrooms and master bathroom, 2 double bedrooms feature shaker-style fitted wardrobes. The master bedroom also boasts an en-suite. The family bathroom is beautifully presented with tiling and 3-piece bathroom suite.

    The exterior of The Moorhen

    The MoorhenAt approx. 106sqm / 1,141 sqft the Moorhen is a perfectly sized, 3-bedroom semi-detached home. Externally, the Moorhen is finished in full brick with composite front door and cobblelock driveway. Internally, the home has the living room located at the front of the home with a large window. The position of the stairs in the Moorhen is different to other 3-bedroom homes in Ledwill and allows for an extra-large utility room located off the kitchen.
    The contemporary inviting kitchen is located at the rear of the home. This well-proportioned bright and spacious room comes with dining area and direct access to the rear garden through double doors.

    The Dove and Sparrow

    Upstairs, you are greeted with 3 bedrooms, 2 of which are double rooms with shaker style wardrobes and the family bathroom. The master bedroom is located to the front of the property and has an en-suite with enclosed shower.
    The StarlingThe Starling is the largest of our 3-bedroom semi-detached homes in Ledwill Park at approx. 114sqm / 1,228 sqft. This gable entrance, double-fronted home boasts an extremely large living area with dual-aspect windows ensuring maximum light.
    The large kitchen also benefits from double aspect light and direct access to the garden. The kitchen is finished with contemporary style cabinetry, recessed lighting and stainless-steel splashback.

    The master bedroom of the 4 bed Dove

    Upstairs, you are greeted with 3 bedrooms, 2 of which are double rooms with shaker style wardrobes and the family bathroom. The master bedroom is located to the front of the property and has an en-suite with enclosed shower.
    Externally, this double front home is stunning with a mix of brick and render finish, cobblelock driveway and composite front door.

    The living room of The Dove

    The DoveA spectacular example of a large 4-bedroom home. This home is approx. 172sqm / 1,841 sqft and spaced over 3 floors.
    The Dove is tastefully finished in half brick half render with cobble lock driveway.
    On entering the home through its composite front door, you are greeted by a large hallway. The living room is located at the front of the property and features a large bay window allowing light to flood the room. The guest WC is located just off the hallway, while the heart of the home, the kitchen, takes up the full width of the property.
    The kitchen / dining room is very large and boasts many features including; shaker style kitchen cabinets, recessed lighting and kitchen island. The Dove also features a good sized utility room.
    The first floor of the property comprises 3 double bedroom, 2 of which have built in wardrobes, while the master bedroom located to the front of the property also has an en-suite.
    The top floor of the Dove has a very large forth bedroom with ensuite and storage area. The Dove style home has understandably proven to be very desirable and is a must-see.

    The kitchen in The Dove

    The SparrowThe Sparrow is the largest of our 4-bedroom semi-detached homes in Ledwill Park at approx. 179sqm / 1,894 sqft. This gable entrance, double-fronted home boasts an extremely large kitchen with dual-aspect windows ensuring maximum light.
    The kitchen / dining room is very large and spacious boasting many features including; shaker style kitchen cabinets, recessed lighting and kitchen island. The Sparrow also features a good-sized utility room plumbed for washing machine / dryer.
    The living room located to the front of the property has dual aspect windows allowing for maximum sunlight to enter the room.
    Upstairs, you are greeted with 3 bedrooms, 2 of which are double rooms with shaker style wardrobes and the family bathroom. The master bedroom is located to the rear of the property and has an en-suite with enclosed shower.
    The top floor of the Sparrow has a very large forth bedroom with ensuite and storage area.
    Externally, this double front home is stunning with a mix of brick and render finish, cobblelock driveway and composite front door.
    To see all that these stunning Glenveagh homes have to offer log on to www.myhome.ie/4301663 or visit www.ledwillpark.ie. You can also contact Noel Duffy of Sherry FitzGerald New Homes on 01 6671888 or Eamon O’Flaherty in the Sherry FitzGerald Brady O’Flaherty office in Maynooth on 01 6510000 for more detail or to arrange a viewing. More

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    Couple earning average wage cannot afford cheapest new apartments in Dublin

    A couple earning average wages still cannot afford even the cheapest new apartments in Dublin, according to a new report from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.
    The Real Cost of New Apartment Delivery Report also found most types of apartments are not economically viable for developers to build for sale.
    The society’s report found that the situation has improved since its previous study in 2017, with development costs decreasing for two categories of apartments and economic viability also improving.
    It stated this was the result of the relaxation of building regulations brought in by ministerial guidelines in 2018, particularly the reduction in car parking spaces and the removal of a requirement that apartments have dual aspect or natural light in two directions.
    However, it found that the cheapest two-bed apartment available, which would be a low-spec build in a low-rise suburban development, had a sales price of €375,000.
    This would require a deposit of €37,500 and the buyer to have an annual income of at least €96,000.
    A couple on average incomes would be earning just €88,000 between them.
    The President of the SCSI said supports are needed and that the new Shared Equity Scheme should give apartment buyers a longer payback period because of the higher costs.
    Micheál Mahon also said it takes up to 18 months to get a 100-unit scheme to planning and judicial reviews are causing further delay.
    “Delays by utility companies, especially Irish Water, are also proving extremely costly and need to be addressed. As this report shows, apartment construction is a costly business,” he said.
    The report set out four-category apartment types consisting of low-rise suburban, which is three storeys high; medium-rise suburban (three to six storeys); medium urban (five to eight storeys) and high-rise urban (nine to 15 storeys).
    Each category had a range depending on whether the development was high-spec or low-spec.
    It calculated that the all-in cost of delivering medium-rise two-bedroom apartments in Dublin ranged from €411,000 for a low-spec unit in the suburbs to €581,000 for a high-spec one in the city.
    A profit margin of 15% is then added to see which categories are economically viable for developers to build for homebuyers.
    It found that low and medium-rise suburban are viable if they are low-spec, according to current market prices. This is an improvement since 2017 when only low-rise suburban fell into that category.
    ‘The Real Costs of New Apartment Delivery 2020’ report also found that the actual cost of building a medium-rise apartment makes up 47% of the overall costs.
    Other so-called “soft costs”, such as VAT, levies, and fees, make up 42%, with site costs amounting to 11%.
    The overall development costs for medium-rise developments have gone down by up to 9% while most categories increased.
    Chair of the SCSI working group Paul Mitchell said Build To Rent developments are more economically viable as there are fewer restrictions relating to the apartment mix, car parking and size.
    He said they are also more attractive to pension funds, which can take a longer-term view of the asset.
    Mr Mitchell added: “It is not surprising therefore that 76% of the units analysed are for rental rather than sale.”
    Meanwhile, another report found that Covid-19 had caused a 21% decline in property transactions across the country in the 12 months to November last.
    The GeoView Residential Buildings Report View found that in Dublin, the area with the highest number of property transactions was Dublin 15, which includes Blanchardstown and Clonsilla.
    The postcode with the lowest average residential property price was €230,233 in Dublin 10, which includes Ballyfermot, while the highest was €771,542 in Dublin 6, which includes Ranelagh. More

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    Estate agents struggling to meet demand for property, survey finds

    Estate agents say they are struggling to meet demand for property at present, especially from first-time buyers.
    A survey of 800 agents, carried out by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, found that over two thirds predicted property price increases in the year ahead with 24% expecting prices to remain the same and 8% anticipating reductions.
    The average price increase in 2021 would be of the order of 4%, the report concludes, with lack of supply acting as the main driver of prices.
    Property prices in Dublin are expected to see average increases of 3%, while Connacht-Ulster – which has some of the lowest prices – will see an increase of 6%.
    An increase of 4% is predicted for Leinster while prices are forecast to increase by 5% in Munster.
    The report’s findings underline the scale of the supply challenges facing the market.
    While three quarters of agents reported sales instructions increasing or remaining the same in the third quarter, by the final three months of the year the figure had dropped to just over half with the remainder reporting a falloff in instructions.
    Several agents said the slowdown was ultimately due to lack of supply with potential vendors deferring selling due to the lack of alternative options.
    The Covid-19 pandemic largely dictated the market in 2020 and it looks like that trend will continue in 2021.
    “The transition to working from home has led to a reordering of priorities and is driving interest in larger properties in regional locations with good broadband and lots of amenities as well as holiday homes in secondary locations,” TJ Cronin, Vice President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland, said.
    “The trend away from urban areas is also reflected in the survey’s price projections,” Mr Cronin stated.
    “While Covid-19 has badly affected certain sectors, it has enabled prospective buyers who work in areas which haven’t been hugely impacted, such as pharma, tech, financial and the public sector, to increase their savings.
    “We’ve also seen a big inflow of Irish people returning from abroad, to Dublin in particular, and this has underpinned prices at the upper end of the market. In a situation where you have very limited supply – 83% of agents report having low levels of stock available in Q4 – the fear of missing out on a property will very often trump the fear of paying over the odds,” he added.
    According to an analysis by consultants EY, the construction sector will not return to 2019 levels of completions until 2024 at the earliest.
    It is estimated that in excess of 21,000 housing units were completed here in that year with the figure expected to have dipped below the 20,000 mark once again 2020.
    A newly instituted closure of building sites in recent weeks will likely impact supply in 2021.
    The Central Bank, among others, estimates that up to 35,000 units need to be completed every year in Ireland to keep up with demand.
    The SCSI concludes that housing supply and demand equilibrium may not be achieved until after 2030.
    By that stage, it predicts the sector would need to be building in excess of 60,000 units per year, over three times the current output and almost double the official estimates. More

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    Guidelines for property viewings updated due to rising level of Covid-19 cases

    Updated guidelines regarding property viewings have come into effect from today.
    The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA), the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers (IPAV) and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) have updated their ‘Property Services Providers Guidance to implementing Plan for Living with Covid-19‘ document which was released last year.
    The document was originally published last October to guide agents on how to operate under the various levels of the Government’s Living with Covid strategy.
    Given the rising number of Covid-19 cases over the Christmas and New Year period, new restrictions have come into effect today which will be reviewed on January 31st.
    The biggest change is that there will now be no in-person viewings of properties unless you’re already at the sale agreed stage with contracts signed.
    A statement from the PSRA said: “Due to the increasing and deeply concerning daily COVID-19 case numbers in Ireland over the very recent period, Government has requested that further tightening of restrictions in delivery of property services be addressed and implemented.
    “Accordingly, IPAV, PSRA and SCSI have reviewed and updated the Property Services Providers Guidance to Implementing a Plan for Living with Covid-19.
    “The revised Guidance document is updated to reflect the further tightening of restrictions in the provision of property services effective from 13 January 2021, which will be reviewed on 31 January 2021.
    “It is critical that you read and fully understand the new section ‘Level 5 Restrictions effective on 13 January 2021 for review on 31 January 2021’ in the document.
    “In order for property service providers, customers and the public remain safe and well, you are requested to comply with these new revised guidelines during the provision of all property services.”
    The guidance can be read in full here. More

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    Top 10 most viewed properties on MyHome.ie in 2020

    It has been a year like no other for the Irish property market with Covid-19 having an impact on our lives even down to how we view property. While the pandemic has had an impact on sales and stock, traffic to MyHome.ie has flourished with many people dreaming of that dream home. That was a…
    The post Top 10 most viewed properties on MyHome.ie in 2020 appeared first on MyHome.ie Advice & Blog. More

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    Creating a stylish home that will flow to work for all your needs

    Potential savings from a mortgage switch, combined with some additional funds, could be the way to create your ultimate interior scheme

    Sponsored by Ulster Bank

    Some of us have a natural eye for beautiful design and the know-how to create a well laid out home. But for many, expert advice is required in order to achieve a cohesive scheme that flows throughout.
    And so, in the final part of our Switch it Up series, in which we’ve tackled all aspects of the home improvement journey from kitchens and bathrooms to getting a better BER rating and looking at how renovations can maximise our space, we’re rounding out the series by talking to interior design experts who explain how form can follow function in our homes. Potential savings from a mortgage switch, combined with some additional funds, could be the way to create your ultimate interior scheme.
    An interior architect or designer can help enhance any indoor space, focusing on layout, spatial planning and conceptual design. We spoke with three designers who shed light on what you can expect from an expert in this field, while offering tips on how to enhance your home.
    Lauren Martin and Louise Rankin run North Design while Emily Cunnane heads up Inspace Design, both practices are based in Dublin.
    “We often see clients project managing their own renovations and coming to us mid-way through construction for help after some costly mistakes,” say Martin and Rankin. “Any project comes with its problems, but having an experienced, impartial body with your end goal in mind can help you manage these as they arise and save you money in the long run.”
    An online consultation is easily done. “You can ‘virtually’ walk through the space with the designer, pointing out the areas you wish to improve, any particular pain points, and any ideas you may have,” Cunnane says.
    While costs vary, she says, “In the long run working with a designer will often save you money as they will pass on discounts for products and let you into their little black book for tried and trusted tradespeople”.
    So what can an interior designer do for you? You don’t need to be undertaking a big project to work with one and often, many issues can be solved by reorganising your layout.
    A good interior designer will get to know you and how you live your life, and then spend time creating an environment that will enhance your day to day, Cunnane says.
    “A ‘broken plan’ layout is a cost effective way of opening up a space, and choosing the right furniture will have an enormous effect. Lighting is a key element which can change the feeling of an existing space entirely. Your designer will be able to help you maximise natural light as well as create an intelligent layered lighting plan to create spaces within spaces, and change the function of an area easily,” she says.
    Kitchens and bathrooms

    Opt for a couple of different lighting types in the kitchen. Photograph: Getty Images

    Kitchens and bathrooms are generally the rooms we want to maximise.
    “Layout and lighting are the two key elements,” Cunnane says. “In the kitchen consider running your units all the way to the ceiling if you are short on space. It will not only give you more long-term storage space but give the illusion of a higher ceiling.”
    Under cabinet lighting gives you visibility across your work surfaces and ambient light when you don’t want to use overheads. A feature pendant creates drama over an island or in the middle of the room.
    In the bathroom, wall-hung units can create a feeling of space. You could also consider unifying the finishes in a small room, such as using a micro-cement for all surfaces rather than a tile, Cunnane says. Opting for wall rather than ceiling lights can give a more polished feel too.
    Under stairs bathrooms can prove tricky for home owners, according to the team at North Design.
    “The layout in these spaces are usually quite restrictive, and this tends to reflect in the design too. There is so much potential to make these spaces something special. You could introduce a bright patterned tile with a strong colour on the wall. This always ends up being a pleasant surprise for your guests,” they say.
    Making the most of awkward spaces
    Sometimes the introduction of an open plan extension can leave a void in the centre of the house where there had been a previous living area. A designer can help.
    “It’s important to inject function back in. Use a stronger colour on the walls, introduce joinery or wall panelling, or change up the lighting, it can be made more inviting, and may become your new ‘snug’ or post-dinner entertaining space with guests,” Martin and Rankin suggest.
    Paint is another clever and inexpensive way of altering a space, they say. “Paint a large sample of the proposed colour on various walls and live with it for a couple of days. You will be amazed at how a colour can feel different at various times of the day and with weather changes, so take the time to get it right.”

    A micro-cement finish is not only space-enhancing in a bathroom but it’s also on-trend. Photograph: Getty Images

    Trying trends
    Interior trends come and go, but one that’s set to stay thanks to the pandemic is how we use our homes for rest, work and play.
    “That joy of separation between work and home life has merged and has put pressure on our homes. Clients want their homes to be more flexible, the main addition being incorporating a work space, but one that is flexible by having the option of closing it away when not in use to allow for evening and weekend family time,” Martin and Rankin say.
    This could mean an office area with a fold-over door that can be shut away in the evening time to physically and mentally put thoughts of work to bed.
    When it comes to décor trends, Cunnane asserts that homeowners can afford to take some small risks. “There is nothing wrong with getting your inspiration from current trends, but why not consider broadening your sources,” she says. “Look at movies for colour schemes, and high fashion can inspire shapes and forms in your soft furnishing.”
    Into 2021, North Design is seeing natural, light and dark timber tones teamed with accents of black. “There is a strong emphasis on textures, the use of rattan in headboards, chairs and accent furniture are all leading features. Colourwise it is a muted use of tones – earthy greens, mustards and dusty pinks.”
    About Switch it Up
    Switch it Up is a new 12-part series for those who might be considering switching mortgage provider to make savings on their monthly repayments. It is a follow-up to the award-winning Story of Home series, which explored the idea of home through the eyes of creative people who found their dream place to live.
    Now, Switch it Up, which like Story of Home is supported by Ulster Bank, looks at helpful information on home improvements as well as renovators’ home tours. Plus, we’ve got helpful answers to your mortgage switching queries: from the incentives to how long it will take (not long!) and what’s involved in making a mortgage switch, read our Everything you need to know about switching your mortgage guide at irishtimes.com/switchitup.
    Perhaps now more than ever, we want our homes to suit the way we live and work, and being able to explore the potential in our homes offers us flexibility. This series is designed to unlock the ways in which we might Switch it Up in our homes as our wants and needs change.
    Switching your mortgage could free up funds to help you make these changes. “At Ulster Bank, we want to be a part of the journey you take in making your home the best it can be,” says Sean Kellaghan, mobile mortgage manager at Ulster Bank.
    “We want to make the mortgage switching process as simple and as hassle free as you do,” he adds. Kellaghan understands the stress that can come with making a switch, and he offers reassurance.
    “We are here to help you, and the process is a lot shorter and a lot more straightforward than you might think. Get in touch today and we can talk you through the options and process.”
    For more information, visit ulsterbank.ie
    Ulster Bank Ireland DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland More

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    Discover the Dublin 4 renovation project designed for three generations

    Switching your mortgage could provide extra funds to add new details to your home. For Sooby and her family, their clever renovation has resulted in a house that works for everyone

    Sponsored by Ulster Bank

    In part of 11 of our Switch it Up series, we discover the directional, multi-generational renovation of the home of content creator Sooby Lynch. This Sandymount home was built in the 1930s and has been passed from mother to daughter for almost four generations. Now, it has been transformed into a home that works well for three generations of the same family.
    “I’ve lived here nearly all my life,” Lynch says. “It was my great-grandmother’s originally and there is a tradition of someone either inheriting or buying the house and keeping it in the family. I think it’s great because in the future, as my parents get older, it will be easier for me to care for them,” she says.
    [embedded content]
    Lynch and husband Paul, daughters Marnie (3) and Penny (8), plus parents Sheila and James live between the original three bed semi-detached house and a new one bedroom annex apartment.
    Before lockdown the couple had launched a 39-seater boutique theatre in the centre of Dublin. As they wait to focus on that in 2021, Lynch is working with brands through her Instagram account @standingbythewall. She’s also giving her all to finishing the renovation of the family home.

    The newly-finished exterior of the house, complete with contemporary slate coloured windows and front door, allows access for Lynch’s parents to the side.

    The couple bought the property from her parents five years ago with the intention of breathing new life into the space. A ground floor apartment to the side of the property for her parents to live in was a priority. The completed annex now includes a kitchen, living area, bedroom with en suite and a guest toilet. Her parents can walk directly into their new home from the main driveway, which is perfect for her dad, who has mobility issues.
    Architects Finnegan Jackson were on hand for the design, but Lynch’s original idea for a “super modern build” was rejected by planners. “It didn’t look anything like the rest of the area, so we changed it and the new plan was accepted,” she says.

    Priorities are vital when it comes to planning a build, and for Lynch, she knew what she wanted to achieve with her budget.
    The most important element to get right was a working kitchen. “Originally there was a breakfast room, with lots of little spaces, there were no counter tops, and appliances were all over the place. I really wanted a kitchen that worked well for cooking and baking, but also space to just hang out in,” she says.
    And so, in order to achieve that goal and to drench the property in light, the couple knocked several ground floor walls. They were careful to leave folding doors into the living room, an original 1930s feature, in order to have one area separate from the rest of the open plan space.
    Compromises had to be made in order to stay on budget. “We had poured resin floors on our wishlist, but they’re expensive,” she says. “We decided to change the windows instead – so we cut other stuff from the budget to do that. I’m delighted we did it as it’s so cosy now. We just painted the original floorboards over lockdown instead and they look lovely.”
    Industrial steps now lead down to the extended, spacious kitchen. “I gave the metalwork guy photos of fire escapes. When they were put in they did look really industrial, but I painted them white and they look great.”
    A free-standing American style fridge/freezer is a bold centrepiece in the room, and the couple splashed out on a hob with integrated downdraft extractor.

    At the entrance to the kitchen is a functional walk through pantry, which also houses the microwave. They achieved the impactful high ceilings by digging down to garden level – which is a clever way to achieve a feeling of space.
    Lynch didn’t stop there. She carefully considered lots of other ways to make the house function for them during their renovation. An upstairs laundry room that must be the envy of friends was non-negotiable ­– the concept behind it to “make the chore an absolute joy”.
    “It was to make the whole wash, dry, fold, iron and put away an enjoyable and easy job. There is a washing machine, dryer, hot press and counter space for sorting,” she says.

    An image saved from Pinterest has now become a reality and takes pride of place in the family bathroom. “My pink sink is a total joy. I could talk about the pink sink all the time,” she laughs. “Our old bathroom was dingy and very small. The water wouldn’t stay warm, the water pressure was horrendous, the hot tap on the sink didn’t work and there was no freestanding shower. So the big bath, powerful hot spacious shower, and all the storage is just great. It’s a very calm enjoyable space to spend time and relax in,” she says.
    Décor is a key component of this home and with a distinctive monochrome palette throughout, Lynch’s inspiration comes from New York loft apartments.
    “I’m into the plain minimalist look,” she agrees. But she doesn’t think you have to splash out to achieve it. “The décor is quite budget-friendly, and most of the storage is Ikea. We splashed out on an expensive couch from Sofa So Good in Navan. All four of us can now sit comfortably on it which I love.”
    With the line between indoor and outdoor becoming ever more blurred, long term plans include a garden that can be used as an extension to the kitchen. The couple eventually hope to convert the attic into a den or a bedroom for their eldest daughter, and a home office is another possibility, if restrictions continue.

    Daughter Penny’s bedroom is airy and bright and filled with interest

    Building started in September 2019 and a completion date of six months was given but the pandemic saw the process stall. “We rushed to get my parents’ part finished and they’re in now which is brilliant,” she says.
    While most of the work is complete, the finishing touches will be done on an incremental basis, she says. “It’s a million times better than it was,” she smiles. “We really appreciate the level we have gotten it to.”
    Lynch says their living situation has been a dream for her family during lockdown, with everyone blissfully co-existing.  “I can’t believe how lucky I am to live here and have my mum and dad right next door, knowing we can look after them and see them every day. It’s just the perfect set up.”
    About Switch it Up
    Switch it Up is a new 12-part series for those who might be considering switching mortgage provider to make savings on their monthly repayments. It is a follow-up to the award-winning Story of Home series, which explored the idea of home through the eyes of creative people who found their dream place to live.
    Now, Switch it Up, which like Story of Home is supported by Ulster Bank, looks at helpful information on home improvements as well as renovators’ home tours. Plus, we’ve got helpful answers to your mortgage switching queries: from the incentives to how long it will take (not long!) and what’s involved in making a mortgage switch, read our Everything you need to know about switching your mortgage guide at irishtimes.com/switchitup.
    Perhaps now more than ever, we want our homes to suit the way we live and work, and being able to explore the potential in our homes offers us flexibility. This series is designed to unlock the ways in which we might Switch it Up in our homes as our wants and needs change.
    Switching your mortgage could free up funds to help you make these changes. “At Ulster Bank, we want to be a part of the journey you take in making your home the best it can be,” says Sean Kellaghan, mobile mortgage manager at Ulster Bank.
    “We want to make the mortgage switching process as simple and as hassle free as you do,” he adds. Kellaghan understands the stress that can come with making a switch, and he offers reassurance.
    “We are here to help you, and the process is a lot shorter and a lot more straightforward than you might think. Get in touch today and we can talk you through the options and process.”
    For more information, visit ulsterbank.ie
    Ulster Bank Ireland DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland More