Westin, Herbert Road, Bray, Co Wicklow Asking price: €725,000 Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 286 6630
he top 10 reasons why people sell their homes (as determined by a survey by Rightmove in the UK) include: having children, moving closer to family and a benefit of cashing in on equity/capital value.
Ian and Edel Cullinane who have just placed Westin, their 1920s built Bray home on the market, tick all three boxes.
When they bought the house at Herbert Avenue four years ago they had just got married and were planning to start a family. Following the birth of their son, James, a year ago, they’re now returning their roots in the west.
“We don’t really have any friend or family support in Bray and that’s the only downside to living there,” says Ian. “It really helps if you have people around you that you trust when you have a child, especially if one of you gets sick or something goes wrong.”
There’s also a timely reason why increasing numbers of east to west relocators like the Cullinanes are benefiting from making that move now.
The value gap between homes in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) and those in rural Ireland recently reached the widest margin in a generation following eight years of higher GDA price inflation. But since last year, this trend has reversed. So now is the perfect time to cash in on that value gap.
Ian works as an accountant and comes from Galway, while Edel is a school teacher from Sligo. They were in college at the same time in Galway years ago but never met.
It took a chance encounter nine years ago in a pub in Ranelagh to get then together. “It turned out we had lots of friends in common,” says Ian.
They got engaged in 2018, and were married and bought the house in Bray the same year. It had belonged to the same family since it was built in the 1920s and had later been 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 old-fashioned, the structure of the property was intact and it had been extended at the back 11 years before. The couple made some structural changes in order to create more space.
Originally there was doorway leading from the hall to the sitting room, and they closed this off. They also knocked the wall between the sitting room and the dining room, replacing it with a sliding door.
The sitting room has an open fire, polished wooden floors and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. A bay window, typical of that period, opens to the front.
The sliding door gives the option of two rooms or one big one, which is handy for entertaining. “We’ve had Christmas and New Year parties and a christening for James in the house,” explains Ian.
The walls and the ceilings have recently been insulated and the couple replaced the existing oil range with gas central heating. They added wooden counter tops in the kitchen and all the lighting has been replaced.
The hanging lights above the island are an appealing effect. “It’s a lovely space and we eat there more often than not,” says Ian. “It’s handy with the baby too. We can put him in the high chair beside us.”
The house had laminated floors throughout when they bought it and these were removed.
“We were very lucky because the original floorboards were in great condition for a house that old,” says Ian. “We had them sanded down and varnished and they came up really well.”
The floorboards in the hallway, however, were not in good repair so the couple replaced them with patterned tiles that suit the period of the house and provide a pleasing aesthetic on entry. This design is continued in the downstairs bathroom too.
Edel was responsible for most of the interior décor. The walls throughout are painted white or light grey. Upstairs, they refitted the bathroom adding a standalone bath.
The bedrooms are spacious with plenty of storage. Two of them had open fires and although now closed off, the fire openings are still visible.
“Both my wife and I grew up in older houses,” says Ian. “We like features like that and besides it gives the house character.”
The garden at the back is south facing and private with a patio. There’s also potential for the garage to be converted. This is Ian’s favourite room. “It’s the length of the house and quite wide,” he says. “ I put a boxing bag in there and used it to keep fit during lockdown.”
“It’s a fantastic area,” says Ian. “You have all the amenities at your fingertips and it’s near to the sea.”
The couple enjoyed leisurely walks on the beach during 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 seeks €725,000 on their behalf.