Big home win for Bray wanderers – the young family selling out to Wicklow and returning to their roots in the west

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Westin, Herbert Road, Bray, Co Wicklow Asking price: €725,000 Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 286 6630

The top 10 reasons people sell their homes (as determined by a UK Rightmove survey) include: having children, being closer to family and taking advantage of equity/capital value.

Ian and Edel Cullinane, who just put Westin, their Bray home built in the 1920s, on the market tick all three boxes.

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The exterior of the property built in the 1920s

The exterior of the property built in the 1920s

When they bought the house on Herbert Avenue four years ago, they had just married and intended to start a family. After the birth of their son, James, a year ago, they are now returning to their western roots.

“We don’t really have any friends 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 is also a timely reason why an increasing number of east to west movers like the Cullinanes are benefiting from this move now.

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The kitchen/dining room with patio door


The kitchen/dining room with patio door

The kitchen/dining room with patio door

The gap in value between houses in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) and those in rural Ireland has recently reached the widest margin in a generation after eight years of higher price inflation in the GDA. But since last year, this trend has reversed. So now is the perfect time to take advantage of this value gap.

Ian works as an accountant and is from Galway, while Edel is a primary school teacher in Sligo. They were at university together in Galway years ago but never met.

It took a chance meeting nine years ago in a Ranelagh pub to find each other again. “It turned out that we had a lot of friends in common,” says Ian.

They got engaged in 2018, got married and bought the house in Bray the same year. It had been owned by the same family since it was built in the 1920s and was subsequently rented out. At 1,417 square feet with four bedrooms and a long back garden, it was perfect for raising young children.

While the interior was a bit dated, the structure of the property was intact and it had been extended to the rear 11 years prior. 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 closed it. They also knocked down the wall between the living room and the dining room, replacing it with a sliding door.

The living room has an open fireplace, waxed parquet floors and a chandelier suspended from the ceiling. A bay window, typical of this period, opens in front.

The sliding door gives the option of two bedrooms or one large, which is convenient for entertaining. “We held Christmas and New Year parties and a christening for James at home,” says Ian.

The walls and ceilings have recently been insulated and the couple have replaced the existing oil cooker with gas central heating. They added wood counters in the kitchen and all the lighting was replaced.

The lights hanging above the island are an attractive effect. “It’s a beautiful space and we eat there most often,” says Ian. “It’s practical with the baby too. We can put him in the high chair next to us.

The house had laminate floors everywhere when they bought it and these have been removed.

“We were very lucky because the original floorboards were in very good condition for such an old house,” says Ian. “We had them sanded and varnished and they stood up very well.”

The hallway floors, however, weren’t in good condition, so the couple replaced them with patterned tiles that befit the house’s period and provide a pleasing aesthetic to the entryway. This design is also continued in the downstairs bathroom.

Edel was responsible for most of the interior decor. Walls throughout are painted white or light gray. Upstairs, they remodeled the bathroom by adding a free-standing bathtub.

The bedrooms are spacious with plenty of storage. Two of them had open fires and although now closed the fire openings are still visible.

“My wife and I grew up in older homes,” says Ian. “We love features like that and it adds character to the house.”

The rear garden is south facing and private with a patio. There is also potential for the garage to be converted. It’s Ian’s favorite room. “It’s the length of the house and quite wide,” he said. “I put a punching bag in it and used it to stay in shape during lockdown.”

“It’s a fantastic area,” says Ian. “You have all the amenities at your fingertips and it’s close to the sea.”

The couple enjoyed quiet walks on the beach during the lockdown. “Lockdown was tough,” says Ian, “but it meant we spent more time together, which was good, and we ended up having a Covid baby!”

Sherry FitzGerald is seeking €725,000 on their behalf.

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