The afternoon sun is streaming through our living room window. Lenny, our 3-year-old Collie X is dozing peacefully in the warmth, dreaming of chasing pheasants no doubt. Today our 1970’s South Westerly facing Bungalow feels cosy and warm but then it is Spring here in Dublin…..and we have the heating on……
This is one solid house, devoid of stud walls yet in hopefully 8 weeks time we will be moving out and the Builders will be demolishing the back section of the house and knocking down internal walls so that we can extend and retro fit the house to accommodate our growing family. I feel a little sad that this house that is just one of 7 homes on this quiet cul-de-sac is going to be changed beyond recognition, internally at least. We are the newcomers, but are never made to feel it and the history of this road is of one family which makes it such a special place to live. That and of course the location. We live in a coastal suburb of Dublin called Malahide. We are up the Hill from the beach and the village yet we could be in the middle of the country side. We have a beautiful stretch of fields behind our house that flow down and overlook the coast out to Donabate, Ireland’s Eye and Howth. When I walk the dogs I mostly have the fields to myself and on a good day the vista that encompasses the farms, coast and small towns of North County Dublin is breathtaking.
Our Cul De Sac was once the family homestead where the family home stood large and proud. The division of the land to accommodate the family’s children is a beautiful story of Family & togetherness. A Mother who gave up her house and land so that each of her Children could have their own home and hopefully family. She moved in with her youngest daughter and the honor was repaid as she spent the rest of hers days surrounded by her Children and Grandchildren content in the knowledge that she had provided for them as they in return cared for her.
These Children are elderly now and the Grandchildren are grown with families of their own. A few of the original Children have died and their homes have been sold. Three homes to be exact and we were the lucky Buyers of the last. In a declining market we battled in a bidding war with three other buyers. The potential is huge but our budget is tight, a common scenario but we don’t want to just make it bigger and modern we want to make it as Green as we can. We would love to turn it into a PassivHaus ( check out this site for more info on Passive home in Ireland. http://www.phai.ie/faq/) but we are grounded enough to realize that this would definitely be a financial stretch too far for our little nest egg. Our plan is to try and do everything from an environmental and energy conservation stance and if we can’t, we try to do the next best thing. If we can’t do the next best thing, we do the best that we can afford. After a laborious search we found a local Architect that understands where we are coming from and is making the most of the budget limitations. He has designed the plans around structures that will save money in the short-term and heating and ventilation systems that will save us money in the long-term.
For now, our plans are with a selection of Builders and we sit back and wait to see if their quotes come in on budget. Our build is now a year and a half in the planning and I’ll be damned if we get thrown at the last hurdle. In the meantime I’m getting to grips with packing and recycling and donating in an attempt to make our move to a rental for the few short months that we will need to be off site as smooth as possible. I’m dreading it, yet, long for that feeling of shedding skin so we can embrace the new. Follow me. Watch our progress and see just how Zen I won’t be when it all kicks off.