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.
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 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.
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
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