Clearly I have a one track mind…

Having viewed it, we couldn’t stop thinking about the pigeon house. It was complete madness. We were already living in our dream home. We are both architects and designed a brand new house for ourselves only seven years years earlier, having bought a used car lot with some friends.

garage site

From this garage site…

houses

To this. Photo is of 3 houses, we are one of them.

It’s a great place to live. Great location, great neighbours. The house was personal to us to us and to our three children who loved living there also. Every room told a story, from the kids den with the map of the world wallpaper where we spent hours and hours locating various far flung places, to the wrapping paper that wallpapered the guest wc walls. I love to cook and the kitchen was my ideal one. (Proof? Photographed in the slider above!) We had countless parties for the kids and their friends as well as entertained our own friends. The garden had been transformed from a sea of hardcore to an oasis. I had the green house I had always wished for and managed to grow a decent amount of produce for consumption. Gardening is my therapy. The moving was supposed to stop with this house.

rear garden before

And from this…

rear garden after

…to this.

Despite all of this, after our initial viewing of the pigeon house there was only one thing on our mind. How could we possibly do this? Even a perfunctory back of the envelope drawing had persuaded us that we could transform the bleak dark extremely smelly house (pigeon poo, or to use its technical term, guana is not pleasant stuff) into something beautiful. However the property market had collapsed. The banks were not lending. There was no question of bridging as we had done in the past. Estate agents were not accepting offers unless you were a cash buyer. ie have already sold your house or won the lotto. We have not done either. In fact our house was NOT EVEN FOR SALE so how could it be sold?! Our children have already been uprooted 3 previous times and have no desire to go through that again. Despite all of this we decide it’s worth a chat with our local estate agent, if only to put an end to the nonsense. Over the years we have built up a good relationship with their company and respect their opinion. They spot us coming in the door and assume it is to do with a property for a client. We explain that no, we are just wondering if they happen to have any buyers who might be interested in a quick, off market sale for our own house! They say they might but we won’t like the price. We say try us. They tell us what they think we might get and we agree it’s a fair price. It is about one third of what the neighbouring house sold for during the “Tiger” years.

So we go back home, sit down and have a chat. We decide that if we could sell and buy at the same time then it shouldn’t matter how much our house had fallen in value. We decide that if the banks were lending then they would be lending more money to other people with higher salaries than us and then we would never have a hope of getting this house. And the price that the pigeon house would get would also be higher.

So why were we even tempted to look again? I guess it’s because despite knowing the stress and anxiety involved in any building project we somehow convince ourselves that it is balanced by the excitement and the sense of achievement of a job well done on completion. I really am passionate about design but it’s not just about the finishes and fittings, it’s about creating a home. I was confident that I could once again create a place that would be special for our family.

www.coda.ie contact us for architectural or interior design advice.

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