Moving has long been recognized as one of the most stressful experiences one can have in life. Pair that with the work it takes to completely remodel your new home, and stress levels are likely to exceed the roof.
Yet that’s exactly what Jacqueline Rooney and her husband Scott did when they decided to purchase a dilapidated bungalow in the quaint coastal village of Rostrevor, Co Down.
Discouraged by the prospect of having to tackle a project that required a lot of work, Rooney didn’t even want to see the house to begin with.
However, as soon as he saw the view from the upstairs windows, he realized that the building had the potential to be a splendid family home.
“We went to see the two-bedroom house for the first time in the summer of 2016,” says Rooney, a professional artist. “It was an upside-down format [with bedrooms on the ground floor and living space on the first floor] and initially I was reluctant to even see it at first, as the price was very high and I knew it needed a lot of work to do it.
“But as soon as we entered [to the first floor]we met with the most breathtaking panoramic views of Carlingford Lough and the Cooley Peninsula as well as the Morne Mountains, so it was love at first sight for all of us and, in our hearts, we knew we had truly found ‘the one’. “
Before finding what would be the perfect home for their family – which includes children Finlay (6) and Evan (5) as well as Buddy their “lively cocker spaniel” – the couple had no idea of building or even renovating. a house. They only knew that they wanted to live by the sea and in a quiet location. So undertaking a project of such large proportions was completely unexpected.
“We had lived in the countryside outside Banbridge, which is about 30 minutes from where we are now,” says Rooney, who runs his gallery and interior shop in the village, while Scott works as a bartender with his Horse Cafe on Rostrevor Square. .
“Our old house was lovely but it was really very remote despite being close to a busy road, so we knew that to fit in with family life, we wanted to find a place that was accessible to village or city life. We had always dreamed of living by the sea and wanted a better lifestyle for the family in terms of location and lifestyle, but we had no intention of renovating and certainly not building.
“However, the new house had to be completely gutted and the stairs had to be reconfigured. It also needed a double-height extension, new flooring, electrical and plumbing – the works. We literally took off the entire roof and removed almost all the existing walls to rebuild the house and create our forever home. “
Along with moving home, having a baby is also considered to be one of life’s most monumental moments, bringing both upset and joy in equal measure. So while each of these events is life-changing, having two at the same time can be very challenging, and this was the case with Jacqueline and Scott, whose second child was born a few days after closing the sale on their neighbor – being one. new house.
Within a few months, work began on the project, and almost a year later they began decorating the interior of what was now a five-bedroom family home, before moving in for good.
“We collected the house keys a few days before the birth of our second child, in December 2016,” says the mother of two. “We then arranged to meet an architect to create the project of our dreams, so construction began in April 2017 and we hired a contractor to oversee the mammoth project.
“The construction work was completed in May 2018 and that’s when the fun started for me: I had studied interior design along with my fine arts degree, so I was looking forward to injecting my personality and color. throughout our home. This included designing our bespoke navy blue kitchen with gold island, choosing prominent tiles and colors, and adding antique pieces to complement the modern interior, as we wanted to give a nod to the past and the future.
“We finally moved into the house in the summer of 2018 and it seemed like all our dreams had come true. We found ourselves living in a place where we woke up to breathtaking views and were able to savor them every day.
“So we love everything about our new home, as well as our friends and family, who love spending time with us here. The wrap-around balcony in our open plan living area celebrates the breathtaking view and is a fabulous entertainment space for us as a family and all who enter our home. It was worth it and we couldn’t be happier ”.