Retrofitting – A Real Life Perspective

To give our readers an insight into a live home renovation/retrofitting project mid-pandemic, over the last few months HAI has been engaging with new home-owner Shane Kenneally, who in 2020 bought a rundown house just outside Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Over the next few issues we will update you on Shane’s progress with his home, some of the key developments and decisions he’s made, and his motivations.

In this issue we introduce readers to Shane, his new home, and his plans.

About the Homeowner

A mechanic by trade Shane Kenneally and his wife Amy bought Dundeady House as their first home in June 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shane was excited to use his trade experience (having worked with West Cork Builders in Clonakilty for seven years when at school) to do up the house over the next six months. His father is a builder and his uncle is a plumber. Shane was of the opinion that all would be completed in six months.

What prompted you and your family to choose that area?

I am from the Galley Head and Amy is from Clonakilty (approximately nine miles away). After going out for many years Amy fell in love with the area and we rented our first house out here.

The house we rented was old and cold but was a nice first starter, we got a rottweiler dog called Jess who is one of the family, and when we got married we moved to house number two and had two kids – Sean (4) and Hope (2). So basically for me there is nowhere else but the Galley and Amy wasn’t long feeling the same.

What prompted you to choose that particular house? Why a run-down house in need of works rather than a newer/brand new house?

The Galley Head is beside the sea and a special consideration area in terms of planning so building wasn’t an option, we had a site in mind and met the planners and before the meeting even began the planner told us that it wasn’t going to be positive.

We got an architect to review all previous applications in the Galley and she agreed it would be a lost cause. We had a long-term plan in place to save for the deposit and still pursue the planning option by the end of the year.

There aren’t many houses for sale out here, this house was for sale in 2019 but we weren’t in a position to buy it. It came up again in June and I swore I was going to do everything I could to secure it. We paid the booking deposit June 29th and received the keys on September 6th. This house was looking like one of our last options to live out here so we were delighted to get it.

What will it give you that you feel a new house in an estate wouldn’t?

I’m a country lad through-and-through and for me there is nowhere that comes close to the Galley. When we step outside the door in the morning we get the fresh smell of the sea. Everyone knows everyone and life is quiet and peaceful.

About the house:

Dundeady House is a 13-acre coastal residence, located between the Long Strand beach and Galley Head (Shane’s childhood town) in Clonakilty. The residence is a two-storey, four-bedroom home in need of renovation.

It comprises three rooms downstairs – to the left a sitting room and to the right a living room and a small damp kitchen. Upstairs comprises four bedrooms (two large, one medium and one small), a small bathroom and hot-press.

Over his six-month planned renovation process Shane plans to:

  • Bring BER up from a G to B2, which he will do by:
    • Drylining the walls and ceiling
    • Insulating the attic
    • Insulating between the joists between the first and second floor
    • Insulating also for sound deadening
    • Exterior insulation
    • Installing new windows
    • Taking up the floors downstairs and insulating, and then putting down new floors
    • Build on a small extension out the back to become a kitchen come dining room.
  • Make changes to the existing first floor layout:
    • The room on the left will remain a sitting room opening into the new extension/dining room.
    • The room on the right will be a playroom and the old kitchen will be a bathroom/utility.
  • Make changes to the second floor layout:
    • Convert it to a three-bed – the small bedroom and tiny bathroom will be joined to form a big bedroom.
    • The medium bedroom will be converted into a bathroom and hot-press and move from the rear of the house to the front.

Next issue we will look at the first few months of Shane’s progress as his family home begins to take shape.