Where TV director switched off
Durrus, west Cork €350,000:Almost every weekend for the last seven years, Ben Frow, former director of programming at TV3 and the man who gave us Tallafornia and Dublin Wives, has driven the three and a half hours from Dublin to his second home, The White House, in Durrus, west Cork.
He bought the house in the mid-noughties, having spotted it online. He viewed it soon after and made an offer there and then.
West Cork appealed to him as he felt it was a good mix of “pretty parts of Kerry and the wilds of Connemara with aspects of both areas in moderation”.
For two years builder Pat Gallagher and architect Peter Mabey helped turn the cottage into Frow’s dream home, under his strict instructions.
He oversaw all aspects of the renovation (floors needed to be dug out and an extension was added) and created a design book at the outset detailing how he wanted the house to look.
Frow had a hand in creating television shows such as Location, Location, Location and Property Ladder, so his micro-management of the project is understandable.
The house is a two-bedroomed traditional cottage on three quarters of an acre, with views over the rolling countryside and well-attended gardens.
Downstairs is an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area, with bespoke worktop and kitchen table made from recycled pitch-pine church pews.
There are painted timber floors throughout and his favourite room, he says, is the study.
“It’s at the top of the stairs and it has books and pictures from my childhood. There’s a lovely sofa and a desk and it is a really sweet and clever use of that area.”
Frow is moving back to London to take up a position with Channel 5 as director of programmes and he says one of the reasons he is selling the house is canine related.
“I have a dog and I can’t take the dog on a flight, so it would involve a ferry to Ireland which is too long a journey.
“The house is in a nice secluded and protected spot with great views.
“It has a nice feel about it. I spent a lot of time on my own there.”
Some of the items of furniture in the house have been collected over the years and all are precisely chosen.
He tried out half a dozen sofas before settling on the current one, for example, and he is open to the idea of selling the furniture along with the house.
Having paid the asking price at the height of the boom, he won’t disclose precisely how much it cost him.
“People say that I should use it as an occasional holiday home but I want it to be lived in and don’t want it empty,” he says.
“I have loved and enjoyed it and I don’t want it sitting there dank and depressing.”
He takes up his new job in two weeks’ time and is currently shipping his possessions from his Dublin apartment to London. The dog will follow shortly.
If the house doesn’t make the €350,000 price, he is not willing to let it go for a cut price, considering how much care and attention to detail (and cost) the house involved.
“It could take five years to sell and if it doesn’t sell we’ll be spending next Christmas in it,” he says.
“Selling is not a big concern. I’d rather not have the day-to-day hassle of having it, but I really hope someone will fall in love with it like I did.”
Description: two-bedroom traditional cottage on three quarters of an acre with open-plan kitchen, living and dining area
The White House, Durrus, west Cork
Agent: Charles McCarthy Auctioneers