Candy coloured townhouse with an operatic twist for €315k

A stroll from Wexford’s opera house, this downsizer’s home zings with colour inside

 

The exterior of number 3 St Peter’s Square in Wexford looks very like its tall townhouse neighbours, but the canary yellow Fiat 500 parked outside the matching front door is a hint that this particular home might be a little different inside.

The house and the car belong to Aine Cosgrove, who has been coming to Wexford for years to attend its famous opera festival. Three years ago, she decided to make it her home.

Exterior of 3 St Peter’s Square, Wexford
Hallway, 3 St Peter’s Square, Wexford

It was a bold move for the retired social worker, who had worked in one of Dublin’s first Aids clinics and spent several years liaising with the Traveller community. But Cosgrove was in need of a fresh start, having lost her only child, Aife, to brain cancer at the age of 39.

Selling up in Dublin, she went househunting in Wexford, initially concentrating on the newly built estates on the outskirts of the town but soon deciding that she would prefer to be in the centre of things and walk everywhere. She found her new home in a tiny square in the centre of the town, a short walk from the National Opera House, and set about refurbishing it to her own taste, which runs to every colour of the rainbow.

The building had been an osteopath’s clinic and needed work. It was a little gloomy with no garden. Cosgrove took the bold decision to remove a rear extension to restore the original backyard, which is now the suntrap patio.

Number 3, though three storeys high, is not a particularly large house – the floor area comes in at about 83sq m (893sq ft).

Inside, Cosgrove renovated from the bottom up, installing underfloor heating, opening up rooms to one another and creating a space suitable for a singleton, albeit one that could easily accommodate a guest or two, as well as a home office. Open-plan living on each floor makes it a flexible home, but the outstanding feature is the colour scheme, which starts with the standout front door and the blue stripe across the front facade above pavement level.

Jigsaw vinyl

The hallway is floored in multicolour jigsaw vinyl, a remnant from a creche renovation.

Aine Cosgrove in her house that she’s selling in Wexford town. Photograph: Mary Browne
Aine Cosgrove in her house that she’s selling in Wexford town. Photograph: Mary Browne
3 St Peter’s Square, Wexford
Dressingrooom, 3 St Peter’s Square, Wexford

But it’s in the kitchen cum diningroom that Cosgrove let rip, with its lime green and candy pink units. “I had a big argument with the kitchen guys. They tried to tell me that smudge green is a colour.” She wasn’t having it in her kitchen, nor would she tolerate any shade of fashionable grey. “I have no tiles because I couldn’t find anything bright enough,” she says.

The ground floor is taken up with the kitchen/dining space, and there is also a utility room and a shower room at this level. The first floor is given over to a large livingroom with views over St Peter’s Square and access to a balcony.

The top floor is given over to a bedroom suite, complete with a dressing area, bathroom and reading corner.

Cosgrove has loved reinventing the house but Dublin is calling her back. The death of her grandson, Aife’s only child, a year ago was a fresh blow. She’s keen to be back in the city among her remaining family and friends, and to be back within a bus ride of the National Concert Hall. “I’m a city person and it’s time to go back to the city, if I can,” she says. She’s put the house on the market with local agents Keane Auctioneers, where Edel Keane is handling viewings. The asking price is €315,000. In the meantime, this year’s opera festival is in full swing and she’s going to enjoy every minute.

Share your renovation story: have you recently renovated your home or built a house from scratch? If so we’d love to hear your story. Please email homeanddesign@irishtimes.com

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