Sometimes homes are placed for sale for no reason other than that their sellers have contracted the “renovation bug”. Once the tasks of planning, design and construction of a property are completed, they suddenly realise they have enjoyed the project so much that they want to start another.
An example of this is a wonderful waterside property completed by Crossmolina man John Loftus, who purchased an old house on the shore of Lough Conn. "It was your typical Irish house – though architecturally designed and functional, it did not take the aspect, light or views into account."
Soon after renovations started it became evident that a simple refurbishment would be impossible. The house had no concrete flooring or insulation. “It became a completely new build – but this worked to my benefit as I got to design my dream home,” says Loftus.
One of the remarkable aspects of this project in Bofeenaun – completed in 2014 and just a short distance from the village of Pontoon in Co Mayo – is that Loftus designed the property himself. “I have a huge interest in design, and with the help of local builder and engineer John Hallinan we designed the house to take full advantage of the lake setting.”
The property sits on a 1.73-acre private plot and extends to 190sq m (2,050sq ft). There is an additional structure alongside measuring 75sq m (807sq ft), which Loftus had intended for use as a home office, but, now that the renovation bug has taken hold, he is in search of a large Georgian property to renovate, having grown up himself in a Georgian farmhouse in the locality.
From the driveway the house has the appearance of a typical bungalow, but from the lake, the scale of the design becomes apparent. All the ceilings – except in one bedroom – are double height and vaulted, with colossal picture windows taking in the views of Lough Conn.
Outside, the driveway and terraces are laid with red crushed granite to echo the burnt hues of ferns in autumn. With some plantings of pear and apple trees already in place, there is huge scope to develop the gardens further.
The kitchen, by McNally in Ballsbridge, has Gaggenau appliances including a wine cooler and retractable extractor fan. Flooring is a poured resin in a colour that mimics the lake and creates the effect of an infinity floor linking to the water.
The property has three bedrooms, all of which are ensuite and have private terraces.
The internal light is impressive, facilitated by vast glazing throughout in addition to overhead Velux.
The setting at the shore of Lough Conn, a 57sq km lake connected to the Atlantic by the River Moy, will appeal to those with a penchant for fly fishing, as the Moy is renowned for the best salmon fishing in Ireland. An old lamppost remains at the water’s edge to tether a fishing boat.
“What I love about the house is getting up in the morning and staring out the window – it’s like waking up in heaven watching the swans at the water’s edge,” says Loftus.
His Mayo-based company, LLR-G5, produces organic silicon supplements taken by athletes to help muscle recovery and improve bone density. “We have just received novel food status from the European Commission, so sales have gone through the roof in the past 12 months and we have now expanded into the Saudi Arabian market.”
The high-spec property, in turnkey condition, is on the market through local agent Tuohy O’Toole with an asking price of €950,000. While this is one of the most expensive houses to hit the market in Mayo it is without doubt entirely unique.