Renovated thatched cottage

Ian and Sophie Wright bought land with a cottage and outbuildings, planning a new-build project, but updating the existing house held more appeal

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On their first visit to the place that they now call home, 12 years ago, Ian and Sophie Wright were instantly drawn to the picturesque setting and the small thatched cottage.

‘We were renting a house locally and had been searching for some time to find the ideal property for our family,’ says Ian. ‘Some friends suggested going to look at the cottage. They knew the retired couple who had lived in it for more than 40 years, and over this time it had gradually fallen into disrepair. It was damp, had no heating and needed a considerable amount of work.’

Fact file

  • The owners: Ian Wright, an osteopath, lives here with his wife Sophie, a trainee psychotherapist, and their children, Alex, 13, and twins Poppy and Emma, 11
  • The property: A four-bedroom thatched cottage with outbuildings
  • The location: Near Flemingstown, County Tipperary, Republic of Ireland
  • What they spent: The couple paid £90,000 for the property in 2002 and have spent around £256,000 on renovations. It has recently been valued at £320,000

Period restoration thatched cottage with extension-living room

Period restoration thatched cottage with extension-downstairs bathroom

The downstairs WC features ornate tiles and a small, bowl-style basin, all from Tilestyle

Work begins

‘The builder and I worked together on a daily basis, with me doing the designing and him working out the structural potential until we reached solutions. The building work took around three years and we ran out of money once the thatched side of the house was finished, so we had to wait a year to start the other side in terms of second fixings. Holding down a full-time job while project-managing was at times exhausting and stressful,’ says Ian.

Kitchen units

Family room in converted outbuilding

master bedroom

The bedrooms

Three spacious bedrooms have been created upstairs in the new second storey, along with a large family bathroom. The maple flooring used in the bedrooms adds character. ‘It was imported from an old factory in Birmingham that was being demolished,’ Ian explains. ‘We knew that it would inject some old-style charm into the house so we got a job lot and used it downstairs, too. It was money well spent.’


Interior design

Once all the major structural work had been completed, Sophie and Ian could turn their attention to the finishing touches of the interior scheme.

‘We both wanted a simple country-style look so we decided on natural finishes, such as wood and slate, and kept the colour palette very neutral, choosing off-whites. The furnishings are a mixture of auction finds and modern pieces. We took our time furnishing the house, picking up pieces from different places and shops over the years, so ultimately the house has an eclectic look and is furnished with things that we love,’ explains Ian.

The now extended and redesigned house has given Ian and Sophie all the space that they need for their family. ‘We both love it and, despite the change of plans, it has ended up being exactly what we wanted,’ Ian adds. ‘We have a beautiful, characterful home in a tranquil countryside setting.’

The costs

Labour and building work£180,000
New roof, including thatching£30,000
Windows and rooflights£18,000
Kitchen and appliances£10,500

The contacts

  • Master thatcher: Kyran O’Grady (00353 404 69846)
  • Plumbing Clonmel: Plumbing Supplies (00353 52 612 3422)
  • Kitchen units: B&Q
  • Worktops: Clonmel Kitchens
  • French doors: Munster Joinery
  • Windows: Chadwicks, Quirke, Velux
  • Lime plaster: The Traditional Lime Company

Featured image: Now a large open-plan room, the kitchen features a dining set from Laura Ashley. The large cabinet, picked up at a local auction, provides plenty of storage, and the flooring was salvaged from a factory in Birmingham that was being demolished