In the series finale of Room to Improve, Dermot Bannon is taking on an Edwardian terraced home in Drumcondra, that was originally build for officers of the British Army over 100 years ago.
Formerly split into two apartments by the previous owners, who were siblings, Glenn and Gustav are hoping to turn it into a more singular space, and a home for themselves, their son Noah, and their two Weimaraner dogs.
"I'd like a fully functioning large kitchen, four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and for the house to be warm and cosy, and work for us and our growing family," says Glenn but Gustav has slightly different ideas.
"I would prefer three big bedrooms with three ensuites," he says.
With a budget of €150,000, Dermot drops the bombshell that that budget could go solely on repairing the house, rather than adding any major extras, but the couple hope it can be pushed a lot further.
Though cold, the house is in good condition: the big challenge is tackling how disconnected the house is, and the disparity in what the two men want from their home."Much of this project will be about restoring the house and then bringing a connection to the garden," says Dermot.
A tall glazed extension will give the couple a big kitchen and dining space. Upstairs, there will be two large family bathrooms, and a single bedroom, along with two bedrooms on the top floor. "I think the proportions of these bedrooms is great so I would just like to restore them," says Dermot.
Dermot's plan costs €199,000, but his plans to bring the BER rating up to an A3 rating would get them a grant which brings the budget back down closer to the all important €150,000 number, at €160,000.
However, finding a builder to match the budget estimate prices was a struggle once planning was granted, because of changes in the residential market and the stretched out timeline. The new estimates come in at €194,000, €30,000 over budget.
After reconsidering their options, Gustav and Glenn decide to go the whole hog, and add in re-pointing the brickwork front and back, pave the garden and completely redesign the interior, raising the bottom line to €220,000.
With the budget pushed to its limited, news that the work to install underfloor heating has destabilised two supporting walls, leaves €1,500-1,800 the couple have to find. However, that is only the start of the issues. A hole in the ceiling, damp walls, slipping roof slates, and repointing or replacing the chimney are all potentially adding another €20,000+ to the costs.
"Because they're so stretched with this, and they've gone way beyond their original budget, I'd prefer to know exactly how much this is going to cost, and I'd like to have a couple of suggestions of what we could leave out to do it. The €1,800 on the ground floor is starting to feel like a drop in the ocean compared to what's going on upstairs," says Dermot.
Having assessed their options and dug deeper into their budget, the couple decide to go ahead with the €18,000 additional costs, but then Dermot calls to add an additional roof light that had been removed from the budget, for another €1,300, into the plan. The couple reluctantly agree, knowing it's the cheapest time to make the addition while the roof is already stripped.
Gustav has big style and wants to bring light to the property with neon flamingo lights and eclectic sculptures and Glenn has dreams of polished concrete and Crittall windows.
It's the bathroom wallpaper that pushes Dermot to the limit, however. "Honestly it looks like 1970s blinds, rubbery ones," laughs Dermot, but the couple hold firm.
Sixteen weeks after the project went to site, the house is transformed into the family home Glenn and Gustav always dreamed it could be. Embued with their uncompromising style, the couple's individuality, warmth and character fills the house on a grand scale. "Gus has an incredible eye. Is it 100% my cup of tea? Probably not, but it doesn't matter," says Dermot.
Upstairs, the conversion of the house into a family home is completed with a master bedroom and a bright and playful bedroom for Noah on the first floor, and two guest bedrooms upstairs. Two family bathrooms complete the home, and Dermot ends up liking the bold wallpaper in one of them, despite his earlier protests.
At final account, the project cost €240,000, but the couple are delighted with the results.
Images via Coco Television.