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20 May

Westport: designer living on western seaboard (Irish Times 16th May, 2013)



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 (Article Extract from Irish Times - 16th May, 2013)

In 2001, Emma Minish O’Toole had dreams of finding a period property in Dublin in need of attention “but as every house at auction sold for double the guide price, we found this site and decided to build our dream house in my home town of Westport,” she says.

Together with architects McGann Scahill, Minish O’Toole – originally a dress designer, she re-trained as an interior designer – was involved with all aspects of Carramore’s design. She project managed the entire interior which stands at a vast 5,600 sq ft (520sqm). Carramore is now selling through joint agents Helen Cassidy and Tuohy O’Toole with an asking price of €1.2 million.

Carramore stands on a 20 acre site with Croagh Patrick and Moher Lake a feature of the superb vistas offered from all the living spaces and bedrooms. What is immediately striking is the attention to detail. Even though the house faces north, the clever use of angular windows means all the rooms are light-filled and airy.

Essentially this is an upside-down L-shaped house with reception rooms upstairs making the best of the house’s aspect. All the rooms have panoramic views, apart from a wing containing a library, a design studio and en-suite bedroom, which can if needed become a self-contained unit.

The large high-tech kitchen with an industrial-sized hob and Wolf oven looks to be brand new even though the house is 10 years old. All counters are a muted green Corian and the vast centre island is a glistening stainless steel. There is little to give away that a young family of six lives here, as the excellent storage space means every utensil has a home and is out of sight. A comfortable family room with polished dark walnut floors shares a fire hearth with an everyday dining room off the kitchen.

Further down a corridor comprised entirely of glass lies a more formal dining and drawing room with access to a patio that wraps around the house. Family bedrooms are downstairs off a large hallway and again are light filled and tastefully decorated. The master room is reminiscent of what you might expect in a five-star hotel suite with luxurious carpets, a huge dressing room, sunken bath and private patio.

All Carramore’s rooms are painted in neutral Farrow & Ball tones, and despite the huge floor space and extensive use of glass, the atmosphere throughout is surprisingly warm, heated underfoot by a geothermal system.

Minish O’Toole and her estate agent husband are selling up despite loving their home. “I have turned into a taxi,” she says “I seem to spend all day in the car with the children; it makes more sense to move into town. I want to go back to interior design and this just isn’t possible where we live.”

New owners may find locking up at night could take some time due to the vast amount of patio doors, but buyers with €1.2 million to spend will find a superb high end house in turnkey condition, perfect for entertaining 15 minutes from the popular town of Westport.

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