Maeve’s pas­sion for ar­chi­tec­ture and sail­ing Land­scap­ing de­sign

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - John Daly

Prospect Villa is in­deed a well named house.

Proudly perched on a com­mand­ing site high over Kin­sale, its views take in most of the town, the ma­rina and the glit­ter­ing waters stretch­ing out be­tween the twin mar­itime guardians of Charles Fort and James Fort.

On a sunny af­ter­noon, or any kind of day, re­ally, the house stands proudly as a place de­signed to in­spire the senses in as dra­matic a set­ting as might be found any­where along this pic­turesque coast­line.

Back to her roots

With a mother from Bantry and a fa­ther from Cork, Maeve Cot­ter is close to her roots in Kin­sale — a place she be­came fa­mil­iar with dat­ing back in her ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dent days at UCD.

Maeve re­calls: “Hav­ing been born and brought up in Dublin, I re­mem­ber get­ting a col­lege sum­mer job with the Kin­sale Devel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion work­ing on the Charles Fort restora­tion project.”

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously vis­ited the town dur­ing child­hood fam­ily jaunts, that stu­dent sum­mer was Maeve’s first adult so­journ in a place she would ul­ti­mately go on to call home years later.

“I fell in love with Kin­sale dur­ing that stu­dent sum­mer all those years ago,” she says. “I mean, how could you not?”

Hav­ing grad­u­ated with a de­gree in Ar­chi­tec­ture from UCD, her suc­cess­ful prac­tice even­tu­ally moved into restora­tion and con­ser­va­tion projects.

She founded Bel­clare Projects in 2004, a con­struc­tion busi­ness com­bin­ing her ar­chi­tect’s train­ing with project man­age­ment skills on pres­ti­gious restora­tion projects.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously lived fur­ther down the coast in Glan­dore, Maeve and her hus­band moved to Kin­sale five years ago, and pur­chased Prospect Villa.

“My two sons and their fam­i­lies also live in the area, so it’s won­der­ful to have all of us liv­ing so close to­gether in this won­der­ful place. At a time when so many peo­ple have their grand­chil­dren on the other side of the world, I feel es­pe­cially for­tu­nate to be in the po­si­tion.”

Hav­ing ini­tially rented in Kin­sale for a time, Maeve and her hus­band were both de­lighted to come upon Prospect Villa as part of their search for a suit­able project.

Unique project

As an ar­chi­tect fo­cused on painstak­ing restora­tion work through her Bel­clare Projects com­pany, she es­tab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion for build­ing unique, high spec­i­fi­ca­tion homes on both new and restora­tion projects.

In 2013, Bel­clare com­menced work on the restora- tion and ex­ten­sion of this Vic­to­rian villa, dat­ing back to the 1870s.

With a lay­out that re­mained al­most en­tirely as orig­i­nally con­structed in the late nine­teenth cen­tury, the prop­erty, which had been va­cant for an ex­tended pe­riod, was in very poor con­di­tion.

The new de­sign for the house en­vis­aged a dou­bling of the orig­i­nal 2,000 square feet to ap­prox­i­mately 4,000, plus the con­struc­tion of an artist studio.

In a de­sign re­tain­ing key de­tail el­e­ments — in­clud­ing wooden shut­ters, plaster cor­nices, ar­chi­traves and wood pan­elling, the in­ter­nal ren­o­va­tions in­cluded com­plete re­place­ment of wiring, plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal, kitchens and bath­rooms.

New joists and floor­ing in­cor­po­rated un­der- floor heat­ing through­out three floors, with an air to wa­ter heat pump, a me­chan­i­cal heat re­cov­ery sys­tem and a rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing op­er­a­tion also in­stalled.

“With the sun ris­ing on one side and go­ing down on the other, it’s easy to un­der­stand why one could fall in love with a house like this. And while it was a ma­jor un­der­tak­ing, it fit­ted very well into the kind of work we do at Bel­clare Projects.” Tak­ing Prospect Villa right back to its orig­i­nal es­sen­tials has clearly been a labour of love for Maeve, and is still an on­go­ing project as she now fo­cuses on the three

acres of ground sur­round­ing the house.

“My hus­band has the green fin­gers; we are cur­rently plant­ing an or­chard, dozens of new trees and hun­dreds of plants. It’s all com­ing to­gether so well, but there is still a long way to go.”

Away from on­go­ing work at Prospect Villa and her other projects with Bel­clare, Maeve is a keen sailor and part of the Dragon fleet at Kin­sale Yacht Club.

“I had sailed Dragons in Glan­dore for many years, and am very pleased to con­tinue that here in Kin­sale. My two sons also sail, so we of­ten get out to­gether, which is an­other bless­ing to life here in Kin­sale.

“Given that they both have small chil­dren, we don’t man­age to get out all to­gether as I’d like , of course, but be­ing able to live, work and sail here re­ally does make Kin­sale some­where truly spe­cial to be part of.”

Ar­chi­tect Maeve Cot­ter at home in Kin­sale. Her com­pany, Bel­care Projects, spe­cialises in restora­tion projects. Pic­tures: Dan Line­han

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.