In 2006, when Pádraig Whooley and Lorraine Dufficey spent ¤265 thousand on their remote cottage at Rossmore in West Cork, they knew that - while the hilltop location was ideal - the house was far from it.
The cottage is cramped and claustrophobic. The kitchen is tiny, it has one drawer and three presses, their living room is freezing and their bedrooms dark. Apart from all that there is another good reason why they want to improve their home,"We'd like to have a family in the future so we need to make it a bit bigger" Lorraine.
When Dermot first takes a look at their cottage he doesn't hold back "It's probably one of the cheapest constructions I've ever seen. I am tempted to ask why would you live up here?".
All becomes clear when Pádraig and Lorraine advise him to climb up on the ditch beside their house. "When you get yourself up on a high level on the site the house takes on a whole new meaning because the views are spectacular".
Now for ¤100,000 Dermot must completely gut the old cottage, double its size and somehow elevate it?
From the very first day of construction there are problems, extra windows are needed, the joists supporting the roof have to be replaced and a soakaway - a drain for floodwater, is found where it shouldn't be. Despite all the setbacks Lorraine manages to remain optimistic - "We're just hoping that on day one they found all the awful stuff they could possibly find and they won't find anymore"
Unfortunately only a few weeks into the build things are taken out of everyone's hands. On the 20th of November wide spread flooding following torrential rain hits the country. In West Cork houses and many villages are evacuated and roads are closed.
Exposed on top of a hill, Lorraine & Pádraig's cottage doesn't escape the onslaught. With all the rain came wind and one part of their new home collapses.
By early January, the weather takes another turn for the worse. Met Eireann issue severe weather warnings, snow and freezing conditions stall the build once again. On site one day Lorraine has had enough "I feel a little bit sick every time I come up here because I think, you know, are we going to survive this?"
Lorraine and Pádraig don't survive - they triumph. Room to Improve this Wednesday 12th May at 8.30pm on RTE1.
McCarthy Cullinane Builders,
Eddie Mc Carthy & Denny Cullinane
7 Church Road, Union Hall, Co. Cork
Eddie McCarthy 086 830 4229
Denny Cullinane 086 175 9531
Martin O' Driscoil,
Ph. 028 31187
Plumbing and Heating:
Mob 087 9028313
David Collins Electrical,
Dunmanway, Co Cork.
Mob 087 919008
Clonakilty, Co Cork.
David Mob 0876502317
Carbery pre-hung Doors,
Rosscarbery, Co Cork.
Mob 086 1759531
McCarthy plant hire:
Skibbereen, Co Cork.
Mob 086 2594065
Inchafune, Dunmanway. Mob 087 8593368
Maison & Château,
West Cork Builders,
Ph. 023-8834249 A
Ph. 064 7751151
Willie Duggan Lighting, Kilkenny
Tel: 056 7764308
Clonakilty, Co Cork,
Tel: 023 8834249
Kinsale Rd Commercial Centre, Cork.
Tel: 021 4323363
Couches and wardrobes:
John McCarthy Furniture,
Tel: 023 8845600