Mayo house dating from the 1950s undergoes amazing transformation with a small price tag

A home in Castlebar, Co Mayo has undergone an incredible transformation for a surprising price.

The Mayo Country Cottage, listed on Airbnb, dates back to the 1950s and has been given an amazing facelift to bring it into modern times, creating a warm, bright and airy home.

Tom McHale, the owner of the home, was left the property after his two elderly cousins passed away and said the house had been sitting idle for 15 years before he and his wife decided to take the plunge and do it up.

Mr McHale wanted to maintain the outer structure while modernising the interior as he didn’t want the home to look out of place.

He said: “All the houses in that the village, there’s six, they’re all the same… the old land commission houses they all look the same and that house meant an awful lot to me, the people that were in it… I was awful attached to them, so I didn’t want to touch a thing.”

Mayo Country Cottage

He added: “If you come up now to the village and you’re driving back, you wouldn’t know there was anything different about that house until you go around the back of it. It’s the exact same house as when I was growing up, and we used to visit.”

After receiving a quote from builders, Mr McHale decided to go down an unconventional route of installing a modular home.

He said: “We decided then that we would just chance it and get advice on doing it the normal way. So we got a couple of builders down, and the price was astronomical just to put a bathroom on and to do it up in a normal way.”

After hearing about a local business Big Red Barn owned by Donal Byrne, Mr McHale decided to visit their showrooms and was impressed by the quality of the structures.

Mayo Country Cottage

He said: “I went down to him and I asked him could he come down and have a look at it and see what he thought. So he came down, and he was all for it. He said we’ll do up a plan and see what you think. So that’s what they did do, they did a plan up, and it’s just like a three-bedroomed house with a bathroom and an ensuite and a big open plan sitting room, and I wanted to keep the high ceilings because that was what was in in the original house.”

As Mr McHale wanted to keep the house’s original look, the three original retaining walls were kept, and then the new module home was effectively slotted into the walls.

“Everything is factory-built, so they came along, and they put their concreate slabs in first, and that’s what the structure sits on. Then they just made up the frames and all that, then and they had it up, I’d say, in three weeks between the walls and the roof and that.

“They were a couple of months doing the plans all right like, but once they had, it made it was really quick.”

Mr McHale said the house is extremely economical to run and cost him just half of the builders estimate.

Mayo Country Cottage

He said: “The problem was if we went and renovated it we could have sunk €150,000 into that and you’d still have an old house and now the way we done it, we have a brand new house really. It’s brand new top to bottom inside. It’s just that we kept the three retaining walls, and that’s cosmetics really, and we got away with half the price.”

The home is also exceptionally economical to run and is A-rated.

Mr McHale said: “From an Airbnb point of view, it’s awful easy cleaned because it’s got no fire. It’s electric underfloor heating in the sitting room, and then you’re talking electric heaters in the bedrooms and the bathrooms, so there’s no cleaning. There’s no ashes or anything like that, and it’s an awful easy house to heat.

Mayo Country Cottage

“It’s an A-rated house, so we’ll just say my electric bill for that, if it was full occupancy over the winter months, you still wouldn’t be going over the €300 for the two months.”

The homeowner said he could not recommend the modular home enough and said it would be ideal for any young couple starting out as he did not have to take out a mortgage on it and instead opted for a Credit Union loan.

He said: “For any couple starting out, you know, that can’t get a mortgage or anything, it’s a no brainer. It’s an absolute no brainer.”

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