Top tech appeal in a high spec rural home

Tommy Barker reports on a west Waterford property that has been massively upgraded despite only being originally built in 2004

Kinsalebeg, Waterford - €850,000

  • Size: 429 sq m (4,600 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 4
  • BER: B2

ALL in summer’s work for Waterford-based estate agent, and horse racing commentator Brian Gleeson, as he balances his two professions?

Late June, with a top hat on he’s interviewing top racehorse owner Sheikh Mohammad at Royal Ascot for ITV. In the past week he’s at the more rough and tumble Galway races, again for ITV (he’s also worked for RTÉ, TV3, BBC and Channel 4.)

And, next week, he will be showing this west Waterford home called Glistinane House p for sale as part of his more regular, year-round property sales and sourcing business, for its Russian/UK vendors, and he also expects it to get some international buyer traction... from various sheikhers and movers?

It’s only two years since this big, 4,600 sq ft six-bed home on a 4.6 private acres changed hands, and now after only a short period in current ownership, it’s quite the different property, especially in its interiors and tech-spec, plus it has additional landscaping investment to boot.

Built in 2004 to an architect’s floor plans that saw much of its bulk concealed thanks to varying roof lines and wings, it featured here back in August 2015, guiding €579,000. The Price Register shows it as a recorded sale at €526,000 by December ’15, so it moved and transacted very smartly and that figure records its value on one acre, and so possibly doesn’t reflect the sum paid.

Its purchasers were quite the international couple: she’s Russian, he’s British and they’ve lived and worked all over the place, most recently in sun spots like Israel and Cyprus, and moved to the cooler climes of Ireland after a brush with skin cancer.

They searched online, and checked out properties as far apart as Dublin and the Ring of Kerry, and when Glistinane House came on their radar, they pounced, visiting and agreeing a sale in days.

Appeal was the sheer size of modern, easily-run house and a River Blackwater ocean confluence setting close to both Youghal and Ardmore, within easy reach of Cork city and airport. Added too was its acreage and extra potential, its privacy, and its panoramic views from its elevated hillside setting by Kinsalebeg/Clashmore, eastward back to the glistening waters and estuary of Youghal harbour, and proximity to the safe, sandy spit of Ferrypoint, handy for boat launches and bathing.

They were the sort of box-tickers that sealed the deal, but despite the fact the house was only 11 years old, the career-mobile couple reckoned the interior was dated, so they also budgeted to upgrade and make it more up-to-speed in energy efficient and technological terms, and spent heavily on a wish list of extra services, touches, security features and finishes.

It already had marble tiled, underfloor heating, so that stayed in situ, but a new Grant oil condenser boiler has been fitted, with no less than 11 heating zones, worked via automatic digital controls, fed from a 1,100 litre tank, while thanks to LED lighting virtually throughout, inside and outside, electricity costs average just €100 per month, and that’s for a very large home, with all the bells and whistles, plus over-sized Samsung 9kg high efficiency washing machine and dryer.

Heart of the home, as expected, is the kitchen, with bespoke high-gloss white units (nine gloss coats and a guarantee not to yellow) with gold-fleck granite worktops.

The kitchen is sleek ,with coloured LED feature lighting above the pelmet, plus downlighters, has a 46-bottle wine cooler in the central island, most appliances are Neff, splash-backs are done out in tiny glass mosaic tiles and, eschewing the norm, the feature light over the island is a crystal chandelier... one of several crystal lights dotted about the property.

Broadband access is often the bane of daily life for those living and working outside of built-up areas: here, there’s high-speed satellite broadband with wi-fi throughout and optional radio broadband also.

TVs are huge and fed digitally via high-power IR PASS distribution amplifiers, there’s also Sky/Freesat, Eircom phone landlines, CCTV controlled electric gate intercom access, alarm and full perimeter infra-red CCTV security monitored by iPhone apps; dusk to dawn LED garden lighting, switchesoff when night skies are deemed interesting and clear enough for star-gazing as there’s so little light pollution, with an option of not just one, but two viewing balconies in the enormous master bedroom en suite.

For those not necessarily into all the tech stuff, it’s good to know that basic creature comforts are more then well enough catered for. There’s a new water well with UV and filters and 1,000 litre tanks, bio-filtration for waste water, pressurised water system with LED-lit Jacuzzi bath in the master bed’s en suite, and this super-sized main bedroom also has a living section with sofa/chaise, over-sized bathroom suite, and two dressing rooms/walk-in robes, one to the front with dormer window and swish, mirrored robes concealing quite a sizeable shoe collection.

Wellies, though are down in the re-done utility, and the grounds now have extra planting than heretofore, including hydrangeas for colour, as well as lines of cordyline australis palms and pampas along the initial approach avenue.

There’s also a small water feature, with Japanese-style rockery planting and compact water cascade, with its water pump powered by a solar panel incongruously right next to what might otherwise have become a tranquil, burbling naturalistic feature. Thanks to all the acreage, there’s also a wildflower garden section with paths scythed amid bug and butterfly-friendly planting; a veg plot heaving with heads of lettuces; a play area with swing, and extra planting of 40 fruit bushes spanning apple, pear, cherry, quince, nectarine and more, along with current bushes and lawns.

Two large sheds/garages almost wholly out of sight toward the back of the grounds hold all the requisite garden equipment, etc, though a back door plaque advertising the joys of Harley Davidsons motorcycles is now an empty promise, as the bikes have been dispensed with.

Gardens and tech-spec aside, multi-angled Glistinane House is wholly accommodating for a mix of family/buyer types with assymmetrical floor plan layout negating the need for long runs of internal corridors. It comes with a ground floor bedroom six, up-to-tech speed home office, library with walls of book-shelving, large dining room off the kitchen with long, lovely rural valley views over fields of waving barley, as well as two large reception rooms, each with fireplaces, and additional garden access via French doors.

Overhead, off a splayed landing with display area, are five double bedrooms, with two en suites and main family bathroom. Pride of place has to go to the centrally-set master bedroom, in itself almost apartment sized and specced, mid section to the front of the house for views, with sleeping section, seating area, two ‘his and hers’ dressing rooms, balconies and high-end bathroom suite, with LED-lit Jacuzzi bath and a separate, pumped power shower.

All bathrooms in the house have now been redone, in low-key, high quality tiles, predominantly white, with a black contrast and a discrete wave pattern, and storage/display niches have also been created for towels and toiletries, scented candles and more.

Doing all the extra work and upgrades post-purchase was “six months, full on, with four or five people working around the property, inside and outside, on projects every day,” the vendors say, adding they are only selling so soon after completion as professional consultancy work dictates a move once more, to the major HS2 project, the UK’s second High Speed rail line, out of London to service Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham... life in the fast-track, indeed.

VERDICT: Slow-lane Blackwater area Munster living meets fast, global work practices, IT communication, a bit of crystal bling and high-tech toys for boys, and girls.

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