Tommy Barker finds that grey clouds are lifting, as colour makes a come back in Macroom new homes development.
Are the grey days of the recession and construction downturn behind us, that long, monochrome period where up to 50 shades of grey, or ‘greige’ was the colour palette favoured by architects, interior designers and their followers?
Well, whether or which, or whether fresh grey clouds will gather in this Brexit and Trumpet era, they’re scarce at Meadowlands, Macroom, where a stalled Tiger-era development has found new developers, a new energy, a fresh house design, and a show-off showhouse, zinging with colour, bold punches of blues - and it’s open and on show over this weekend, 2.30-3.30pm Sat and Sun.
The former McInerney development, Meadowlands, at Masseytown, Macroom, has been bought out by Massey Developments, who have recently finished out a section with six ready for handover to buyers, and who have just now set off with a reconfigured scheme for the coming years.
They’ve lowered the density of houses per acre from previous plans and layouts, and dropped from three-storey homes to two- storey ones, a more ‘traditional market-friendly’ layout, with their first phase a mix of two-bed, two-storey houses, called the Blackthorn, and a choice of two three-bed semi-ds, of 1,076 sq ft (the Oak) and slightly larger ones of 1,130 sq ft (the Hazel) also.
Twelve are now being released with two booked, says estate agent Con Nagle of Global Properties, based in Ballincollig, and who’s been selling more recently complete Meadowland homes also for the developer.
He prices the smaller of the three-bed semis, the 100 sq m/1,076 sq ft ones, at €234,500, and he notes that, at that they are nearly €80,000-€100,000 less than semi-ds in developments in and around Cork city’s metropolitan area.
There are still new home launches within an easy strike of the city and suburbs at sub-€300k, admittedly, but there’s still a marked price gap between those and what’s been pitched at Meadowlands, he stresses.
Mr Nagle reports buyer interest from those working in the likes of Cork’s Blackpool, Ballincollig, Apple, VMWare and EMC — quite a broad reach, of those who can and will commute the c 30km from the city’s edges to Masseytown, a ten-minute walk from the town and Sullane river bridge, and which handily can be reached by car via a useful back road skirting Macroom town to the north.
On board for the current and next phases were Edge Architects, based in Clonakilty and a possibly coincidental West Cork link, as builders Hurley and White are Dunmanway-based also.
Interior designer for the zingy, all singing three-bed showhouse is Jane Dennehy, who graduated in fine art and applied art in the early 200s, who worked with Weir Interiors and an architect’s firm in the 2000s, and who took her well-honed skills into a business on her own in the depths of the recession (see www.janedennehyinteriors.ie).
Here, her brief she says was for a welcoming, impactful, showhouse as a home for FTBs and young families, and she says her primary focus was “for something which would stand out from the rest of the market.
“People can be afraid to use strong, bold colours but it is often the key to creating vibrant and uplifting spaces,” she asserts.
So she used a range of strong colours, enhanced by adding contrasting and complimenting colours through textures, accessories and art, and she adds “while you shouldn’t be afraid of strong colours, I’d also advise ‘don’t be afraid of the dark!’”
Of choices like the deep, navy walls (Colourtrend Mussel) as a solid background to a velvet ottoman and cushions, and the kitchen’s dark grey (Colourtrend Genesis) Jane reckons that “dark interiors just look and feel interesting, and allow a great opportunity to play with colour, against the warm wooden furniture which is then further enhanced with a splash of colour in the lighting, plants and bold, botanical prints.”
The ‘kick’ comes from a bold feature floor rug, bright curtains, scatter cushions and large abstract art — and all are easily changed and updated over time, allowing the look to evolve as a family’s home life matures.
In the master bedroom, there’s a balance in the furniture, simple colour palette and a upholstered Respa bed, layered with cushions against a geometric Harlequin wallpaper, and crisp white bed linen relaxes it all back down again: simple and chic, says Ms Dennehy.
She credits blogger Geraldine Tan of littlebigbell.com for the fun feel in the children’s bedroom, a mix of bright and playful space, with an engaging cabin bunk bed leaving more room to play in this, the smallest room.
Furniture and other items were sourced from near and far, including from etsy, Glentree Furniture, Dunmanway, Lightplan, Home Store, EZ Living, Argos, Village Interiors, Douglas Woollen Mills, and more.
Meanwhile, back on the site, first-time buyers at Meadowlands’ A3-rated scheme qualify for the FTB’s 5% rebate, and the Blackthorn two-bed types have been on sale during 2018 priced from €190,000, with one now in the new phase at €199,000.
There are also larger, c 1,300 sq ft four-beds, previously advertised at €270,000, and all houses have air-to-water heating, with a fairly full handover spec, which includes kitchen units, tiled ground floor and laminate-floored first floors, rooms fully painted and, in effect, all buyers need to do is bring some furniture, and an oven, says Global Property’s Con Nagle — while the show house might inspire some to go the extra mile with colours, cushions and quirky artefacts.
VERDICT: There’s value in Macroom — the town that never reared a fool.
Size: 100 sq m (1,076 sq ft)