Youghal residence offers quality and style, says Kya deLongchamps
We try not to overuse the term turnkey. Gasping hyperbole can raise expectations just too high — but this house really is a breath of invigorating, sea air.
Brought to market by Fiona Hennessy at Sherry Fitzgerald/Hennessy, Sea Breeze is Number 8 in the low-density residential community of Radharc-na-Mara, on the western edge of Youghal.
This high spec’ development of 26 homes (completed in 2007) is set on a steep escarpment with spectacular views from the heights of Ballyvergan, across the gentling acres of the wild Pilmore reed beds, and encompassing 180C flashes of the stirring Atlantic. These really are the best seats in the house.
Conceived as a mixture of owner-occupier and executive secondary homes, quality was clearly master and commander for DM Developments. This, together with the town’s many amenities in season and out, its commutable location and Youghal’s historic charm, has meant prices at Radharc-na-Mara have increased dramatically, with sales relatively rare.
The upscale neighbourhood is reached by a private road serving its three tiers. Architectural harmony was achieved through the use of white painted render, natural slate and stacked stone. The houses, all detached, are contemporary impressions of vernacular dormer cottages set shoulder to shoulder and tilted to the south.
Sliding out of the car, there’s a remarkable quiet. The soft, ozone-flushed wind, and light traffic noise (the R634 has been relieved of duty by the girdling N25) have been effectively dampened using the dramatic shoulder of the landscape, the orientation and shelter of the buildings, and retaining Gabion (rockfill) walls nestled amid softening planting.
With cobble-lock parking off-road, Sea Breeze is approached through tailored, low-to-no-maintenance gardens. Architecturally, we have simplicity — two pitched and one square volume extending the kitchen and master to the south.
The entrance hall is delivered in cream walls, pale wool Berber carpeting and white woodwork. The owners, who bought the home off plans, have taken a meditative palette to the entire house, accenting in a maritime theme of driftwood, sea glass and rubbed cotton blue that laps the look without drowning it.
This warm, neutral scheme is a triumph, delivering a breathy, natural sophisticated air. Clearly not recently trampled by marauding kids or indoor dogs, the spaces are immaculately decorated and a visual lesson in presentation that leans on the home’s many strengths.
Crisp and clean as a Silvermint, the second-fix and finishes are also brilliantly executed. Zoned central heating marks the foresight of the developers in terms of energy-efficiency, delivering a B3 BER rating — excellent for the year of build.
Turning right, the elegant large living room with its dual aspect is strictly officers’ quarters at present with transcendent cream furnishings, and a gorgeous carved, modern fire surround to a traditional open fire.
A charming corner window frames the first of a gallery of luminous views rolling out across a large multi-level timber deck and clipped lawn.
There are two ways to the generous kitchen/dining-room — through the hall and double-panelled timber doors and down two steps, or by taking a door from the living room down through a snug sitting room (family room) which includes a modern electric flame effect fire and second TV spot.
The open-plan kitchen includes a classic L-shaped, oak, Shaker-style kitchen with black granite tops with honed edges and a rectified porcelain floor in a polished stone genre.
One could take down the non-supporting wall to the family room to create an open or “broken” plan to suit (the agent tells me other owners in the area have done so). Scandinavian floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors in Nordic pine shrug off the salt air, opening out to the large rear garden.
There’s a good-sized utility room leading directly to a side passageway which stages the oil tank and condensing boiler. Downstairs there’s a tranquil double bedroom which could serve equally well as roomy study, next door to a well designed shower-room.
Aloft, to the south east corner of the dormer, is the light-drenched master bedroom which features roof-lights and double doors to a private terrace extending from the roof-line. This is the absolute sweet spot at Sea Breeze — taking in all that sky. It’s the full dress-circle experience — wine in hand. There’s a well-conceived large ensuite and a good-sized walk-in closet — again taking storage out of sight and leaving the room clear of distracting visual stutter.
Two further bedrooms, also focused out to the sea, are exquisitely detailed. The west one with its own en suite is of equal size to the master at 4.35m by 4. 87m and includes two Velux windows (notice the seating area set over clever storage drawers). Solid concrete floors upstairs and quality double glazing guarantee a sense of protection and quiet even in stormy conditions.
The garden rolls out to meet the horizon, and includes split level decking and further opportunities for planting. The nautical play rows out from the house with a land locked vintage boat and a dockside touch with chandler’s rope to the edge of the decking. Best of all is a large log walled studio — finished New England-style in white matt emulsion.
Used for a period as a treatment room by the owner’s daughter, the studio could be used for anything from occasional accommodation (there’s a full shower room on hand) to a crafting retreat or home office. With its own wrap-around deck it adds further seclusion to the garden and house, and firmly defines the west boundary.
VERDICT: A gorgeous, easy-to-enjoy, seaside sophisticate with the comfort of close neighbours and unsurpassable views.