Home with a warm feeling

THE owner of the pristine Ard na Gowan admits to loving the heat – and that’s why she’s on the way to northern Italy to live.

A businesswoman with a keen eye for property, she has a series of building renovations to her credit, including two in Italy. However, this Midleton, east Cork job, was a special one for her.

Owned for years by family members, she poured extra personal passion into this 1930s detached house’s renewal. The result is a super-warm family home with an easy, casual and well-clothed elegance....try fabrics from France, wallpapers from the US, windows from Sweden, and furnishings from all over, with Irish craftsmanship.

Even on simple things like the heating front, it works superbly well, with a carefully designed dual system mixing solar-heating with underfloor ‘Smart Electric’ heating (via company Raychem), even under the immaculate solid oak parquet flooring, backed up by oil and radiators. Oh, and the kitchen has a smart black Rayburn, too, just in case the joint ain’t warm enough.

Once the heat is in it doesn’t escape from this 1,750 sq ft home, thanks to very high insulation levels in the walls and attic, and superior glazing.

Windows here are triple-glazed, sourced from Margaret Sheeran of the Swedish Trade Centre in Cork, and while they’ll repay their investment over time in energy saved, the immediate result is a huge comfort factor – a little bit of balmy Italy in east Cork, in effect.

Reworked to a very high standard from top to bottom in the past few years by local builder John Hennessy, Ard na Gowan is a real walk-in job, says estate agent Catherine McAuliffe of Savills, acting jointly with Midleton auctioneer Michael Russell and seeking offers around €575,000.

Location is at Knockgriffin, just off the main Cork to Midleton access road, and the town is a short walk and this weekend hosts the Midleton Food and Drink Festival. Ard na Gowan’s quarter acre site is wholly private, ringed in greenery, and accessed via tall electric gates, and every inch has been confidently tackled. The end result now is a three-bedroomed home, with ground floor en suite bedroom with separate access, and the extra-large 23’ by 12’ master bedroom, created from two smaller bedrooms, and it has its own en suite, while a high-quality family bathroom, plus ground floor guest loo serves the rest of the house.

The renewal works here included removing walls to open up spaces, especially to the back for southerly sun, and the scene stealer here is the newly-added rear sun-room, with a strong taste of the Hamptons to the decor, whose ceiling is wood-sheeted, painted, and punched through by a bank of Veluxes.

The hall opens seamlessly to the main oak parquet-floored living room, off to the right is a larger 20’ by 11’ sitting room, and the porcelain-floored sun-room out opens from the smart, hand-painted solid oak kitchen done by Calnans of Clonakilty. Continuing the theme, worktops are granite. The tiling behind the black Rayburn evocatively lists off the names of Mediterranean herbs.

There’s also a second, summer serving kitchen, for when you can’t stand the heat, or just to go to Italy and need to cool the Rayburn’s jets.


Aileen Lee meets Christina Kenny - co-founder and design director of Lamb Design - to talk about her work and inspirations.Christina Kenny of Lamb Design: ‘I love bringing the outside in and inside out’

Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her career and the worth of luxury fastion. By Paul McLachen.From Marc Jacobs to her own label, Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her life in fashion

The recent sentencing of two teenage boys for the murder of Ana Kriégel has once again brought the issue of pornography into public discourse. The details of the case, which are finally coming into public knowledge, illuminate some very worrying trends that are pervasive in the modern adolescent world and as parents and indeed as a society we can no longer languish in complacency.Learning Points: Hardcore porn can pollute our children’s minds

HUSBAND and wife Justin and Jenny Green run Ballyvolane House, in Castlelyons, Co Cork. The mansion and former dairy farm, which was built in 1728, is where Justin grew up. Raised to Scottish parents in Hong Kong, Jenny met fellow hotelier Justin while working in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Having worked in the UK and Bali, they returned to manage Ballyvolane House, as an Irish country house, in 2004.Parents for the Planet: Green family has greener outlook at country house

More From The Irish Examiner