TommyBarkerventures inside Laurel Court to its explore its charms.
Midleton, East Cork €345,000
Size: 128 sq m (1,380 sq ft)
BER: Best Feature: Smartly customised
ONE size doesn’t fit all, but the bespoke, comfortable 1,380 sq ft bungalow home at 18, Laurel Court, fitted its owners like a tailored glove, ever since they moved in back when first built, in 1988, the year they got married.
A couple who know their minds, they altered the original build’s three-bedromed layout to allow instead for just two bedrooms, but with way more quality living space, full of unexpected airiness, comforts and personality.
Then, in 2001, they extended to the back with a lofty and light-drenched mezzanine room addition that’s a bit of a scene-stealer.
And, every now and then they made further forays into interior design, and in improving their living areas, and garden assets.
Roll on 2017, and with their adult son now just recently flown the nest, they want to kick up their heels a bit, and move closer to the sea.
They are set to build a brand new home along the east Cork coastline for their next life chapter. As result, No 18 is up for sale, and it’s a niche market must-see.
Selling agent is Shane Russell of Michael Russell & Co, who last year sold No 27, Laurel Court for €345,000, well above asking price of €290,000 after 17 bids over two weeks.
Set off Dwyer’s Road, No 18’s within a short walk from the east Cork capital’s town centre, and the road’s hugely popular with traders down, given its spread of bungalows in small estates, according to Mr Russell.
No 18 is a ‘must-see’ for several reasons, most notably its easy-to-live-with personality and adaptations, plus great living space.
However, it’s also one that merits closer attention from home hunters as any sparse property description spec of it as a ‘two-bed/one-bath’ home seriously undersells its appeal.
It is ‘just’ that, of course, but it’s more.
The family don’t like pokey en suite bathrooms, don’t see the need for them, and so the main (and, sole) bathroom here is a luxury, indulgent sort of space, with an oval bath mounted high up on a dark timber and tiled plinth.
That tiled surround continues around a side wall, housing a glazed cabin also in dark wood, and sanitary ware is upmarket and old-school. The overall effect is like you might imagine a luxury suite in a venerable cruise ship to be.
No 18 has its two living rooms at opposite ends of the now elongated bungalow, which was pushed back further and deeper into its mature site when the massed concrete extension was added to the original timber-frame and brick-faced bungalow in the early 2000s.
Really, these opposite end rooms are quite chalk and cheese, one is open, high-ceilinged with apex glazing flooding the living/dining space and overhead mezzanine with light from the south.
The reordering allowed for a neat, discrete home bar to be tucked into one corner of this multi-use space, with creature comforts up another level thanks to underfloor heating, and a high-quality Jotul wood- burning stove.
The original living room was to the front, and still is in situ and in regular use, and really comes into its own at night-time, as a cosy, clubby retreat, a bit like a small library in a boutique hotel.
This room faces north, and rather than trying to fight that and lighten and brighten it in pale colours, the owners went with its character, painted the walls a dark brown hue, also painted the wood floor, and put in solid, hinged window shutters in the same colour of the walls for total enclosure.
Add in another wood-burning stove, in a mellow-coloured brick chimney breast, and it’s the perfect evening embracing retreat (a dartboard hides out of sight behind the room’s door, used when the couple’s adult son, a top sportsman and Cork county hurler, had buddies over.)
Bedrooms at No 18 are sort of mid-way along the deep-set home, left and right of the central tiled hall, and the main bedroom has a clever adaptation, a false wall built a few feet out from a side wall.
Thus, doors either side of the bed lead into a walk-through wardrobe/dressing room the full width of the room, leaving the rest of the space open and uncluttered.
This bedroom also has French doors to a side garden.
Once more too, even those French doors get working hinged, painted solid wood shutters for evening time lock-ups, and pretty much every window gets this shutter treatment, in lieu of curtains.
The owners say they love having the shutters ajar, with lights on windowsills once it’s dark and they’re always adjustable for mood-setting.
Also on the bespoke side are the internal, rustic ledged and braced doors, given a further sort of knotty twist with circles drilled in the bracing timbers.
Scene-stealer is the rear, open plan multi-use room, with mezzanine office/den supported on metal columns, above a part split-level living and dining area.
The way up is via an open tread with stairs with hardwood steps which the family pet, an ageing boxer, still manages to ascend and descend.
The main room’s tiled floor is heated underneath, and the dining section is set a step lower than the living space, which is home to an enormous red leather L-shaped sofa by the curve-top stove.
When lit, there’s no need for any other heating, the owners say.
Off here is a galley kitchen, probably the smallest room in the entire house as it’s less than 12’ by 6’, but it’s ergonomically effective, and has further garden access.
Externally, the gardens provide more ‘living’ space, well-planted for colourful summers with raised beds atop old stone walls and with fence screening above, and there’s a dine-out decking section, a handy timber shed with power supply for storage.
However, that shed pales by comparison to what’s on the other side garden: a chalet-like cabin sourced nearby at Ballyseedy Garden Centre, and it’s home to a health suite for exercise, yoga, stretching and relaxation, with four-person infra red sauna.
This chalet is insulated, has a power supply and can also serve as a home office, playroom and more, adds agent Shane Russell who says “from the moment you set foot inside this house you know its something special.
While the current owners are moving to pastures new, it’s ready for its next owners to savour for the years to come.”
VERDICT: Refreshingly different, and hugely comfortable.