Luxury home by the sea is out of storm's way

Tommy Barker views a house set on seven coastal acres in Kinsale.

SERENITY beckons at this coastal Cork home, a safe house built to last centuries and set out of the way of storms on the back of a sheltering hill.

The house doesn't have a sea view - but you can hear the fog horns at Roche's Point - and it has everything else, including individuality, in both its favour and flavour.

On the market for the past couple of weeks with a price guide approaching €1m, the joint agents, Andrew Carlos Clarke, in Kinsale, and Kieran McNamee shouldn't have difficulty receiving bids over this sum.

Set on seven sloping acres across the harbour mouth, by Ringabella, and with the back strand at Fountainstown and the classic pub, Sean na mBad's, nearby, the house has high-ceilinged rooms and a southerly aspect that looks beyond a dammed pond to an arching shoulder of hill and harvested fields.

The house, built in the late 1990s to a subtle but sturdy design guide, is privately located on a curving avenue, with a naturalised backdrop of rock and gorse.

This is an assured design: from the simple layout, where all the principal rooms have a bright, light-filled aspect, with tall windows and French doors, to an absolute emphasis on unfussy, quality, natural materials.

At ground level, floors are either thick terracotta tiles, over a century old and salvaged from a French chateau, or mahogany woodblock, salvaged from a 1920s social welfare office in Holborn, in London.

The roof slates, Blue Bangors, are salvaged, too, set off by conservation Velux skylights, and the kitchen's cream, four-oven Aga is another item with a past, brought back to life and put in a slick modern setting in an alcove fringed with sandblasted glass.

Elsewhere, all is individually made and crafted: clearly, the owners understood the merit of the word and concept 'bespoke'.

Thus, the large open fireplace, based on a 19th century French model, with a wide cradle and polished steel surround.

Then, there are the immensely solid, large, teak windows with stout mullions, crafted by joiner Noel Barry of Midleton, with deep, bench and cushioned window seats in the hall and by the dining table.

In particular there are the arched ceilings, tall and narrow in the rear hallway; tall and broad and barreled in the kitchen/dining space, almost monastic in feel and with an austerity in its furnishings.

White walls and teak fittings are the theme here, with hand-made units and island by carpenter Barry Hamilton, of Dromina, topped off by stainless steel, quite avant garde for the late 1990s and still ahead of the game.

Off the kitchen is a food preparation room with twin, large, stainless steel sinks, as well as a laundry/utility and a pantry.

Also, there's a guest WC off the hall, as well as a closet, and this end of the house is host to the master bedroom, which measures 20' by 20' and has doors to the garden. This bedroom has a dressing room and a bathroom with wall-mounted twin sinks, loo and bidet, and a double shower, while a sensor automatically cuts in with discrete, foot-level lighting.

Fiona McDonald, of Wilson Architects, is responsible for most of the design touches, and there was input, too, from Rob Jacobs and Pat Lynch, of JLS Design, in Kinsale, whose portfolio includes the interiors of super-yachts.

Their maritime influence can be seen in the gently curving and narrowing teak staircase and rails leading to the first floor, where there's an en suite bedroom, and a third bedroom with access to a main bathroom.

There's a landing space which could be converted to a fourth bedroom, if required.

If guests call and prevail, they can be accommodated over the detached double garage, where there's a 34' by 17' multi-purpose room (with woodblock floor), useful as a home office, but also with provision made for an en-suite bathroom.

Grounds include seven acres of land, including some woodland, a sloping paddock and two acres of landscaped gardens with lawn and pond, deck and gravel yard and flagged patios.

Other features include recessed spotlighting, Category 5 cabling for IT links, satellite TV, a powerful oil heating system with block laid 'on flat' in the inner leaf, and reconstituted granite sills.

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