Stylish looks at impressive Ard Chuan

ANYONE thinking of building a contemporary-designed and wholly modern new house would do well to travel to Ard Chuan, the Passage West location that lives up to its name, high above a sweeping river bend in Cork harbour.

A wide range of new homes, most of them contemporary in style and showing lots of use of cedar, glass, zinc, stone, slate and eco-features, have been built here, largely in wholly modern takes on the dormer outline.

A development of serviced sites at Marmullane, opposite the Highlands, it met the dreams and aspirations of more than a dozen people keen to self-build, and to come up with their own unique house design, at a time when stand-alone sites for one-offs are rare as water hens’ teeth.

The development — a bit of a pattern book for other aspiring builders — is now finishing out, with the final touches being put to some of the uniformly large homes. As it wraps up, along comes No 3 Ard Chuan up for sale, guiding €850,000 for a close-to-complete house of 3,500 sq ft, packed to the gunwhales with tech-ie features.

It has been developed by a Cork-Dublin partnership as a speculative build, and is a timber frame build, with high insulation levels, balconies off the main bedrooms, and one (with an optional use as a gym) is plumbed and wired for a private, elevated outdoor hot tub.

No 3 has 3,500 sq ft of living space over its two levels with a central staircase in the high-ceilinged entrance hallway splitting and wrapping around the back and two sides to give access to the upper level bedrooms (the large en suite guest bedroom is downstairs). A slight downside of the design is the jutting ceiling beams threatening the temples of taller visitors.

The back of the house and balconies have views over Great Island to the new Cobh golf club and a vista back to Little Island.

It is all light, bright and cheerful inside, with lots of recessed lighting and mood lighting in the main 42’ by 18’ kitchen/living dining room which stretches the full width of the house, and has a discreet sound system with speakers in the ceiling, and controllable mood lighting.

There’s a virtual plant room instead of a standard utility room, with all the sheaves of wiring and controls brought back to this large room to the side of the house which houses the boiler (all rooms have individual heat controls), pressurised water tank, central vacuum tank and a whole host more technology to keep an eye on the alarm, heating, security, broadband and CAT 5 cabling.

An owner can check all the functions, security and set heating remotely if he or she is away.

No 3 is on a site of one-fifth of an acre. It needs a kitchen, and while bathrooms are tiled and showers are in place, a purchaser will have to choose as well as sanitary ware and final flooring choices.

No 3 Ard Chuan is for sale with Johnny O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald, who also has had very strong bids on an even larger unfinished house in Rochestown’s Meadowlands. With 3,800 sq ft of space on a one-third acre site, it was put up for sale at €750,000 and is understood to be under offer over €900,000.

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