Jane Austen style with 21st century comforts

BILLOWING skirts and ribboned bonnets – this sublime Regency Lodge near Bandon, Co Cork, really does bring on a Jane Austen moment.

It’s a BBC drama set piece – the perfect, period property, in a perfect, wooded location and like a drama, it’s all a bit imaginary.

Because Knockmacool Lodge is only five years old and was conceived by a couple who’ve lived in, and loved, a series of period houses.

This, their first new/old build, sees them bring the 21st century to a classic style based on the familiarity and frustration that owning a series of old houses has created.

The familiarity is there in the fine, external and internal detailing and the frustration in the 14” insulation and tight air seal – no draughts here.

The modest, 18th century house is really a counterfeit, and it’s wrapped in a woolly blanket and run on a large pellet burner – on one fill a year.

The vendors never lost the sense of the old, or strayed from the rigours of the style, but have created a modern, functional family home with the soft grandeur of an ascendency dwelling.

Windows are double glazed but with beading as fine as possible and framed by working shutters on walls that are as deep as an 18th century build – thanks to 14” of insulation.

This house is a master class in how to build and finish to the right specification. Yes, it looks terribly grand, but in such an understated way that the 4,500 square feet of space almost goes unnoticed.

After all, what you see at first approach is not what you get. The house appears as a single storey, with low-set roof, prominent dentils and a carved, sandstone door frame, accessed by a flight of limestone steps and snub-nosed at both ends.

However, the main bulk of the property is to the rear, where it drops down a level to create a three-storey house, but over half-levels.

Thus, the main entrance is at mid-level with a rectangular hallway ending in a wide staircase that rises gently upwards to the bedroom level and drops down to the kitchen and informal rooms.

To complete the package, there’s a rear courtyard with stone-built lofted outhouses, a courtyard wall in yellow sandstone and a vegetable/ flower garden with poly tunnel close to the house. The rest is made up of three acres of paddock with a stream boundary on one side.

Knockmacool Lodge has two impressive formal rooms flanking the rectangular entrance hallway.

The hallways here are over 8’ wide and ceilings twice as high – this generosity of space is what creates the feel of the old more than anything else and it’s why this house is such a superb, pastiche property.

It’s not all about expensive fixtures and fittings either: but the use of colour, texture and quality in the right way and right place.

Rather surprisingly, the flooring throughout the main run of the house is sisal. And it works – the mellow, rough country feel of the material looks right in its surroundings – especially when covered in fine silk rugs.

The fire pieces fit the Regency style and ceilings are very simply corniced with recessed lighting and subtle yellow tones in the decor.

The kitchen is simply hand-built and is shaded in vanilla and duck-egg blue with a fine, restored four-oven Aga.

This long room has a big island, a dresser and long table at one end, with access to the west-facing sunroom in the middle.

Here, glazed doors allow light to flow through the kitchen all the way to the main corridor, off of which are a number of store rooms, a guest bathroom, utility leading to the courtyard, and on the opposite side to the kitchen, an en suite guest bedroom.

A quick rundown of accommodation includes the two formal rooms, the kitchen/ diner/ sunroom, en suite guest bedroom and four en suite rooms, all finished to different themes, but with a similar style in bathrooms and built-in wardrobes.

The list doesn’t do justice to the quality of what’s on offer, and at the guide of €1.1 million, this house is a steal.

After all, where can you get a headache-free period property in a location that’s five minutes to Bandon, 10 minutes to Clonakilty and less than a 40-minute commute to Cork city?

And it’s absolutely finished, with a B1 rating, (it would be higher without the fireplaces) and landscaping complete.

It even has the patina of years in the lime plaster and its setting amongst ancient woodland. One of the best of the upper end houses to come on the market in years.

Pacelli Nolan is the selling agent here and she can be contacted through Keane Mahony Smith, Kinsale.

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