Smart, distinctive duo

With a reduced price River Cottage is an attractive double offering near beautiful Inistioge, writes Tommy Barker.

ARCHITECT Clodagh Nolan took a rounded approach to her Kilkenny holiday home conversion job — she peppered the extended laneside cottage building with feature circular windows at the top of each gable.

Then, having clearly been able to get a builder to do this tricky-enough shape (normally you’ll be told you can have any shape window you want, once it’s square or rectangular) she continued the eye-like window motif in an even tinier second guest cottage across the lane.

Now, that’s smart on every level: one is keeping a constancy of look (and an eye out) across the two buildings, the other is keeping guests at a suitable remove, close enough for conviviality, far enough to send them ‘home’ again for a good night’s kip. Everyone wins.

Now, Nolan’s Kilkenny retreat(s) on 1.5 acres of leafy location have had a price reduction for a summer sale: River Cottage is down to €460,000 with agent Ann Carton of PN O’Gorman in New Ross, Wexford, and that’s for the mis-matched but allied pair, at Rathsnagadan, about 10 minutes from Inistioge, with a river pier just down the country lane.

It’s a crisp, bright and white take on the updated cottage theme, with painted floors and walls, plus well-placed windows as well as a strip of roof apex glazing in the main lofty living room: there’s a strong feel of a French beach-house to the place (architect Clodagh Nolan set up a business helping house sellers to best present their home for sale: her Kilkenny hide-away here is a good example of showing a place at its best.)

The main 1,212 sq ft house has three characterful bedrooms and two bathrooms: one is a French essay in chic style, with a cast iron bath with claw feet set against Metro tiles, and with a Parisian enamel street sign as its decorative focus. There’s also a stunning, restful double-height living room, with great use made of the triple-section gable window, which has storage under a comfy window seat, and a display shelf over the same window. Windows set into the roof apex bring it all to soaring glories, and really lift the soul on blue sky days.

The kitchen/dining room has white units contrasting with chunky walnut tops and simple shelves, plus grey tile floor, and stainless steel door ironmongery....tres chic indeed.

Both the kitchen/dining and the main living room open via separate sets of slender French doors to a set of south-facing decking and al fresco dining terraces with views over lawn and stone walls to the Nore beyond and to an ancient stone river pier.

River Cottage is a painted externally in a mix of Virgin Mary blues and white, with new casement windows, its gardens are bounded by low walls, with an array of wild flowers and ferns. The separate one-bed guest cottage/studio across the lane has 460 sq ft of space, with some similar features.

VERDICT: Real creativity and a flair for decor has put a classic yet contemporary stamp of this distinctive duo. Location is two hours from Dublin or Cork, and 30 minutes from Kilkenny and Waterford.

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