It’s even more of an achievement in the case of old, stone houses in exposed locations.
After this month’s floods, it would appear that the attractively-titled Newfoundland Cottage has passed the weatherproofing test: while this coastal home’s gardens have that December windswept, buffeted look, the interior of this, ‘storey and a half’ house is surprisingly dry and welcoming.
It makes a pleasing first impression, and if it can do this in the shortest, darkest and wettest days of the year, imagine what it could be like come summer, after an injection of TLC by enthusiastic new owners.
Its time is about to come, once more.
Set out by Newfoundland Bay, in south County Cork by the cliffs and headlands near Nohoval and Oysterhaven, this is a country and coastal bolthole offered back on the market by its British owner of the past 20 years, who did lots of work to the 1,600 sq ft house and gardens when he bought it, completing a distinctive end-gable extension with balcony/deck,adding a 800 sq ft guest one-bed cottage too.
It came to a chilly, downturned market back in 2009, briefly with high hopes via a Kinsale agent of selling for €900,000, but this was swiftly reduced when taken on by a city agent to €595,000; it dipped to a €495,000 asking price by 2011, according to the price-tracking website Collapso.
Now, with recovery in train, prices in the ascendant in good locations and demand back for second/holiday homes and retirement pads, Newfoundland Cottage should be popping up on buyers’ radars, given its no-nonsense price guide of €350,000, via agent Roy Dennehy of Dennehy Property in Carrigaline.
He has some early, pre-Christmas interest and is confident it’s going to exert a quiet charm on people — once they find it.
Location is 30 minutes from Cork city, a mile and a half from Nohoval village itself, up along a poorish, paved but potholed, cul-de-sac road with some spectacularly-sited old farmyards, and some modern builds.
With any sort of wind and waves at all the sound of the sea makes its way over tillage fields to this cottage cluster, on a handy half-acre with hedge and tree cover, plus a few hardy Scots Pines.
It’s a location for those who relish fresh air, lots of it, an outdoor lifestyle and peace and quiet.
A near neighbour is top woodturner John McCarthy, who runs workshops from converted farm outbuildings, several other neighbours have boats up on trailers beside their houses (’though the setting is 100’ above sea level) and a rustic lane running behind this property offer leads to a surprising find, a small trout lake.
There are views to the wild Atlantic from creeper-clad Newfoundland Cottage, especially from its upper floors and its raised balcony deck, as well as from a large picture window in the multi-purpose guest cottage, while a large, sheltered double swing seat hangs under the balcony.
The original long section is likely to date to the 1800s, and has exposed stone and brick on its exterior, some exposed stone and rough-plastered walls inside, plus a stone Inglenook fireplace with solid fuel stove, plus oil central heating.
The house is essentially one room wide, all along its length, and an upstairs en suite bedroom in the ‘extension’ can only be accessed by a spiral stairs at the house’s western end.
Its other two dormer bedrooms, each of them with en suite shower rooms, are back in the older section of the house, reached from a solid stairs and landing with lovely curves in its banisters.
It has the feel of a stairs that may have come out of a grander home.
Newfoundland Cottage has been modernised in keeping with its age and era, says estate agent Roy Dennehy, and it has lots of old-world character, yet up to date plumbing, a quite decent kitchen, porch, nice sitting room with large stove, and it has garden access via a half door.
: By Spring, it could all be postcard pretty once more. And, if you are not the sort of person to want to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in on relatively easy and rewarding DIY projects and garden shaping, it just might not be for you.