House of the week: Kinsale, Cork €460,000-€550,000

NEW, all-new from the ground up — that’s what’s different about Cluain Mara, says estate agent Catherine McAuliffe of Savills as she goes on site, this weekend, 2-4pm.
House of the week: Kinsale, Cork €460,000-€550,000

Size: 1,818 sq ft/2,450 sq ft

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 4

BER: A2

Best Feature: Fresh designs, Kinsale setting

With a bang-up-to-date showhouse, for the first eight homes to be launched in this Kinsale development of 27 freshly designed family homes.

Visited just a week ago, at a spot known locally as Farm Lane behind the coastal town and within a walk of it, in heavy rain and leaden skies, Cluain Mara was a hive of positive energy, all construction workers in hard hats, out with the diggers, down on the ground with the pavers, and inside with the furniture painters, in the last moments frenetic run up to the start of sales.

Today and tomorrow, there’s the novelty once more of a showhouse launch, for those who’ve missed these catch-ups on trends.

It’s a showing off of what’s to come at this edge of Kinsale site, a mix of quite large 2,400 sq ft detacheds (4) down through smaller 10x1,800 sq ft four beds, eight semis of 1,500 sq ft, and five terraced three-bed townhouses of 1,200 sq ft.

The niche 27-unit Cluain Mara is being done by a new building name to Cork, Centurion Homes, run by Dubliner Mark Leonard and Corkman Noel Barry who have other significant residential and commercial property companies to their credit.

In Cork, they’ve started with a one-off in Montenotte, now sold, and have rolled next into Kinsale for Cluain Mara, designed for them by well-regarded local architect Richard Rainey: the location is next to the Bandon Co-op Store, just over the hill from the town centre.

Even though the word ‘Mara’ appears in the scheme’s name, there isn’t a marine or sea view from the site (it’s next to Mansfield Park, a small scheme of detached dormers).

If there was a view, you could expect prices to be far higher as that carries Kinsale super-premiums: see our feature property p 14/15 for a current example.

Prices at Cluain Mara range from €460,000 to €550,000 for the first eight detacheds, (Savills have over 60 registered inquirers, who got a preview this week), to be followed later by some semis and townhouses, at prices yet to be decided.

Landscaping and final show-house dressing schedule was so tight in the past week, the interiors photography for on-going marketing was to be done this morning, just hours before show time kick-off: so, the internal images seen here are CGIs, incredibly realistic, down to the perfect representations of the exact kitchen stools, still swaddled in protective wrapping on the Irish Examiner’s visit.

The CGI images show how much more ‘state of the art’ this digital art has evolved since the Celtic Tiger days’ of luxe showhouse launches and visualisation.

But, what’s really important for home hunters is just how that look is delivered in actuality and to the touch and in how much building standards and energy efficiency have moved on too, during the ‘lull’.

These new builds hit A2 energy rating standards, with triple glazing and could be heated in all probability with the proverbial Kinsale candle: they have air to water heat pumps and heat recovery systems that ensure a constant supply of warmed, refreshed air, and there are four heating zones, with underfloor heating downstairs, with a pressurised hot water system. Solar panels feed into the electricity supply, helping to cut energy bills further.

The show unit floor plan manages to make it seem even bigger than its 2,450 sq ft, and grants the core a decent hall and landing as well as a front to back kitchen/dining/family room, separate living room with stove, and study plus utility, and compact back hall entrance.

Overhead two of the four bedrooms are en suite, one also has a dressing room, and another has a balcony,and all bathrooms have Villeroy and Boch sanitary ware.

Interior design is by Wicklow-based artist and interior stylist Niamh MacGowan, who has worked shades of Irish brand Colortrend paints (now with actress Fiona Shaw as brand ambassador for an international sales push) not only on walls and joinery, but even continues her chosen colours (lots of greys) from walls up onto ceilings as well.

In the show unit, the kitchen, utility, and bedrooms built-ins are by Kube, with Silestone worktops in the kitchen, island and upstand, and a low, c 1 metre high wall part divides the cooking area from the eating section.

There is recessed LED lighting in the kitchen and living area, while sockets and switches are brushed steel, with CAT 5 cabling.

Windows are triple glazed, from Munster Joinery, and exterior finishes are smooth painted render, and slate-effect roof tiles, with cobble-lock drive and rear patios, on relatively compact sites with small lawns.

Prices for the two larger builds released are €550,000 and €535,000, and the six 1,818 sq ft four-bed are €460/465,000, with PC sum of €25,000 and €18,000.

VERDICT: Show-time, once more.

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