Family. It’s what 25 Radharc na Mara smacks of. Not just because it’s home to three young kids, but because extended family were instrumental in its construction.
“My brother Shane Nolan built it, he’s with C&N Construction, a team of Tipperary house builders,” says Michelle Ruddy, who hails from the Premier County.
Michelle’s mother Nora, now deceased, hung the wallpaper. Her dad and in-laws helped out with the painting.
To say it was a labour of love may be a cliche but it’s true in this case. Michelle’s husband Patrick designed it.
Michelle completed a course in interior design while the house building was underway, hence no trailing wires behind wall-hung TVs, thanks to height-appropriate sockets; no piping in sight beneath radiators and — wait for it — even a socket on the back garden patio to hoover up the bits of barbecue that lodge in the grooves of the decking.
Importance of sockets aside, this four-bed 2,800 sq ft house in Rostellan, East Cork, where the kitchen is bathed in morning sunlight, is being sold with some reluctance.
Michelle and Patrick have been Cork-based since returning from Oz 12 years ago, but Patrick hails from Mayo and the west is beckoning.
A move to Galway is in the offing with the likelihood of starting from scratch again and a whole new build.
With this a possibility, Michelle is in two minds about bringing the furniture. It’s something to discuss with would-be buyers.
If she does opt for a totally fresh start, the buyer will acquire plenty of, literally, Top Drawer sturdy bedroom furniture, and lots of tasteful lampshades from Cork Lighting.
Driving up the incline that leads to the 17-house estate up above the coastline overlooking Cork Harbour, the view is pretty special.
In fact, standing at the kitchen sink, the vista that opens before you makes washing the dishes almost bearable (almost).
Straight ahead across the water is East Ferry, to the right is Rostellan Lake, skirting the edges of Rostellan Woods, and, away over to the west, Cobh is marked out by its Cathedral spire.
A little closer to the back door — or should I say patio doors — of Radharc na Mara (it translates as Seaview), is a sandstone patio which runs onto hardwood decking. What the Ruddys have done transforms this platform.
The decking is surrounded by a low-level Atlantic-blue wall fitted with timber seating on one side and raised flower beds on the other and with ample space for garden furniture and even the adorable Wendy house built by local man Sean Busteed, for the three little girls in the family.
Michelle took her inspiration from TV programme, Garden of the Year.
“It’s like another room for the kids to play in. It is so safe. I can keep an eye on them while I’m in the kitchen,” Michelle says.
The north-west-facing kitchen-cum-dining room means diners can make the most of the evening sun and sea views. Opening off this space towards the front of the house is a comfy TV room with gas stove.
Also opening off the kitchen is a decent utility room with sink and pantry for additional storage, as well as a downstairs bathroom.
Outside, there’s a concrete garden shed for further storage.
At the other side of a spacious hall is a pretty playroom and, behind it, again with patio doors looking towards the coast, is another living room.
The feature here is a fire basket — the fireplace was designed bigger than the norm to accommodate the basket — which throws out a great deal of heat.
Heading up the bespoke stairs, where stair rods are a striking feature, the landing runs right around with doors leading off into four equal-size bedrooms (no bagging the biggest!).
However, one bedroom has the bonus of a walk-in wardrobe leading to an en-suite wet room where the shower floor and walls are made up in fibre glass thanks to a local boat builder.
A second bedroom has a similar wet room with generous shower head, and both have heated towel rails. The main bathroom also has a bath/jacuzzi.
A second staircase, just beyond the hot press, leads to a huge room under the eaves where the man of the house had dreams of a home cinema until family and reality kicked in.
With proper planning, it could convert easily into a giant fifth bedroom. Or teen den.
Downstairs, the man of the house is delighted with the way the sound system was fitted — with speakers in the roof of the kitchen and not a sign of a transistor — although it was his wife’s idea.
Beyond the walls of this fine block construction family home with double-glazed windows and oil central heating, is a community where neighbourliness is still a virtue and where there’s plenty for the kids to do, from the kayaking and paddle boarding school on your doorstep, to Aghada Tennis Club one mile away.
For eating out, there’s the well-known Rosie’s Bar and Bistro where kids, at certain times of the year, are fed for free on a Tuesday.
There’s also the Rostellan chocolate factory and coffee shop with plenty of artisan products for those who know their cocoa and of course Healy’s Bar for a jar as the sun goes down.
Then there’s the footpath that runs all the way to Whitegate, populated by joggers in fine weather; there’s a chemist and a doctor in Lower Aghada, a Eurospar in Whitegate village and Midleton is only 10km away when local resources can’t match demand.
With a price tag of €495,000, corner-site Radharc na Mara may seem high for an estate, but the last property here sold for €420,000 and auctioneer James Colbert, of James Colbert and Co, says this was for “a shell”.
“There was no flooring, no kitchen, no bathrooms,” he says. “This is in a lot better condition and larger in size.”
This four-bed 2,800 sq ft house in Rostellan, East Cork, where the kitchen is bathed in morning sunlight, is being sold with some reluctance.