Principal private residence anyone?

Tommy Barker gives this old schoolmaster’s house in Clonakilty an ‘A’ grade for a class upgrade

Principal private residence anyone?

So, the school around the corner is not the same.

A class upgrade has been done in the past several years to this Clonakilty town centre detached house, which was for many years the private home of a school principal whose Methodist education domain was right next door.

That original, 1800s-built stone school is now a local museum run by volunteers and open May to October, while in addition, the old Clonakilty Tech school was set just across the way here on Clon’s Western Road, making this area sort of an education strip for the community in earlier times.

Entirely by coincidence, when the old school master’s house last changed hands, back in 2011, it was bought by a West Cork teacher, and after the past seven years in appreciative occupation and after a full home-work overhaul, it’s back up for sale due to a work move.

How it looks now is nothing like how it was back in 2011, when it changed hands in market doldrums times for €240,000. Today, after its makeover, it’s a walk-in proposition done to a showhouse standard and style, within a walk of every amenity, shop and service in Clon, with a purpose-built gaelscoil close to hand, to maintain a bit of scholastic continuity in the locale.

Stone built, rendered and slate topped, it covers about 1,500 sq ft, over two levels, with a perky apex dormer to the front framing two windows, with ashlar-style surround at the top triangular section, along with corner rendered quoins, but the real impact now comes from the full-width 23’ by 10’ conservatory/lounge across the house’s front facade.

A lean-to, in hardwood frames and glazed across the full roof span, it has gauze screening and electrically operated vents for the hotter days of the year: roll on summer and complaints about the heat, at this stage when spring is struggling to break the low, single digit temperature barrier.

Three of this home’s four bedrooms (plus main bathroom) are upstairs, with louvre blinds on windows, and all three are relatively modest sized, but while not the largest at 11’ by almost 9’, the master bedroom has the back-up of a walk-in wardrobe, and an en suite bathroom to boot.

At ground is one other 10’ by 8’ bedroom, by a utility room and a guest bathroom and so this home is very functional for a range of ages and/or guests, and then there’s also a similar-sized sitting room/study, with access to the front conservatory.

Mid-section is the linking hall, facing a gleaming, white-painted original staircase, and off to the left is the property’s largest, most open and contemporary space, the 28’ by 14’ kitchen/living/diner, with slick white gloss handle-less units and long island/breakfast seating, topped with white quartz.

To the front, it opens to the conservatory, and at the far end is a sofa-fringed seating section with chimney breast with wide, integrated stove under a wall-set TV, with shelving either side of the chimney breast.

There’s an integrated seating bench to one side, the floor’s tiled in a pale grey, continuing on to the conservatory and the hall, and most of the rest of the decor is pure white for light, with a contrast of grey upstairs in a bedroom or two, while contrasting bursts of colour come from art, cushions and mirrors.

Sitting well with the crisp, contemporary edge are retained features like the original ladderback internal doors, some with old brass handles. Overall condition is top notch, says estate agent Ray O’Neill, whose Sherry FitzGerald O’Neill offices are a few blocks away on Western Road: he can do door-to-door appointments with no more than a two minute stroll in between.

The Old School Master’s House is south-facing, set on a corner site, in between the super-attractive cut stone of the old Methodist school/museum to the right, and the entrance to housing at the Tawnies by the left, and has most of its grounds to the front, with a lawn, drive and parking.

Off the kitchen, to the west, is a more private patio space by the side boundary wall, with an enclosed yard, and there’s also a detached workshop/store, with small glasshouse in front.

VERDICT: Quietly master-ful.

Clonakilty, West Cork €445,000

Size: 141 sq m (1,510 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
BER: Exempt

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