Bespoke home with the delightful touch of a craftsman

Elegant and original finishings make Oak Lodge a must-see, says Tommy Barker
Bespoke home with the delightful touch of a craftsman
Oat Lodge, Ard na Gréina, Shanbally, Cork

Elegant and original finishings make Oak Lodge a must-see, says Tommy Barker

  • Price: €595,000
  • Size: 370sq m
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms 3
  • BER: N/A

Even though the images of Oak Lodge give a very good idea of the quality and uniqueness of this large family house, this is likely one to be one property listing that won’t swing a deal just by way of virtual viewing.

It’s a tactile, handmade and craftsman-created one-off, rich in quality timbers and touches that really need to be visited, admired, rubbed, even.

Set in a small scheme of 10 or so large detached houses at Ard na Gréina, Shanbally by Cork Harbour, Oak Lodge was first offered to the market inFebruary 2017; it has since returned with a change of selling agent, and with a price readjustment of €100,000.

Initially, this high-end home just shy of 4,000sq ft of bespoke finishes had been priced at €695,000 for the family who had built it in the early 2000s.

Now, it’s guided by estate agent Pat Falvey of Coldwell Banker Carton Real Estate at €595,000, and he describes it as one where no expense was spared and as“a truly special family home that was beautifully conceived and constructed by its current owners.”

Done with a deferential nod to the Tudor look, especially across its front facade with wooded look amid Belgian brick and white rendered finishes, box bay windows topped with scalloped lead and tall gables with a Brazilian slate roof, it looks immediately different, even from its first external glances.

Then, inside, there’s even more to admire, especially the feature, entrancing entrance hall, done on a chess board theme, with a gleaming parquetry wood floor, and then graced by an exceptional stairs, in many timbers, including a chequered chess board 64-square pattern on the return, supported with hidden steel and showcasing gifted timber carving skills atop the newel posts.

Wood carvings in the Interior hallway
Wood carvings in the Interior hallway

Those carvings, done by master craftsman David O’Connell (see include the king, queen, bishops and rooks, while the knights are in steel, not hewn from wood.

Timbers used in this room alone include American , flint-hard oak from Ukraine and oak from Coolmore Estate by Carrigaline, red gum and white sycamore, walnut and more, and when visitors are finished admiring the workmanship, the volume of the space begins to dawn, kicking off with double height area above the bifurcating stairs, crowned with an oak-beamed pitched roof.

The owner says he acquired 400sq yards of oak plank when building this one-off for a growing family, so, no surprise in its name, Oak Lodge.

It’s hardly a surprise either to realise the owners are in the craft/building trade, and the man of the house served his time as a plasterer in the UK (his own father was a specialist plasterer who did some ceiling and roses here too) before switching to wood.

Some of what he saw working on pedigree homes in the likes of Kent and Surrey got transferred into creating his own dream home, on a quarter acre site between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy, a short commute to and from the city.

The house's main staircase
The house's main staircase

Apart from the hall/ entry/ core, with its see-through views past six folding glazed wall / doors in cedar and right on out to the back of the house which ends in a vaulted ceilinged sunroom, other standout features include the mix of fireplaces, from brick, stone and with timber mantles, Juotul stoves through to inglenook surrounds.

There’s even a fireplace, a polished slate and marble antique one, in the 400sq ft master bedroom suite, floored in solid oak, like all of the five first floor bedrooms have been finished in.

Other rooms include a 20ft by 15ft living room, a similar-sized lounge, family den, kitchen with painted timber units topped in rubberwood, dining room/sun room overlooking the immaculate back garden (complete with a glasshouse, an oak-frame, pagoda and store/dog house, with a brick front) main bathroom, utility and guest bathroom.

Kitchen and dining area
Kitchen and dining area

Oh, and there’s also an integrated garage/playroom, with a walnut floor, and basement storage.

Set behind electric gates, Oak Lodge’s quarter acre includes brick-paved drive, rail sleeper beds and planting such as beech hedging, decorative shrubs, ornamental trees, water feature and tender exotics: there’s even a maturing yew, which, given the owners’ proclivity for fine woods, must be trembling down to its roots.

Verdict: there’s not an area in this sizeable home that hasn’t had the craftsman’s level of attention to detail applied to it.

Exterior shot of Oak Lodge, Shanbally
Exterior shot of Oak Lodge, Shanbally

The grounds are painstakingly laid out and planted and utilised also, for a pretty impressive overall package.

If you had to pay people even today to build and finish to this standard, well, you’d be paying the asking price and a lot more: it reads like a calling card of admirable skills, and needs real viewing to appreciate.

Price: €595,000

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