Elaborate, underfoot tile mosaic is composed of marble and polished agate in colourful, 1,700 sq ft stone building, says Tommy Barker.
Location: Ballea Road, Carrigaline
Size: 160 sqm (1,700 sq ft)
THERE’S a calming aura to The Coach House — could it be the spa-like scents in the air, or is it the unexpectedly intriguing grounds rising up behind, which have a hidden fairy garden among the tiers? Or, might it be the mystic crystals inset into the living room’s floor?
This converted roadside coach house, just by the start of the Ballea Road, in Carrigaline south of Cork, is already interesting for its conversion, its unexpected amount of space and its re-jigged room layout. But, it has something more special underfoot, an elaborate central tile mosaic with inset marbles, as well as a large, central large slice of polished agate, and surrounding gems or crystals which are called Labradorite.
When doing due diligence, if you check Wikipedia about Labroadorite, it will give you a geological description of an iridiscent feldspar mineral and stone, found mainly near Labrador in Canada, as well as more rarely found deep underfoot around Norway .
Other websites, however, will tell you that Larbradorite is a Stone of Magic, revered by the Inuit people or northernmost Americas, who believed it fell from the frozen fires of the Aurora Borealis, back in the mists of time. This ‘power stone’ allows you to see through illusions, to determine the form of your dreams and goals and “is excellent for strengthening intuitions.”
So, if you feel the Coach House is talking your langauge, well, that’s simply the power stone called Labradorite weaving its spell.
“The tiling is the epicentre of the house,” ventures estate agent Hugh McPhillips, of Marsh auctioneers, who has put the Coach House on the open market, and has priced it at a down-to-earth €275,000.
That’s for a very comfortable, and surprisingly spacious and utterly characterful three-bed home (an historic building which used to accommodate horses in a different century, and was also used as a potato store). It measures 1,700 sq ft and is within a few minutes’ walk of the town of Carrigaline.
Well over a century old, it’s a stone-built property that was adapted and converted by a local auctioneer, Paddy Dennehy, back around 1989 (it may have been associated with Ballea Castle, a mile away), and which has been successfully sold on once or twice in the interim.
Its current owners have been here since 2012, having moved in from closer to the coastline and have clearly put their own stamp on it since.
They have opened up a couple of smaller ground-floor rooms to create a very large living space, which is now heated by the back-up addition of a wood-burning stove (with a second stove in the kitchen/family space).
This room has those aforementioned crystals set into the floor, within a larger star shape on the tiled floor, and a variation on a crystal chandelier hangs directly overhead the Labradorite floor crystal.
The gems were put there by the house’s owners, one of whom has a business in healing, holistic treatments and in crystals, and sells via the internet.
As a result, the house (and gardens, which have lots of statues of Buddha, among other more quirky figures) is quite decked out with novelties, and assertive colours. Greige it ain’t — even though the main room does have dark grey walls, as well as some exposed stone.
The building’s original incarnation, as a stables or coach house, is recalled in features like the stone structure and arched heads over windows and doors.
The view from the south and from the Ballea Road road is almost modest, with two small windows and a central, larger arched one. To the rear, the house opens even more, with the bonus of a dining room addition to the kitchen, with glass on two sides overlooking the tiered garden, plus walls in stone to match the main house, by the arched entrance door. There’s a French door to a patio, and clerestory window under the roof, for evening light
Despite an overall northerly aspect, this extra space is quite bright, with an overhead Velux, and has a contemporary-style wood-burning stove for extra heating oomph.
All overhead windows are Veluxes, front and back, set into a concrete tile roof rather than slate, and the upstairs has three bedrooms, one with en suite and dressing room/walk-in wardrobes, plus main bathroom: the bathroom’s a tiny bit tight at one end, but an easy improvement could be to annex a spare bit of landing space into this room.
Access to this upper level is via an open-tread stairs in the main 24’ by 20’ living room, and up another bit is attic storage, with a Stira pull-down steps.
The floor area, of 1,720 sq ft, is generous, and off the kitchen is a ground-floor store room to the front, and utility behind with half-door access to the back garden.
Outside is enough parking for a few cars, and for sitting out, and, at the back, the gardens climb steeply past niche seating area and landscaping into seeming wilderness, where the remains of an old lime kiln can be discerned, surrounded by ivies and overgrowth.
Limestone kiln? It’s a long way from the frozen fires of the Aurora Borealis.
VERDICT: For those who want something affordable, yet a bit out of the normal, boring run of semis and bungalows, the Coach House is a gem.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved