Cover story: Blarney, Cork €420,000

Location: Size: 315 (3,400 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 5 Bathrooms: 6
BER rating: B
Best feature: Created by a pro

THE man who put a two-storey, protruding Liscannor-stone front wing extension on the couple’s Blarney area bungalow called Meadow Lodge, explains his thinking:

“My wife asked for a bay window in the front, but this is what I did instead. I wanted to get it right the first time and not be adding on later.”

So he reasons — so then he matched it with something equally large behind, in another two-level feature and added on elsewhere too, and then upgraded every single inch of the finished 3,400 sq ft build.

And, he suspects, they’re possibly a bit crazy for selling up, but “I reckon I might have one more house left in me.

“It’s effectively a brand new home, nothing bar some of the walls of the original house are left; it’s now almost two and a half times the size of the old house, yet it’s half the cost to heat,” adds the seasoned, professional hand behind this rural home hideaway, on the edge of Cork City.

He’s in the building and landscaping business, so much of the detail inside and out is his own handiwork, especially all the feature stone work, such as the Liscannor given a dry-stone treatment in front, all lines on the horizontal, and contrasting with a range of mellow old clay bricks in window and door arches. His masonry skills also came into play for the limestone sills — and the same materials even feature in the detached garage, done and insulated to domestic living standards — there’s posh.

The garage is home to a giant wood-pellet burner, with the roof area adapted to hold three tonnes of dry pellets, and there’s also solar panels for lashing of hot water; that’s just as well, seeing as how all four bedrooms have en suites, with powerful multi-jet and multi-head showers.

Meadow Lodge is out at Tweedmount, ten minutes (or less) from Cork City near Rathpeacon, a mile or so from the old Sunset Ridge Motel. Its setting is pure rural, with a large field of grazing cattle to the back, while the distant views in front include the Mallow road and the fringes of the city, most notable at night when lights are on.

Site size is one third of an acre, all landscaped and with some feature seating areas. Reluctantly selling up, the owners say they need a good deal more outdoor space to have a compound for machinery and jeeps and trailers for business needs.

Selling agent is Dan Fleming in Blarney, who seeks offers around the €420,000 price guide, and who says it’s a must-see for those ready-to-buy purchasers looking for a family home: “On purchasing, there’ll will be nothing for its new owners to do — other than unpack, unwind and enjoy their new surroundings.”

There’s loads here to enjoy, with a huge selection of ground floor rooms, with kitchen/breakfast room at the core with stone hearth and dividing wall to the living room, as well as a garden room and a formal dining room. Other rooms include a large utility with guest WC, and a home office-study which can be accessed via the utility and so means home working needn’t impinge on family life beyond.

Piece de resistance, for those who can’t resist temptation, is the lads’ games room, home to a snooker/pool table, darts, masive telly with surround sound, gym equipment and even a corner home bar that’s better stocked with spirits than the average country pub. It’s possibly not coincidental that the bathroom off this big and adaptable room includes a urinal, one of a couple of these rare-enough plumbing items in this one-off home. The plumber, a German man called Andreas, managed to persuade the owners to go for this extra piece of suite on the basis they’re normal on the Continent, and there’s also a bidet or two as well in the well above-average sanitary ware selection.

There’s pride in workmanship evident throughout, and it’s clear that the owners used tradespeople whose work they admired and could stand over: it’s visible in things like immaculate plumbing pipe runs, and even the way the hardwood oak floor is scribed around the chimney hearth stone wall in the living areas.

Presentation is fresh and modern, with muted greys and neutral colours, some feature papers which whisper rather than shout, and hardwood floors, with walnut treads and newel posts on the staircase, which leads to a landing and walkway overlooking the double height hallway, with some vibrant colourful art.

Though clearly a well-enjoyed and used family home, condition is spotless — not a fingerprint smudge on paintwork, and all four bedrooms are more than decent doubles, with study space, and top quality bathrooms and showers.

The master suite is head and shoulders above the rest, set to the middle and back of the house, with walk-through dressing area with mirrored Sliderobes first, and a step down to a seating space by a tall, apex window with rear garden views. This glazed section has French doors, and galvanised steel beams are in place just outside, ready to take balcony decking and rails for an elevated, outdoor seating area.

Back inside the bedroom suite the sleeping section is under a dormer roof, facing a window, and beyond is a large, compartmentalised private bathroom, home to a double jetted bath, a double shower, pan and urinal, sinks, bidet and all fully tiled, top to toe.

Insulation levels are high, well above usual standards, especially up into the roof, where sloping dormer ceilings are done in 50mm of slabbed plasterboard, with more insulation beyond in the rafters. Heating is a mix of pellet boiler and oil, with intelligent sensors switching from one method to the other, while the solar panels give a significant free boost to the hot water demands.

This house’s extensive roof is done in Brazilian slate, and patio areas have Indian sandstone paving — it seems like Meadow Lodge has materials from most of the so-called ‘Bric’ countries.

Apart from the feature Liscannor stone and brick, the rest of the house is finished in a permanent coloured render in a sandy colour which is holding up very well, not even power-washed once yet in its years (some renders, especially on north-facing walls, seem to turn green unnaturally early in our damp Irish climate.) Helping to keep the walls clean and dry is the extra width of overhang in the deep eaves, finished with black fascia and soffits: “I did it as much for proportion as much as anything else,” says the house’s proud owner.

Garden features include patios front and back, with an electric awning over sliding doors by the games room where there’s sandstone paving. Feature planting includes trim standard Portuguese laurels, and a resurgent cordyline, coming back to life from the ground up after the tough winters of two and three years ago wiped out these feature tress by the thousand nationwide.

Meadow Lodge’s rear garden has different, fan-shaped palms by the sheltered decked space off the sun room and dining room, where there’s also ornate grasses and a standing stone, drystone perimeter walling plus feature steps in a mix of old bricks up to a raised garden and lawn.

Yet, despite the house’s size, and all of the garden features and distinct areas, careful choice of materials means maintenance is kept to a reasonable minimum.

Other above-average extras inside include a large number of extra sockets (about 80 sets of sockets) all rooms have internet and TV points, central vacuum system, with intercom access at the electric front gates

Floor finishes are a mix of marble tiling, 1” solid oak or quality carpets, and walnut in the stairs, done by Cloghroe Joinery, with part-carpeted treads for grip and underfoot softness. Kitchen units are in alder, topped with black granite, and thanks to the central vacuum, there’s a handy kick-plate suction spot by the worktops for magicking away crumbs and food prep detritus — Meadow Lodge really does seem to have thought of everything.

VERDICT: A great amount of space on a nice site 10 minutes from the city. Those not into a games room can use this area as a private suite, ideal for anyone with access issues, special needs - or teens.


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