High-end Ros Na Laoi gives a different interpretation to the expression ‘builder’s finish,’ says Tommy Barker.
Richmond Wood, Glanmire, Cork €695,000
Size: 203 sq m (2,185 sq ft)
Bathrooms: 4 +sauna
Best Feature: Builders’ best on the choice of sites, a double site
Along career in building and property has seen the owners of Ros na Laoi live in Ireland, and the West Coast of the US for several decades before returning to Cork roots, to build a family home for adult family years.
Now, with same family far flung and well-rooted on several continents, it’s downsizing time.
As you might expect, not only is this fresh-to-market, 20-year-old house superbly-built and finished and comfortable, it also is in the very best spot of all in leafy Richmond Wood, and that’s because at the time the family owned acres of land here, and had the pick of locations within, on which to build.
A cluster of several dozen detached homes, dotted about verdant greenery and lush landscaping against a valley and rich farmland backdrop, Richmond Wood is a quiet and serene spot, set above the Catholic church in Glanmire, just east of Cork City.
The family sold off serviced sites here a few decades ago, and their own home, Ros na Laoi, is towards the innermost section, furthest in and leafy, practically the highest up, and was built on a double site of 0.75 of an acre, to an exacting and non-dating specification and finish.
And, not only does it have its best views to the south, they are through and over native hardwood trees, including specimen beech, lem, oak and ash, many of them a century or more in age, adding to its timeless setting.
Then, visible over the side boundary wall is unzoned farmland, again ringed in old trees (and, in the distance, rooks’ nests): the view from the kitchen sink at Ros Na Laoi is past a private, west-facing sun patio and blowsy, purple peonies to a stone wall where pedigree herds of cattle are likely to rest a head for a look-see and staring match.
This week, rabbits made free on the acres of pasture; next week, it will be Cork house-hunters and families on the lawns and Indian sandstone sun terraces, for a look-see and look around this high-end home.
Weighing in at an estimated 2,200 sq ft, or 2,600 including the integrated and heated double garage, Ros na Laoi’s not a huge home by some trading-up standards, but it more than makes up for its ‘almost’ modest quantity of square feet by having a quality of space throughout, and all very usable.
It’s refreshingly different too in terms of bringing home some of the best features of US family homes, so this 1996-built, timber frame (by Century Homes/Kingspan) four-bed has a good, interconnected flow of living spaces, floored in immaculate pale ash.
There’s a period-home style decor and subtle, warming wall paint effects including colour washes and stone-blocking, by designer Anna O’Connor, all off a double-height entrance hall with feature staircase and alternating, ornate spindles.
American influences are evident, but not overly dominant, in the LA-sized sandstone sun terraces (looking good last weekend), and in marbles used in the bathrooms and en suites, in the provision of a compact family sauna upstairs, and in the larger, purposeful kitchen appliances ranged around Siematic units and hefty granite tops, in the generous provisioning of a home bar(appliances include Neff, Miele, De Dietrich and a Jennair gas hob with downdraught extract.
And, there’s one, super-smart idea imported from across the Atlantic: inset into the open, antique brass and onyx fireplace is a gas feeder for starting real log or solid fuel fires.
You twist, turn or tweak a lever on the floor, the gas ignites, and gets your home fires all ablaze, in record time. No need for firelighters, twists of paper or kindling. Turn off the gas, job done. Neat, and clean. Every home/stove deserves one.
Another US-style ‘every home should have one’ is the attached 400 sq ft double garage/rec room, heated, and served by walls of built-ins, so effectively you drive right in to unload people, shopping and sports gear.
Now set to change hands and guided at €695,000, estate agents Sheila O’Flynn and Gillian McDonnell of Sherry FitzGerald say this garage could be adapted for further family living space, as a double-sized den or games room given its instant accessibility to the main back hall and kitchen.
The principal main reception rooms all have sunny garden/ terrace access and views, and the all-weather metal terraced table and chairs has its own American provenance: the family bought it the actress Angela Lansbury, and it’s been this home’s set-piece when the sun (or stars) shine
Back inside, and upstairs, one of the four bedrooms, currently used as an office, the master bedroom is understated luxury, with bay window, dressing room and large en suite (and, cleverly, it also has a door to the hot press, which can also be accessed off the landing, while two other bedrooms share a Jack and Jill en suite, divided into two sections.
“Properties of this standard rarely come to the market in Richmond Wood,” says an impressed Ms O’Flynn of Ros Na Laoi and its pristine, sloping 0.75 acre of very private grounds, behind a wide sliding timber gate which retracts through (not before, not behind, but through) a stout, stone-built pillar.