A serene home in countryside south of Cork city offers room to manoeuvre for buyers, says Tommy Barker.
Ballyfeard, south county Cork
Size: 509 sq m (5,500 sq ft)
It looks like the owners of Kinelea thought of just about everything, when they laid out and built this large country home almost a decade ago, and wired it and put in every available extra to future-proof it for the years ahead.
But, they probably hadn’t fully considered the fact that family would grow quite so fast, and leave it — in size terms at least — surplus to their requirements.
Now, downsizing, they’ve put their painstakingly-built home, Kinelea House, near Ballyfeard, Minane and Tracton in south county Cork for sale, and it must be one of the biggest, and most lavishly equipped buys, anywhere in this rich, rural heartland, 25 minutes from the city, and less from the airport, Carrigaline and Kinsale.
To the uninitiated, there’s almost a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ touch to this hinterland, and the country roads seemingly criss-cross with abandon.
Without GPS sat-nav, it’s easy to get lost on the backroads, but with a bit of persistence you’ll get there anyway (having gone a wrong road, the Irish Examiner spotted this house as a stand-out in the landscape due to its scale, and got back on track.)
And, once you’ve cracked the routes, it does get easier.
Perhaps it’s as easy to say this home called Kinelea, at Ballinluig East, is near the famed (and reopened for business) Overdraught pub and restaurant, and the owners of this house have often made the walk down and back for grub-steaks.
Finders’ Inn in pretty Nohoval is pretty hot for steaks too, they add, and when you’re there, you’re by the coastline... that’s for bearings’ sake, for visitors, in case they go too far, and miss a turn.
This modern home, with all the bells and whistles, replaced an earlier 1950s home on this two-acre slice of affluent countryside, and is set toward the back of its sloping lands to get most of the grounds into the view from the house itself.
On a fine day, it’s hugely expansive, yet private, up a long wooded approach avenue through sentinel, protecting electric gates
Set amid a sweep of terraces, the house is just ten years old, but because it replaced an older dwelling, the grounds have more maturity than you’d expect.
The two-story home (with two enormous attics) comes in at a sizeable 5,500 sq ft, with up to six bedrooms, including an enormous ‘presidential’ suite-sized master bedroom with balcony in the middle and the others off in two separate ends or wings, all with individual or shared ‘Jack and Jill’ en suites.
“If you did check into a hotel and found a bedroom suite like this, you’d think you had been upgraded,” quips auctioneer Darragh Taaffe of Keane Mahony Smith, “and you’d go back to reception to thank them, but you’d also make sure you weren’t going to be charged anything extra for it”.
It’s enormous, with a bed almost lost in the middle of the room, on deep pile white carpeting and with a dressing room off to one side, and a two-section luxury bathroom off on the other side, with jettted bath and double shower, while a door opens to another room with WC, bidet and sink.
Very civilised, indeed, and tiled to the last.
Builder for this singular one-off in the country was the highly experienced Vincent Barry, working the owners say to a design by Deady Gahan Architects, and the build includes underfloor heating on its two levels, wiring for sound, security, and current and future services with ducting provided for any new additions which might want to be brought into the house.
Even the double garage has underfloor heating, so if you’ve a classic car investment or two worth pampering, this is the very spot to park them at.
There’s a large bank of solar panels, central vacuum throughout plus nifty ‘skytubes’ which bring additional light into the first floor landings/wings, either side of a bespoke mahogany staircase with feature curving ‘swan-neck’ handrails.
The stairs, Georgian-style hardwood front door with fanlight, and internal glazed doors were handmade by the highly-regarded Waterford joiner Andrew Kelly who also worked on Castlehyde (see also, coincidentally, another of Mr Kelly’s stairs handiwork, in our Cover Story Summerhill city house spread).
There’s a great spread and balance of living and sleeping quarters at Kinelea, say selling agents Anthony O’Regan and Darragh Taaffe of Keane Mahony Smith, acting here jointly with James Murphy of Kinsale, as they expect viewers to come from quite a diverse background and location.
They guide what they describe as “a home of the highest standard of design and finishes,” at €695,000.
Rooms include a comms room, double height entrance hall, leading through double doors to a 26’ by 20’ living room with huge bank of picture windows for views, and there’s a wood-buring stove set into a marble fire surround which, craftily, has also been set up for gas fires, if required.
There’s a second reception room, with open fireplace (also piped for gas), a family/TV room, a study/home office, and a double-aspect kitchen/dining room, with Rangemaster stove, and marble tops of units and the island, all set up for views while working and relazing.
And, this room too is where something very smart was adapted during the 2007 build process.
When the owners saw the big picture window going into place, they realised that the small panes on top would cut through their views of sky and scenery: so, they turned the window upside down, and the hinges switched on the small panes which now open low-down for ventilation.
Result? A clear view, and counter across the lower section’s divide, to use as a breakfast counter.