Home with a warm feeling

THE owner of the pristine Ard na Gowan admits to loving the heat – and that’s why she’s on the way to northern Italy to live.

A businesswoman with a keen eye for property, she has a series of building renovations to her credit, including two in Italy. However, this Midleton, east Cork job, was a special one for her.

Owned for years by family members, she poured extra personal passion into this 1930s detached house’s renewal. The result is a super-warm family home with an easy, casual and well-clothed elegance....try fabrics from France, wallpapers from the US, windows from Sweden, and furnishings from all over, with Irish craftsmanship.

Even on simple things like the heating front, it works superbly well, with a carefully designed dual system mixing solar-heating with underfloor ‘Smart Electric’ heating (via company Raychem), even under the immaculate solid oak parquet flooring, backed up by oil and radiators. Oh, and the kitchen has a smart black Rayburn, too, just in case the joint ain’t warm enough.

Once the heat is in it doesn’t escape from this 1,750 sq ft home, thanks to very high insulation levels in the walls and attic, and superior glazing.

Windows here are triple-glazed, sourced from Margaret Sheeran of the Swedish Trade Centre in Cork, and while they’ll repay their investment over time in energy saved, the immediate result is a huge comfort factor – a little bit of balmy Italy in east Cork, in effect.

Reworked to a very high standard from top to bottom in the past few years by local builder John Hennessy, Ard na Gowan is a real walk-in job, says estate agent Catherine McAuliffe of Savills, acting jointly with Midleton auctioneer Michael Russell and seeking offers around €575,000.

Location is at Knockgriffin, just off the main Cork to Midleton access road, and the town is a short walk and this weekend hosts the Midleton Food and Drink Festival. Ard na Gowan’s quarter acre site is wholly private, ringed in greenery, and accessed via tall electric gates, and every inch has been confidently tackled. The end result now is a three-bedroomed home, with ground floor en suite bedroom with separate access, and the extra-large 23’ by 12’ master bedroom, created from two smaller bedrooms, and it has its own en suite, while a high-quality family bathroom, plus ground floor guest loo serves the rest of the house.

The renewal works here included removing walls to open up spaces, especially to the back for southerly sun, and the scene stealer here is the newly-added rear sun-room, with a strong taste of the Hamptons to the decor, whose ceiling is wood-sheeted, painted, and punched through by a bank of Veluxes.

The hall opens seamlessly to the main oak parquet-floored living room, off to the right is a larger 20’ by 11’ sitting room, and the porcelain-floored sun-room out opens from the smart, hand-painted solid oak kitchen done by Calnans of Clonakilty. Continuing the theme, worktops are granite. The tiling behind the black Rayburn evocatively lists off the names of Mediterranean herbs.

There’s also a second, summer serving kitchen, for when you can’t stand the heat, or just to go to Italy and need to cool the Rayburn’s jets.


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