House of the week

THERE aren’t very many houses in developments as large, as good, and on as good grounds, as Fernwood — this Cois Chuain home is outstanding in its field.

Fernwood, also known as No 11, is right at the very top of this commanding hillside above Glounthaune, built by Lanes Builders when they were at the top of their own game: the up-market development is a sort of master-class in low density development.

It’s one of the very largest houses in this early 2000s scheme, and the owners have been here from Day One, and pretty much got first choice of sites. They opted for this 0.6 acre plot, and landscaped just about every inch of it to a design and planting list by the highly-regarded Brian Cross. It’s getting better year on year, with sandstone patios, elevated decking for sun-taking and viewings, and the back of the large site is fringed by very old woodland.

Out front, the Cois Chuain (60-plus houses) development stretches away in stages (there’s three or four entrance points, plus interconnecting pedestrian paths) dotted with old hardwoods in sprawling green space, with southerly views down to the harbour’s glories: it’s a beguiling vista. There’s a national school 100 yards away on the way to Glounthaune, which has a rail commuter link to Cork City, and Cois Chuain is a hugely popular scheme for families.

Fernwood’s fresh to market with Catherine McAuliffe and Clare O’Sullivan of Savills, who seek offers around €720,000; given its space, hugely accommodating floor plan over three levels, quality of materials and subtle interior design sheen, well, expect bidding to break out in rapid order.

With almost 3,200 sq ft to play around with, there was no need to try and cram in lots of rooms, so the ground floor has two great, big bright rooms, one a formal sitting room to the right of the wide, stepped hall, all calm, cool and collected (interiors were done originally by Bellisima in Bandon.)

Across the way (the porelain-tiled hall has a huge cloaks/closet) is a kitchen/dining room with patio access, and then down a step or two, is a chic 20’ by 13’ family room with fireplace, library wall of shelves, and the entire linked spaces are visually tied together by keeping the palette simple, white walls, quality wide plank oak floors, oak doors, etc.

The kitchen’s unlikely to date, understated in granite-topped oak, done by Homegrown Kitchens, who also did the woods in the adjoining utility/pantry.

There’s not a bad room here, the first floor is home to a wide landing with study space, four bedrooms with two en suites, and a main family bathroom (all loos have Amtico flooring), and the top floor has two more bedrooms, one so big it could be sub-divided, or give practice space to a rock band and legion of followers.

There’s no flash or bling in the interiors, and the gardens are more than a match, with several outdoor seating areas, sandstone and gravel paths, dense planting picked for year-round colour, a sun-bathing deck, and a top lawn by the woodland boundary big enough to be a tennis court, but busy on the day of the Irish Examiner’s visit with a pair of courting, love-all rabbits.

VERDICT: A great family home, Fernwood’s as good today as it was back when it graced the pages of an interiors magazine, while a gardening mag could probably get a few pages out of the grounds.


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