House of the week: Kinsale, Cork €430,000




Size: 155 sq m (1,650 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3
BER rating: C3
Best feature: Design detail

Some day — who knows? — the kitchen at the house called Te Papa could be as valuable as the home itself. After all, the guy who made it — Joseph Walsh — is just about as famous, and as influential, as contemporary furniture makers can get. He’s even been mentioned in some dispatches as a 21st century Eileen Gray, and his fluid, twirling pieces can sell for hundreds of thousands of euro each, to discerning global clients, collectors and galleries (josephwalshstudio.com).

Walsh opened his own design studio near Riverstick in 1999, aged 20, and it’s probably fair to say he only did kitchens back in his formative years.

He’s sort of moved out of that sphere by now, and while those kitchens he fashioned might be artisan rather than art, he never mass-produced.

“He told us when we were getting our kitchen made by him to go for brass hinges, that the cupboard doors would never droop — and he was right,” say the house-proud/kitchen-proud owners of No 1 Westwood Gardens, called Te Papa after the Maori New Zealand expression for ‘our place’.

And, yes, they are sorry now they couldn’t afford to buy some of his more creative formative furniture way back then. Now, after over a decade in occupation, they are trading up and selling up, with locks, stocks and kitchen units, brass hinges and all, all good to go.

They got to buy this distinctive Kinsale town house from the plans when the row of six-only homes were being built back in 2001, to a design by Kinsale-based architect Richard Rainey. Rainey raised the bar a bit for terraced/townhouse design, detailing and finishes with Westwood, for MMD Construction, and finishes include timber, stone and render, under natural slate roofs.

The two end houses of the six here had 100 sq ft more than the middle four, with side family/sun-rooms built on the gables making for 1,650 sq ft in all at No 1.

No 1 also has probably the biggest gardens as well — all the benefits of getting first choice, and as it’s at the end of the row, no-one passes by its doors or windows.

And, that’s handy, because between the several French doors, main door, and balcony, this house has seven doors to the outdoors in all, all in quality Rationel pine.

Selling agents are Victoria Murphy and Daughter in Kinsale, where ‘daughter’ is auctioneer Johanna Murphy of Johanna Murphy and Sons in Cobh, and it’s sort of a family job here — the architect Richard Rainey is brother to Victoria, and uncle to Johanna. And the vendor? “Just a best friend”, says Johanna.

She guides at €430,000, and stresses the house’s quality, constant maintenance and regular upgrades.

No 1 has its accommodation over three levels, with the entire top floor home to a master bedroom suite, with lots of sliding built-ins, en suite, and roof windows fore and aft, with views across the valley down towards the town.

Just across the road is the Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre, and drop down a further 250 yards or so, and you’re into the town at the Guardwell — if you can pass up the temptations of the fresh daily cooking at the chef-owned Pantry restaurant, that is.

Back at No 1 Westwood Gardens, the middle floor has three smart bedrooms (two to the rear), and main family bathroom with bath/shower. Creative use has also been made of the end of the landing, where a useful home-office has been sited just inside the front balcony. It’s a lovely, bright space.

Downstairs there’s a front living room 16’ deep and 11’ wide, with open fireplace, and French doors to a front patio, and the hall outside sort of takes an angle off this room’s back corner, making a kink in the hall access to the kitchen — very handy for privacy and screening the back of the house from the front.

There’s an L-shape to the kitchen/dining room behind, with vaulted ceiling over the kitchen sink portion, the floor’s porcelain tiled and the units (by the aforementioned Joseph Walsh) are in beech, with a mix of mahogany and granite tops.

There’s access to the gable-end family room by the dining room, and here the owners have altered by raising the ceiling in this extra space, which has front patio access from yet more French doors.

The garden’s a sort of wrap-around, with private spaces and there’s more than enough of it for sun-taking, outdoor entertaining, BBQs or a pet or two. It’s all been extremely well-kept, inside and out and even the cobble-lock drive has recently been replaced.

There’s not much currently on the market in Kinsale, especially in such a handy location, and the condition is truly walk-in, put on the kettle — and stock the ‘designer’ kitchen cabinets.

VERDICT: Wide appeal for a range of buyers. Quite the package.


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