Uber cool pad in Bailick, Midleton ticks all the boxes

Those on Santa’s good list need look no further than this cracker of a home complete with picture-perfect views, writes Tommy Barker.            

ITS address is No 1 The Moorings, and this Bailick beauty is probably No 1 in most other respects also: it’s an absolute cracker, for more reasons than one.

The title of the address gives one, initial clue.

The Moorings development of townhouses, apartments and duplexes done around 2004/2005, is one of several primely set complexes by the water’s edge, and the edge of Midleton too, between the prosperous county town, and one of the world’s great natural harbours.

Some developments are in converted landmark old grain stores, others are modern builds, and the Moorings was built anew, designed by Cork city-based architect Bertie Pope.

A Pope family member apparently got first pick of houses here in this development of 20, and one of No 1’s current occupants got second choice, back about 12 years ago.

She plumped for No 1, tucked away in a niche inside the Moorings, next to a path leading to a private boat mooring/steel jetty, with parking in front of the end-terrace townhouse. 

There’s side access to the grounds at the back, with views here from the rear to the waterways at Bailick/Ballinacurra at the Owenacurra estuary, and to the mixed woods directly across. 

It’s close enough to skim a stone on a high tide to Ballyannan, where there’s 25 hectares of ancient woodland and walks, with roots back to the 17th century.

Midleton families, and dog walkers and nature lovers, head to the car-park accessing the woodland walk, by the over-passing N25 as it whizzes south of the town and its suburbs, and the same walk is 100 metres from the front door of The Moorings’ No 1.

Scenically set in the extreme this home is close enough to Midleton town to walk to and fro, or to services at Ballinacurra, and as well as having accessibility and an eye-grabbing view, it also has aspect in its favour.

The rear is fairly full-on south-westerly, and the back gets flooded with light, and it was this attraction that drew the owner to buy here day one, and to dream about improving it for years afterwards.

Finally about two years ago, the woman of the house, and her partner, decided to go all out, to strip the house right back and recreate it, from ground up, going out to the side and to the back, at ground level for a bask-in-the-light, open-plan living area, with ever-changing day views, and night-time starry vistas too. 

It has a wood burning enclosed fireplace/casette stove sourced from Classic Fireplaces, set into the new add-on’s side wall, keeping it all humming and cosy, whatever the weather outside.

And, they did it all very cleverly, to their own assured design template, and to their own lifestyle and personal preferences, with painstaking attention to detail in LED lighting, pendant lighting, and furniture, from a cross section from Caseys of Cork and Limerick, to Meubles, Home of Inspiration, in Kilkenny for the chic blue velvet sofa.

Now, it has rooms and bedrooms over all three levels, from ground to attic, while the mid-level is an absolute knockout of a master bedroom suite — if this were in a hotel, it would carry a penthouse prestige factor.

They opened the first-floor front to back, so the room now has a triple aspect, about 30’ by 10’ with sleeping end, lounge area and full-on water views. 

There’s a swish bathroom, with oval, double-ended freestanding bath, a walk-in shower with coloured green glass side panels and LED lighting, plus twin ‘his’n’hers’ sinks on a vanity units. 

In addition, there’s a long section of walk-in wardrobe, with pull-out rails and even a ‘his’n’hers’ clothes storage divide. Without starting trouble, it looks like a 35/65 split though — hardly half and half.

In addition, there’s an outdoor surround on the side and back of the ‘skirts’ of the flat roof extension which beckon and beguile for some sitting out upon, not used yet, but tempting some sunny morning, or moonlit night. 

In any case, the main picture window at the room’s end is, literally a picture window, overlooking Ballyannan woods, and boats on moorings.

This first floor suite could, if new owners wanted, be put back as two bedrooms, but, for the right buyers, now that No 1 is surprisingly up for sale, will be the deal-maker.

“This property has one of the best finishes I have seen this year, and compared to the prices of new three-bedroomed semis launched in Midleton recently this is a cut above when it comes to address, access and it has stunning water views into the bigger picture,” enthuses estate agent James Colbert. 

He has just this week listed No 1 the Moorings as someone’s dream home come through, and is open for viewings and bidding this side of Christmas, if you’ve very, very good.

“It was to be our home for life,” admit the owners a bit ruefully having poured heart, soul and bright ideas into the rebuild/reimagining of what’s now a high-end 1,780 sq ft home, full of individual touches, yet with a broad appeal to home-hunters on the look out for something that little bit extra.

The couple are only selling No 1 because something completely unexpected (and very contemporary) came their way in the same vicinity and they have already jumped at it. 

They thought of renting out No 1, as it would attract a premium corporate level rent given its attributes, but rather that fret about how it is being minded by tenants, they decided to cut the tie and put it up for sale.

James Colbert guides the property at €360,000, and is the first to admit that, well-kept and trim and all as it presents from the first approach, it doesn’t look like a property in this (still-modest) price league.

Forget first impressions, though: they peel back and drop away, as you go through towards the main living space and get a sense of the setting. 

Then after appreciating the aspect and framed vista and water proximity (flooding’s never been an issue, it’s stressed, thankfully) you begin to appreciate the elements of the design.

The extension is a bit angled for individuality, so is slightly off-square, as is the kitchen island, and the main rear room includes large sliding doors for rear ‘open’ courtyard access, a clerestory window over some of the work surfaces, and a rooflight as well, so brightness is very much the order of the day.

The architect was James Sheehan, a senior architect in the major firm of PM Group, who lives locally in Midleton, and builders were also local, GB Retrofit.

Seeing as the work and recreation of No 1 was going to involve extension, removal of internal walls and more, plus an attic conversion with bedroom, seating area, shower room and storage, it meant steel. 

Lots of steel, now shimmying up to the original house’s timber frame structure, built day one by county-based builders Leahy Brothers.

Consulting engineer was Finbarr Gannon, who did indeed throw the book at the rebuild: “The builder Gerry joked that if anything was going to bring the house down, it was the amount of steel going into it,” recall the owners, “it goes right up to the attic.” 

It’s all concealed now, of course, and it’s quite the seamless job.

A love of interior design is evident, and is a side passion of one of the owners, who travelled far and wide for the furniture and finishes, yet stuck to local suppliers wherever possible. 

The modern gloss kitchen with quartz tops came from Chris Keating of Midleton-based House of Design, and tiling came from Lynch Tile Centre in Carrigtwohill. Wallpapers came from Different Strokes in Midleton.

There’s lots of storage, built-ins and wardrobe space. The house’s reconfiguration now sees a ground floor bedroom just left of the hall, facing the front of the property, with a wall of mirrored robes. One of those ‘robe doors slides back to give access to a ground floor shower room, which also doubles up as a guest WC if approached from the utility, which is off the kitchen.

Privacy for users approching from either side is ensured thanks to a clever locking system, using electrical magnets, and a discrete light also lets those in the bedroom know when the en suite might be in WC use via the utility. It’s very simple solution to a multi-use space (and, no fears of being locked in, in a power cut, as the magnets then frees automatically.) 

Completely private, meanwhile, is the top floor dormer/attic room, where a step-up to the mid-section houses four compact Velux windows, with long views of wood and water to be had if standing up, and another few Veluxes pop up in the shower room and over the stairwell. 

“We hadn’t thought of all of them, but the builder put them in anyway, he said we’d need them and we’d appreciate them, and he was right,” they acknowledge of the smooth relationship they had during the three-storey makeover at No 1.

As the work was done so recently, this Moorings home is a walk-in buy for the next occupants. 

The bedroom-per-floor layout isn’t, perhaps, ideal for families with small children, and while selling agent James Colbert says the mid-level can be converted back to two bedrooms relatively easily, it’s most likely whoever buys will be smitten with what’s there and won’t want to alter much of this quite sumptuous space.

So, target market will be singles, professional couples (whatever that cliche really means?), traders down, and, perhaps, corporates relocating to East Cork or even Cork City, and keen for a bang-up-to-spec modern property, yet one with a keen sense of place and history.

The rear exterior of No 1 is multi-purpose, almost that other property description cliché of “the room outdoors,’ with low-maintenance gravel and paved surfaces, with side access and a steel storage shed.

There’s a brick-built raised BBQ unit between the back wall, and the railed-off water’s edge. (There’s communal access to the back of The Moorings’ various blocks by the water, though as No 1 is the very end of the terrace/blocks, privacy isn’t really an issue as no-one will be passing by.) 

After the renovations and extension, the couple put up a string of outdoor bulbs across their back garden for a house-warming party, and so like the look of them they decided to leave them up.

They’re the perfect, seasonal outdoor Christmas decoration too as we roll up to the 25th. Who’ll get to enjoy them in December 2018? 

VERDICT: a Christmas cracker.

Bailick, Midleton €360,000

Size: 166 sq m (1,780 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3 



Best Feature: Cool for Yule 

Pictures: John Finn

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