Visual delight at Gurteenroe

CRAFTMANSHIP came to the fore in this west Cork home – a retreat, really.

Built about five years ago, with comfort and energy efficiency in mind, this Gurteenroe home is on three rugged acres, with pond and curving decking, has productive gardens and beds, and there’s even an option for a further 25 acres or so of land for those looking for a little or large slice of the good life.

This 2,500 sq ft property mix became home to talented, and enterprising, builder Colin Fletcher and his gardener wife Jane after a dedicated research and building process.

They came to Ballydehob, in west Cork, in the early 1980s, and built their first house there. Later, they sold, bought and renovated a farmhouse and milked cattle, and later sold most of the farm, and built anew.

Now, they reckon it is time to move back to the UK, and Jane is keen to build there all over again.

Thus, the part reluctant sale of this peaceful, tranquil spot, via agent Stephen O’Keeffe of James Lyons O’Keeffe auctioneers in nearby coastal Schull, who seeks offers around €600,000 on three acres, with further land negotiable.

He says: “The gardens are, as are all Fletcher-designed gardens, a delight, and, the pond to the south of the house has a resident family of duck which can be studied from the surrounding wooden deck.”

Colin also says they see eels, herons, otter and water voles among other wildlife in this created, but naturally-fed, pond.

Apart from a separate guest cottage, the main house has three bedrooms, various family bolt holes, a fine kitchen with units in locally-sourced pale sycamore, a bathroom with elegant timber bath surround and wall-hung sanitary ware, three ground floor reception rooms, plus a first floor sitting room.

It is timber-framed, built along Austrian principles with double insulation (rockwool in the cavity, as well as insulated plasterboard,) has an ‘intelligent’ breathable membrane, yet high levels of air tightness with Swedish vent panels, and there’s a very efficient heat pump for the geothermal heating, pumping a gas mixture through piping and running on night rate electricity.

Colin Fletcher reckons they get 12 units of heat for the price of one, as a result, and the house has a B1 BER energy rating.

There’s also a large garage/workshop helping to form a small courtyard to the back of the house, plus a guest annexe with balcony bed (pull-down stair access) with a shower/WC, and kitchen/living space.

It’s a great, private mix – another string to Fletcher’s bow.


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