A handcrafted home in Cork's Ballydehob on the market for €325k
The waterfall Boleagh, Ballydehob, Co Cork, €325,000
Faced with a choice between a two-bedroom apartment in Dublin and this lovely, eco-friendly, three-bedroom house on 1.5 acres near Ballydehob in West Cork, anyone with a hankering for a simpler life will be sorely tempted.
With 146sqm of living space, The Waterfall was designed by British architect Tom Hancock for his daughter Bella and her husband, the professional woodworker Simon Hassett, who built the house himself.
"It was," he says, "a labour of love."
Hancock, a Buddhist, died in 2006 and is best known as the architect of the Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes, constructed in 1980 at a time when the Nipponzan Myohoji order was building pagodas all over the world.
Waterfall is a Scandinavian-style, timber-frame home. The house is well-insulated, warm, bright and energy-efficient, heated by two solid fuel stoves - one that runs three radiators and a back boiler - and a smaller stove in the sitting room for extra cosiness on winter nights. There is also a solar panel for hot water.
Hassett is known for producing beautiful, bespoke, hand-made feature staircases.
He has worked for local West Cork resident Jeremy Irons at Kilcoe House and his craftsmanship also features in the private apartment of Egerton Shelswell-White at Bantry House. All the timber in The Waterfall was locally sourced, with elm, sycamore and pine flooring, elm beams and ceiling boards and a Scots pine kitchen with elm worktops.
The ambience of the house is light, warm and spacious and the construction methods and finishes are all eco-friendly. There is a large conservatory/sunroom that also serves as passive solar gain for the house. Upstairs is a large, open landing that currently serves as a study area and could be converted to a bathroom.
Outside, a large 50sqm workshop would make a fine studio or home office. The gardens feature a mix of cultivated garden, fruit trees and bushes, wild land, mature oak, ash and holly trees, along with a stream, pond and waterfall. There are raised beds and a poly-tunnel, which will appeal to those with a yen to grow their own.
The Waterfall is located about 2.4km from laid-back Ballydehob - a thriving, idyllic village located on the main road between Cork and Schull, about 16km west of Skibbereen and 16km south of Bantry. The area is populated with what agent Pat Maguire describes as "an eclectic mix of people", with plenty of blow-ins from Dublin and the UK.
The village has cafes and restaurants, including Budds, a trendy spot where the menu focuses on local produce, and The Porcelain Room, a tiny Thai restaurant. There's also a wholefood shop, two schools, a Steiner kindergarten, a holistic centre and a children's playground.
The school bus passes right outside the gates of The Waterfall, which will be particularly appealing to anyone accustomed to braving a suburban Dublin school run.
For a village with a population of around 300, Ballydehob has eight active pubs, three of which are music venues. Levis' Bar is one of the busiest. Having been run for many years by the Levis sisters, both of whom lived to over 100, it has since passed to their grand-nephew, Joseph O'Leary, who had a successful career with the alternative rock band, Fred, which broke up in 2013. Levis' Bar hosts regular music festivals over the summer months - traditional, country and western, and jazz - and is a must-visit for music fans in the area.