Saturday 20 January 2018

Converted cottage all set for the good life

Stoneridge cottage Rineen, Skibbereen, West Cork €280,000

Gina Meehan relaxes in Stoneridge Cottage, Rineen, Co Cork Photo: Tony Gavin
Gina Meehan relaxes in Stoneridge Cottage, Rineen, Co Cork Photo: Tony Gavin
The exterior of Stoneridge Cottage Photo: Tony Gavin
The kitchen of Stoneridge Cottage Photo: Tony Gavin

Caroline Allen

What I love about living here is that I can stand at the half door in my kitchen and look out onto the tops of the trees in Rineen Woods and walk 150 yards to the water," remarks Gina Meehan of her West Cork home, Stoneridge Cottage.

It was the sublime setting - the coast road between Union Hall and Castletownshend, close to the market town of Skibbereen - that convinced her back in 2009 to relocate to the small farmhouse that had been extended. A Dubliner and a keen sailor, she had already been won over by the charms of Cork, having lived in Crosshaven for 18 years.

As an interior designer, Gina knew the difference that extending and reconfiguring could make, not to mention injecting some of her signature styling. "I set out to do all the work sympathetically, in keeping with the original house," says Gina.

"It was a two-up, two-down, the front of which faces south. Set on an acre, it was built around 1905. The previous owners extended the ground floor to add a master bedroom, bathroom, sitting room and sunroom."

She almost doubled the floor space to approximately 158sqm by building a new kitchen which links the loft to the original house. The loft was converted into a large living space with a mezzanine and tiled wet room.

"It's plumbed so that if the new owner wanted to add a small kitchen, the area would be self-contained."

Visitors love the quirkiness of the different levels of the house. Gina remarks: "The house kind of wraps itself around you with its cosy, welcoming and warm interior. I don't want to leave myself but my children are in their mid-20s and the house is too big for me. I'm also looking for another project."

There are three bedrooms, with the option to incorporate another sleep space or study in the mezzanine. Central heating is run by an oil-fired range with natural stone surround.

There is also a stainless-steel gas range in the kitchen, where an exposed stone wall catches the eye. The kitchen cabinetry is handmade and painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint. The butler sink, limewashed effect flooring and wooden double-glazed sash windows are among the inviting features.

Wood-burning stoves add atmosphere to the sitting room and loft and there are characterful touches throughout, such as the cottage latch doors and the typical West Cork cottage-style staircase.

The sunroom, with built-in bookcases, extends from the sitting room and overlooks the southwest-facing garden.

"I kept the decor fairly neutral with accents to add interest. It's very homely and it's also very spacious - it has accommodated five of us comfortably," says Gina.

The house, she says, would be ideal for a family with older children. There are national schools in Union Hall and Castletownshend and a secondary school in Skibbereen. But it would also work as a holiday home.

"We are on the Wild Atlantic Way, five minutes' drive from Skibbereen, which has all amenities, 15 minutes' drive from Baltimore, and 75 minutes from Cork airport and city."

The two-storey 46sqm shed in the well-planted and totally private grounds could be used as a workshop and for storage and there's a pond in the garden.

Anyone looking to move for a better quality of life will find a lot to like here from diving to whale watching. "There are about seven beaches within a five to 10 minutes' drive and lots of colourful little villages," Gina says.

Closing that quaint half-door on a house that is far from run of the mill will be indeed a wrench. "However, I won't be moving far - this is probably one of the most beautiful sailing areas in Europe. I also love the whole ethos of West Cork - it's creative, cosmopolitan and bohemian vibe," reflects Gina.

Era: 1905

Size: 158sqm

Agent: Pat Maguire Properties (028) 22822

Viewing: By appointment

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