A3-rated family home home comes with panoramic sea views (and a revolving bed)
'I love glass boxes," says the current owner of Innisfree, who was born and raised in Ballycotton, "so, when I found the site, I knew that I wanted to build a house that was all steel, glass and concrete. It's got a steel frame, polished concrete floors, and lots of glass."
Glass boxes and light-up stairs - the uplit contemporary treads change colour with the flick of a switch - with bright green and blue being the most popular hues.
The vendor, who is a designer and has his own construction company, worked with a planning consultant to secure permission for the contemporary house, which was completed in 2016.
The ultra-modern, energy-efficient, A3-rated family home has 2,300 sq ft of living space, with hill-mounted views over Ballycotton Bay and Garryvoe.
The elevated half-acre site is tiered, with sloping gardens and terraces positioned to make the most of the views and the sun; one has an outdoor hot tub/Jacuzzi heated by low-cost infra-red tubes. The planting has matured nicely and there is plenty of off-street parking, located behind electric gates.
As well as the quality of the design, intended to maximise natural light throughout the day, other priorities were that Innisfree, which sits nicely into the cliff and is visually unobtrusive, be low-maintenance, cost-efficient to run and make use of modern technology wherever possible.
There's 100mm of external insulation, covered with acrylic plasterwork that just needs to be hosed down once a year rather than repainted, and the triple-glazed aluminium windows and doors have structural silicone joints. The heating system is an air to water 8 kw low-temperature heat pump, with underfloor heating downstairs and a 2 kw fan convector heating system upstairs, and the house is fitted with a heat-recovery ventilation system.
There's also a home automation system which controls lighting, audio and visual, Wi-Fi, window blinds, CCTV and the revolving bed in master bedroom. (Yes, you read that right.) Innisfree is connected to mains sewerage and has its own private well, and the water supply is fitted with a water softener and ultra-violet water purifier.
Internally, there is an easy flow of space geared towards entertaining. The hallway leads to an open-plan glazed kitchen/dining/living area with three-metre high windows and sliding doors to a south-facing terrace.
The kitchen is as high-spec and high-tech as the rest of the house - as one might expect. It is fitted with a dishwasher, induction hob, retractable downdraft extractor, three ovens, an electric coffee machine, and pop-up countertop sockets, and the living area is kept cosy during the winter months with an efficient Stovax solid fuel stove.
There are three double bedrooms; two on the ground floor level and the main bedroom on the first floor, accessed via steel stairs with walnut treads. There is a luxurious ensuite, and panoramic coastal views, best appreciated, no doubt, from that revolving bed. Innisfree also has a family bathroom and a store-room plumbed for a washing machine.
Ballycotton was named one of 'Europe's Secret Villages' by National Geographic magazine, and it is certainly one of East Cork's most charming. The cliff walk is notably scenic and fishing for mackerel off the village pier is popular. There's a primary school and shop, and a good choice of bars and restaurants. East Cork is, of course, a hotspot for those interested in food.
Pier 26 in Ballycotton is known for its seafood and is one of the participants in the upcoming Feast Cork food festival, which runs from September 2 to 9, during which chef Colin Hennessy will be putting on a special dinner in the old Protestant church. Other highlights include long table dinners, chef collaborations (the celebrated Takashi Miyazaki is coming over from Cork City for one), and a street market with more than 40 stallholders. (feastcork.ie). The Blackbird, also in Ballycotton, has a reputation as a good pub for music and serves excellent fish and chips. The current owner of Innisfree also recommends the Schooner bar and McGrath's.
Ballymaloe House and Cookery School, where the Allen family continues on the fine work of the late Myrtle Allen, is a short drive away.
Also nearby, Midleton is home to Kevin Aherne's Sage, which sources all of its ingredients from within a 12-mile radius of the restaurant, and the Farmgate, with its seductive selection of cakes. Midleton is also the location of the nearest secondary schools including the fee-paying Midleton College.
After two years living at Innisfree, the current owner is itching to get started on a new project and has his eye on another site in the area where he hopes to build another eco-friendly home.
The bug, he says, has well and truly bitten.
Innisfree Church Road, Ballycotton, Midleton, Co Cork
Asking price: €850,000
Agent: Hegarty Properties (021) 463 9411