Artist Isabella Tullio, daughter of Paolo, sells Kerry cottage with oceanside views
Coomathloukane, Caherdaniel, Co Kerry. €295,000
'I'm obsessed with window shopping for houses," says Isabella Tullio, daughter of Paolo Tullio, the restaurant critic of the Irish Independent, who died in 2015. "I'm always driving around, looking in newspapers and online. I love the back stories of houses, finding out about their history and the people who lived in them.
"I spotted Coomathloukane about three weeks after our son Balthazar was born in April 2014. I was in my dad's house in Annamoe, filled with raging hormones, and I asked my mum [the artist, Susan Morley], who lives in Kerry to go and look at it for me. She went and checked it out and said we had to buy it!
"There were a couple of other people after it, because it really is a special house, but a couple of weeks later I got the call to say that we had it. It was a very impulsive decision, but it felt right."
Bella and her husband, Simon Boudard, are both artists and had been living mainly in Italy until then. But Paolo had been ill for some years and the couple felt that they wanted to spend time in Ireland to be closer to him.
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"The house had belonged to a bachelor farmer, but had not been lived in for about 10 years," says Bella. "We moved down to Kerry and worked on it for a year, basically gutting it, insulating it and decorating the interior before we moved in."
The two-bedroom cottage faces south and occupies an elevated site of nearly four acres with views over Derrynane harbour, the Scariff islands, Kenmare Bay, Lambshead, the Beara peninsula, the Bull, Cow and Calf islands, and the surrounding mountains and countryside.
While they lived here, Bella and Simon moored a fishing boat at Bunavalla, a five-minute drive away, and used it to sail around to Derrynane, where there is a Blue Flag beach.
The ground floor is stylish and open plan, with an exposed natural stone wall, painted timber panelling, wooden ceiling with original beams and wood-burning stove set into the original hearth. There is a separate study, a country-style kitchen and a downstairs loo. Upstairs are two double bedrooms and a family bathroom.
Sadly, Paolo died without having seen the finished house.
Bella and Simon went on to spend three years living in Kerry, during which time their second son, Oberon, was born.
"Balthazar basically grew up on the beach on the edge of the world," says Bella. "It really is the most extraordinary part of the world, and we met the most wonderful people there."
Now, though, the couple, who are expecting their third child, a daughter due in February next year, have decided that they are going to base themselves at their house in Tuscany, half an hour from Florence, for the foreseeable future.
"Our family is growing and we would have had to extend Coomathloukane if it was going to be big enough for us," says Bella. "We don't want to be landlords and rather than neglect Coomathloukane and feel guilty about it, for it to be a burden, we have decided to live in Italy, and invest the proceeds of the sale in ongoing projects such as landscaping and installing a swimming pool, and to take lovely holidays with my mum in Kerry.
"That way we will get the best of both worlds. We put our hearts and soul into the house and it's hard to let it go, but it feels as if we are doing the right thing."
Bella and Simon had thought that they might develop the outbuildings and original famine cottage at Coomathloukane as an artists' retreat, and it will be open to new owners to do just that.
"For someone creative, anyone involved in art or writing or photography, Coomathloukane is paradise," says Bella. "The only noise is from the birds and the waves crashing on the beach at Cuas an Ghabhair [Goat's Cove] below. When the tide is out, it's essentially our private beach."
Era: Early 1900s
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Daly (064) 664 1213
Viewing: By appointment