Swanky stone-built extravaganza in Offaly has a grade 'A' fit-outs and jacuzzi
Stone-built extravaganza in Offaly has a grade 'A' fit-out
While we Irish have punched above our weight this week in the European football stakes, we're slacking badly against our neighbours when it comes to furnishing our homes.
An EU wide survey shows that we come just 15th of 25 countries in what we spend kitting out our homes - one place ahead of Greece. The Germans emerged as the biggest investors in their home's interiors, spending €38bn in a year.
As a nation, we love our homes but even wealthier Irish city-based home owners who acquire abodes worth millions are reluctant to splash out on exceptional fit-outs compared with those in Berlin, London, Paris et al, who insist on the best. While an Irish home with a grade 'A' fit-out is rare enough in Dublin, Cork or Galway, in our rurals they're down to hen's teeth - that's why Matilda House at Kilnagarna in Ballinahown, Co Offaly is more than a little bit different.
This house was constructed in 2007/2008 by the previous owner, a successful businessman who kitted it out with the best of everything before the crash had fully taken hold. It is entirely constructed in cut-stone and random rubble - a skilled and expensive process that harks back to the days when we built our homes using field and river stones of different shapes. At 5,000 sq ft, it's almost five times the size of the modern semi-d. And while its external composition and frontage of jutting gables also echoes a classic 19th century style of rural dwelling. But the fit is 21st century top drawer.
Walnut floors, suspended fire, a home gym and games room with surround sound that spans the whole length of the house, a huge dressing room and an ensuite with a step-up spa bath off an extra large master bedroom suite. A handmade kitchen has two of everything - island units, American style fridges and ovens. There's underfloor heating and an internal vacuum system. There's the eco credentials - a geo thermal heating system, a heat recovery system and levels of insulation that give this property a high B2 BER. There's a detached two-storey garage and the property is entered - like an old country estate house - via a huge set of wrought iron gates which leads to a winding driveway. The accommodation includes an arresting entrance hall with walnut flooring and an unusual hand carved and multi-angled ornate timber staircase.
There's a sitting room, also with a walnut floor, and a marble fireplace and central chandelier, as well as a kitchen with Neff units and a dining area. There's the living room with its porcelain tile floor, open gas fire and three tear drop chandeliers leading via double doors to the patio.
There's a study, the games room has a bar, all five bedrooms have ensuites and the master chamber has a double walk-in wardrobe and ensuite with eight-jet Jacuzzi.
On top of this, there's a home office, a laundry room, an ironing room and two utility rooms.
The grounds span two acres and include an ornate water feature. Matilda House is thus named because one half of the couple who have owned it since 2012 is Australian - it's being brought to market because the family are relocating there. It's located 20km from Tullamore and Athlone, and handy for the N6. The owner commutes to west Dublin daily within an hour. Not such a merry waltz for an early riser.
Kilnagarna, Ballinahown, Co Offaly
Asking price: €730,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Lewis Hamill (057) 9320862