Kin­sale still has the wow fac­tor

Is blown away by this spec­tac­u­larly set, ar­chi­tect-de­signed, no-ex­pense spared home

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Cover Story - Pic­tures:

C. ORK peo­ple some­times tend to take Kin­sale for granted, with fa­mil­iar­ity breed­ing a sort of pas­sive or even a be­grud­ing con­tent.

But, if you visit for the first time, or re­visit af­ter years’ of ab­sence, it can blow you away.

The his­toric town’s quaint, yet bang up to date, and in­ter­na­tional in its out­look and at­trac­tions. The har­bour set­ting and views are en­thralling too, with a few se­lect, high-up amphitheatre-like sites and set­tings, from which to be­hold the nat­u­ral beauty and ev­erychang­ing wa­ter ac­tiv­ity.

Then, add in the mari­nas, the restau­rants and bars, shops, cafes and book­shops, the beaches and the wild­ness and ca­chet of the Old Head Golf Club, and re­ally, Kin­sale can be quite the show-stop­per.

That ‘blown away’ re­sponse is what hap­pened to the cou­ple who built this spec­tac­u­larly-set, ar­chi­tec­turally-de­signed and clearly no­ex­pense spared, one-off fam­ily hol­i­day home called Co­rafinne, in one of Kin­sale’s most at­mo­spheric set­tings, in any case.

One of uber-con­tem­po­rary and high-tech Co­rafinne’s own­ers is Cork born, but has been liv­ing and work­ing abroad for decades. He re­calls be­ing in his UK of­fice back in 2004 “when a friend of mine popped in to ask me if I would like to join him and a cou­ple of guys in a trip to Old Head and play golf. I was puz­zled and asked him Old Head where? And he re­sponded the ‘Old Head of Kin­sale’

“All I re­mem­ber as a child of the Old Head is the cliffs, the fields and cows, and of course Gar­rettstown strand. I agreed to go, as it was just a quick hop to Cork and a 30-minute drive to Old Head.

“Well, I was amazed how a spec­tac­u­lar course could ex­ist in such an ex­posed lo­ca­tion. We stayed in Kin­sale and had a won­der­ful time. That trip evoked lots of very fond mem­o­ries of the place in times gone by. I was con­vinced one day we would buy a house in Kin­sale and re­tire to there and I would join Old Head Golf Links,” he says of the mo­ment when a plan started to fall into place.

Shortly af­ter­wards, his wife vis­ited Kin­sale with her sis­ters, and was equally smit­ten. By 2009, with hope­sof semi-re­tire­ment, they went on a prop­erty/site hunt, with lo­cally-based es­tate agent Ron Kruger of En­gle & Volk­ers help­ing in the search.

He linked them to a pre­cious 0.3 acre site he was sell­ing at Scilly Hill, be­low the Spa­niard bar, in a sub­lime set­ting, which al­ready had plan­ning in place for the glo­ri­ous, high-end and drink-inthe-views house dis­played here, and they were smit­ten all over again.

It all started to fall all the more into place, and into their laps.

They bought in 2011, and started on site in 2012, with ac­claimed de­signer Pat O’sul­li­van of Kiosk Ar­chi­tects com­ing on board as project mangers to de­liver their ini­tial vi­sion. Con­trac­tors Rose Con­struc­tion did the pre­cise and chal­leng­ing work and fit-out, all to the high­est stan­dards, on a slop­ing, walled-in site which had been part of the grounds of a pe­riod home above on the Scilly-ard­brack road. (Kiosk Ar­chi­tects and Rose Con­struc­tion have be­come al­most a fa­mil­iar pair­ing in the past decade across Cork and be­yond, with many spec­tac­u­lar builds to their joint cred­its.)

“We had loved the modern de­sign by the ar­chi­tects and af­ter a num­ber of tweaks, to suit our needs, in 2012 we started build­ing. We were liv­ing in Lon­don still and could only make it over once a month. The build — al­though com­pli­cated given the lo­ca­tion — went very well. We went for a fixed price con­tract, and af­ter 14 months in Fe­bru­ary 2014 we re­ceived the keys....two months early!” the own­ers re­count.

Kiosk’s de­sign ap­proach was to re­tain the ex­ist­ing stone wall bound­ary wend­ing through the heart of Scilly, and to tuck the house be­hind it, in a way that re­acted to the slop­ing pro­file of the site, with ac­cess points top and bot­tom, while tak­ing max­i­mum ad­van­tage of the site’s coastal lo­ca­tion and its panoramic views across Kin­sale har­bour.

The vista spans the Scilly Walk and Ard­brack to the left, right out to Sum­mer­cove and Charles Fort; the mid view is over to St James Fort at Castlepark, and to the right are stacked views of Kin­sale town, Com­pass Hill, the River Ban­don es­tu­ary, pier and mari­nas, and a mul­ti­tude of masts. As well as wa­ter, wa­ter ev­ery­where.

Co­rafinne’s build cost, and its site cost, aren’t com­mented upon, but it’s likely the site sold for be­tween €750,0000 and €1m back in 2013, and the 3,000 sq ft build and fin­ish to this sort of level, plus the land­scap­ing, would surely have far sur­passed that again.

Since its 2014 com­ple­tion, it has been used and savoured by the fam­ily, more than liv­ing up to their hopes for it, and has been su­perbly main­tained in the few years since, both in their pres­ence and ab­sence.

“We ab­so­lutely love Co­rafinne and still get ex­cited ev­ery time we ar­rive. Its po­si­tion in the har­bour and the stun­ning views — no mat­ter the weather — draw us in and we never want to leave,” they en­thuse.

But, then they ex­plain “our in­ten­tion was to set­tle in Kin­sale and live there full time, or at the least nine months of the year. We have de­cided to sell since our time in Kin­sale is more lim­ited than we orig­i­nally en­vis­aged: and, new busi­ness ven­tures mean that this will be case for some time in the fu­ture.”

So, Co­rafinne is up for sale, go­ing on the open and very much in­ter­na­tional­mar­ket­thisweek­end with Ron Kruger of En­gel & Volk­ers in Kin­sale.

Hav­ing sold the site with draw­ings, and see­ing it all come ex­actly to fruition, he says “it’s ev­ery­thing it had the prom­ise to be, it’s ex­quis­ite and def­i­nitely one of the best prop­er­ties in Kin­sale.”

The neigh­bour­hood into which it was seem­ingly seam­lessly in­sin­u­ated is pretty aloof and ex­clu­sive: the Price Register shows eight prop­er­ties in the lofty Ard­brack sec­tion fring­ing Kin­sale har­bour’s sweep out to sea mak­ing in ex­cess of €1m since 2010, and one, Fast­net House sold in 2013 for over €3m, on sev­eral acres.

Since then, there’s been a few more homes built to sim­i­lar stan­dards as Fast­net, but more likely on lesser grounds, and some houses have sold for close to €1m, only to be knocked for site value, con­tin­u­ing a trend on­go­ing in Ard­brack since the 1980s.

Right now, the hill­side at Ard­brack is part sight­see­ing

Co­rafinne, Scilly, Kin­sale, Co Cork Price: €2.75m Size: 282 sq m (3,035 sq m) (0.3 acre) Bed­rooms: 4 Bath­rooms: 5 BER: Pend­ing Best fea­ture: Wow!

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