Green gem set to sparkle

Architecturally designed property in pristine condition has everything one could desire

Ballinacourty, West Waterford  - €795,000

Size: Sq m 369 (4,000 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 6
BER: B3

After it was built, the sustainable credentials of this Dungarvan property attracted national attention when it featured on the RTÉ About the House programme.

Back in 2005, houses which would have qualified for a B3 BER rating were quite rare as also was the geo thermal heating system fitted by its owners, a couple who returned from Washington to build their dream family home at Ballinacourty, around five kilometres from the town centre happily ensconced at Bethany, a 4,000 sq ft property with an acre-and-a-half of land and scenic views of the Comeragh Mountains, the couple told the About the House presenter that it was E Project architects who sold them on the idea of green principles and sustainability.

“The main principle was that it would be south facing with large windows to the south and smaller windows to the north so that sunlight and heat are trapped inside and can’t escape,” explained the woman about the house.

Her other half revealed that in addition to incorporating passive solar design principals and installing geothermal heating (which would take between five and seven years to pay for itself) the architect also used a high level of insulation.

The owners had started out by giving their architect, Sabine Wittman from Germany, all the magazine cuttings of design features they had been saving and asking her for open plan living, lots of light, lots of glass and an integral garage/workshop.

She gave them all they wanted adding in sustainability for good measure.

“We got reclaimed pitch pine beams for the living room and a huge mantle for the fireplace from a guy who dismantles old barns in the UK – they are weathered and old and make a good contrast with the more modern features,’’ reveals the man about the house, a carpenter who did a lot of the work on the interior himself.

This included building a very modern, slightly futuristic looking curved bar counter from oak and brushed stainless steel.

“The company I worked for in the US built statement pieces of furniture for offices — this was my ‘ come in and have a drink’ piece of furniture and we have put it to good use over the years.’’

Other highly modern features include a stylish Italian high-gloss kitchen with quartz counter tops and splashbacks as well as an island unit. The double glazed windows are pitch pine and were imported from Germany.

The elongated stone fronted property has three identifiable sections — a living area in the centre, a family bedroom wing on one side and a guest bedroom wing on the other.

The central living area is a huge open plan space with a double height ceiling, rooflights and a full height front window.

Behind the large front window is a dining area with a bar counter; to the rear there’s a contemporary kitchen and at the side a living area with a full height Liscannor stone chimney breast and raised stove.

Alongside the living room is a library/family room with a wall-mounted gas fire and there’s also a guest WC and a cloakroom.

The left hand wing of the property has a double garage/workshop at the front, a utility room and three en suite bedrooms including one extra large one with a walk in wardrobe. The guest wing on the left side has two additional en suite bedrooms.

Planning regulations required the owners to build a single-storey property and also to set it back 50 metres from the road, which gives it privacy.

To the front there’s a gravel driveway and a long garden and to the rear a large redbrick patio and more lawn. Previously on the market with a guide of €880,000, Bethany is new to the books of Sherry FitzGerald Reynolds this year with a reduced asking price to €795,000.

Auctioneer David Reynolds says that as an architecturally designed property in pristine condition, Bethany has other strong selling points besides its energy rating.

“It’s in one of the premier addresses in West Waterford, directly opposite the Gold Coast golf course, in close proximity to the newly opened and highly
acclaimed Waterford Greenway.

The owners say they still love their large energy efficient home but now need to downsize to something smaller.

Verdict: The energy rating should make it cosy for such a large property

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