Fruitlawn is a real peach


Abbeyleix: €1.4mA well converted 18th century home offers a country idyll, says Rose Doyle

Fruitlawn House, just 3km from Abbeyleix, is in an idyllic countryside setting that people dream of, with its age and beauty, lushly fruitful gardens, polished floors, a tiled and Aga-warmed kitchen, and an old coach house across a cobbled yard. A pedigree too; it was built in the mid-1700s.

Six years ago it had the good fortune to become home to Gary and Michi Owens, who truly appreciated its unique qualities and who've devoted themselves to refurbishment. They have created an efficient 21st century home without compromising its origins.

The evidence of care and appreciation is seen even before you go indoors. Through the centre of the kitchen gardens, which gave Fruitlawn House its name, there's a walk-way of apple trees in variety and, along a stone wall, a 40ft long glass peach house which grows peaches, apricots, pears and even figs.

Fruitlawn House is on about an acre of land, fronted by 5ft stone walls and granite pillars which lead to a curved avenue and the main entrance. There are seven bedrooms and three reception rooms over three floors and a floor area of some 418sq m (4,500sq ft).

An old coach house to the rear of the house, across a large courtyard, has been fitted for garden storage and has a workroom, mezzanine and turf storing area.

Fruitlawn House is for sale through Hume Auctioneers which will auction it on 9th November with an AMV of €1.4m.

The 40 or so multi-paned, sash windows are a major feature in Fruitlawn House with at least two in each room, many with their original glass.

Proportions and layout are very much as intended, with reception and inner hallways on the ground floor, stairs which wind and divide and even a light, airy boot room for baskets, cloaks, boots and dogs.

The entrance hall, floored in Portland stone, catches a mood that carries through to the library/dining room where a timber-with-stone fireplace is a Georgian replacement of the original.

There are fireplaces in most rooms and all of them function. Colours throughout are either neutral or blues, greens and pinks, all carefully picking up on one another.

The tile-floor kitchen, which has an Aga, is off the inner hallway, along with a study. As back-up to the kitchen there's a scullery/utility and a restored larder.

The main, en suite front-facing bedroom is on the first floor, together with a second bedroom and third in use as a study.

The second, attractively rambling floor has a split landing and half-staircases to the four bedrooms. The landing here is large enough to be used as a reading area.

The owners have installed thermal heating which, maintained on a low, constant temperature suitable for older houses, has proven both effective and cost-efficient.