Almost heaven in one-off Virginia (Cavan) woodhouse for €475k

Douglas fir-clad house plus two studios set on six acres of woodland in an idyllic setting

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Address: Redwood House Eighter Virginia Co Cavan
Price: €475,000
Agent: By Owner

"I knew when I saw the site here I wanted to do something really special," says former town planner Paul Smyth, of the six acres of woodland that surround his timber-frame home.

"It reminded me of the lines from the [John Denver] song [Country Roads, Take Me Home] Almost heaven West Virginia – I had no idea what type of house I wanted initially, but built this to sit into the trees and take advantage of the aspect."

Inspiration for the property came from the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales – an educational institution which demonstrates practical solutions for sustainability.

Based on the ‘Breathing Wall’ concept, the Douglas fir-clad house is remarkably warm and has a BER rating of B3 – a high level considering it was constructed in 2001 and has a large stove in the living room.


The house, extending to 255sq m (2,745sq ft) and set over three floors has an air of calmness about it – Smyth took a different direction in life and retrained as a Chinese Medicine practitioner, operating his acupuncture business from one of the studios in the garden.

The two studios which give a further 75sq m (807sq ft) have the same finish as the main house, and the larger of the two was used until recently by his late wife, artist Anya Fitschen, whose work is celebrated on the walls of the Wedgewood Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The gardens surrounding the four-bed property – with a large space on the upper floor which could work as a further studio – have an acre of landscaped grounds, a kitchen garden and the remaining five acres are deciduous woodlands. Smyth planted a further 500 trees ensuring the fate of the wildlife on the grounds.

While the property would make a lovely family home, it would also work as a health-related centre because of the two studios and gardens.

The property was on the market two years ago with a local agent, priced at €625,000. Smyth has now decided to sell the property himself and is now asking €475,000.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables