Property at race-inspired paddocks is way out in front

Inside and out, the Paddocks is a winning family home, says Tommy Barker.

THERE’s no flash or bling with this plush and premium Paddocks offering. Rather, at No 17 The Paddocks there’s the feel of quality and the evidence of careful spending and specifying, from the inside to the outside.

When The Paddocks — which is off Cork’s Maryborough Hill in Douglas — was launched back in the early 1990s, it created a stir, and its several representative show houses practically had their carpeted steps worn out by dint of heavy foot-traffic from the curious, the envious and the upwardly mobile.

And, prices for the bigger of the new houses at €120,000 and more were considered to be almost a scandal. Time has moved on, top-notch show-house openings have come and gone, and even the original selling agents Hamilton Osborne King have gone through several incarnations and strategic brand alliances, most recently trading as Savills. Savills are stepping up to the mark once more this month in the €1.6 million sale of No 17, the Paddocks. Now, 2009 viewings will be more discretely low-key, and will in all probability include a few who wished they’d bought way back then in this edge-of-Douglas location, a short walk to the “village” centre. The size and special features of No 17 may even get a trader-up from within this well-placed Douglas development.

The Paddocks was designed by Roderick Hogan Architects for the Horgan family, known for their livestock interests as well as some inspired racehorse victories, hence the sporting name on this Douglas development.

It seems the original owners of No 17 got an early site choice, they’ve a big long, wending and green-screened garden with a southerly aspect to the house’s rear, and it is a spot graced by two garden sheds, high retaining wall by the road and a water lily-bedecked feature pond. A personal collection of sculptures is a distinguishing feature both inside and outside in No 17, with an evident eye for good art and artists gracing the home. Taste is generally a personal thing, but at the risk of being judgmental, this place is gently-scented with good taste. In simple terms, it is a 3,300 sq ft house, with four extremely good first-floor bedrooms for family use, and with an airy top floor given over to a mix of games room (easily enough space for a small snooker table, gym equipment and table tennis table as well as musical accoutrements,) and there’s also space left over for a separate study, with high-end craftsman-fashioned built ins. There’s also loads of handy storage space up here.

Down at entry level, formal reception rooms are left and right of the main hall, with three steps up then to the house’s back half (yes, it feels that deep) where things are more relaxed in a family living sort of way. Back here, there’s a high-end kitchen in lush timbers and with Corian worktops, a family TV room, and double doors out to what’s almost two conjoined conservatories, fully glazed and set up for easy indoor/outdoor dining mix with big patio beyond. The conservatory has roof and window blinds to seal in heat, and to screen out too much sun, with a ceiling fan to keep fresh air moving, making for a year-round useful space.

The patio has a water-falling water feature and rockery-set pond, and unstinting landscaping (probably costing as much as one of the terrraced Paddocks houses did 15 years ago) means there’s a great green-screen of cover for privacy, and a scalloped lawned garden long enough to appear to have secret areas at its far end, with works of sculpture set in the dense growth.

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