Former tennis court serves up a treat on Model Farm Road

Tommy Barker says this example of contemporary design, at just 10 years old, benefits from a mature setting on Model Farm Road.

NOT only is there good space and floor area at this contemporary build called Dunmore House, there’s also considerable volume — you get cubic feet aplenty, as well as square feet, for your money.

Listed in winter months, but still super-bright internally thanks to acres of glazing and a south-west aspect, as a new sale offer with a €825,000 price tag is Cork’s suburban Dunmore House. It’s in the Hilton setting off the Model Farm Road, and named in honour of one of the owners’ birthplace, Dunmore in north Galway.

It’s only about 10 years old, and in its mature setting on a site of 0.3 of an acre seems to have been bedded down, and settled in, for far longer than a decade.

The truth is, this one-off was built in treasured c 0.85 acre of garden grounds of an older house within Hilton, called Glengara, and for decades the grounds were planted up, landscaped, and enhanced, and included a tennis court for daughters.

Where the tennis court once held sway is now where Dunmore House does service, and comfortably holds its ground. It’s testament to the luck its owners had 38 years ago, when they managed to get what was, in effect, a double site at the back of Hilton, one with dual road access also, with a second gate (little used) from this property onto the Carrigrohane/Killumney road.

They reared a family in Hilton’s Glengara, and later downsized, building afresh, taking advantage of the tennis court’s setting. They put Glengara up for sale in 2008, and ‘jumped the net’ to this fresh ‘new’ home.

To their credit, the design for their new home made sure each property, Glengara and this Dunmore House, retained privacy, neither imposes on the other, and that’s down to things like window placement, and deciding to go for a very low mono-pitch membrane roof on this property so as not to impinge on their former home.

The couple,with adult daughters, had a clear vision of what they wanted to trade down to, but the design is as readily adaptable to a family of almost any age, traders up and traders down alike, as well as to relocaters.

They did up quite the detailed brief themselves, and used the services of architect Stephen Doyle of Dennehy & Dennehy to map out their vision, with builders the O’Regans of Goleen Construction charged with its delivery.

The result is seen here, still looking fresh and modern 10 years on, a good fit on its green-ed in grounds. It was block built on a 12’ raft foundation, with underfloor heating at ground level, and has a double layer of insulation in the walls, some of which are cedar clad, there’s a zinc-finished projection over the main entrance, and, internally some feature, double height spaces set it apart visually, and distinctly.

All of the principal glazing (done by Senator windows, in white-framed pvc) is to the south and west, overlookng a paved patio and al fresco dining area, while the main living room is, effectively, a double height cube. The airy reception feeds into a dining section, and on towards the kitchen and which is very much this house’s core, done by German company Leicht, sourced through Keatings, with a mix of white laquered doors and oak veneer, topped with beveled brown granite.

Two doors lead off, either side of the kitchen and into a double-height hall, with a feature oak-tread staircase on concrete skeleton frame, flanked by glass balusters: it’s a huge glazing section flooded with light, with side walls ideal for placing sizeable paintings, prints or other art works.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms, two of them en suite, plus a main family bathroom, and all WCs are tiled to the same high standard, floor to ceiling, with good sanitary ware.

The couple’s original plan (thinking downsizing/mobility/easy accessibility, etc) was to have their own, en suite, master bedroom down at ground level, and this was indeed provided. But, when they realised just how nice one of the first floor rooms was, with access to a large elevated balcony/patio with far-reaching southerly views, they swiftly changed their minds.... and commandeered it instead.

As a result, what was to have been the main, downstairs bedroom they switched to use as second, sanctuary-like reception, and it has a fascinating mix of glazing shapes, with a large corner window, a narrower, tall one, and a high-up clerestory window as well towards the back boundary.

Clerestory (ie, just under ceiling height) windows feature in several other sections of this house as well, and are an ideal compromise for allowing light in, whilst still keeping veils of privacy. In fact, it says something about the private nature of Dunmore House’s own siting that the entire house is practically devoid of voiles, curtains or blinds, the occupants just don’t feel the need for them.

Also embraced was ‘toasty toes’ underfloor heating, under marble tiling for the most part in the main open plan living/dining/kitchen, where there’s also a plain, white granite fireplace, sourced from Prestige Fireplaces, with a flickering gas insert, though occupants find little or no need for heating much of the time due to the passive solar gain from all the glass in the south-west corner.

This stand-out room has at its centre, on high, a cascading, 25-

light contemporary crystal chandelier, and keeps faith with this house’s decorative blend of old and new, where ‘good’ furniture and inherited furniture migrated into a modern build, mixing in easy company with contemporary items and finishes. Similarly, the house was wired for surround sound, but the couple decided it wasn’t really for them, so didn’t install the hardware to go with. It’s there for the next owner to connect into, though, and in a similar vein was the way they wired up for an alarm, but never got around to fitting one... seeing as the family dog joined them when they came in from ‘next door’, they reckoned a dog’s bark is as much of a deterrent as an alarm siren?

Listed with Sheila O’Flynn and Norma Healy of Sherry FitzGerald, Dunmore House comes into a very interesting and fluid market in the Cork’s western suburbs. Its setting, and privacy at the back of Hilton gives it value in any case, and there’s not a lot of modern builds in this neck of the wood.

Hilton has been popular with medics, for decades, given its easy access for consultants who have to be within a short distance of ‘local’ hospitals — CUH and Bon Secours.

A new home scheme, Rosefield on the old Nangles nurseries land on Model Farm Road launched last month, with 2,300/2,400 sq ft detacheds selling at €750,000/775,000, as well as 1,800 sq ft semi-ds at €535,000.

And, just a bit off the Model Farm Road and beyond Dunmore House’s back entrance, O’Flynn Construction are on site at Steeplewoods, where 1,850 sq ft detacheds are priced from €620,000, with options right up to 2,880 sq ft at €820,000, and with some other large detacheds just under the €800k mark (a smart showhouse has been going down well since Steeplewoods launched last month.) Sales in 1970s-era Hilton itself hovered in the mid €500,000 in the past decades, though there was one 2011 sale for €1.57 million, called Tanglewood.

And, last year one Hilton home, Armidale, came back to market after selling in a 2014 for €590,000. Armidale was on a half acre site, had c 2,500 sq ft and was remodelled from top to toe by its 2014 buyers who put it back for sale with a €825,000 asking price. The Price Register by April of ‘17 shows Armidale as having made €975,000.

VERDICT: Open viewing today 2-2.30pm

Dunmore House, Model Farm Road, Cork

€825,000

Size: 224 sq m (2,500 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3/4

Bathrooms: 4

BER: C1

Get the look

Some great ideas for you to use in your home and where to get them:

1. Let the sun shine in. Dunmore House has its main living area flooding in light, from south and west, thanks to a double-height corner section of glazing. Also double-height is a hall/stairs/landing, with narrower tall window glimpsed half way down the part-timber clad southern facade. Design was by architect Stephen Doyle of Dennehy & Dennehy.

2. Same room, only inside view. Note the clerestory window under the roofline for extra’ lift’, while the contemporary cascading chandelier was a good choice to put centre of the room, which has a 17’ floor-to-ceiling internal height.

3. The dining area is between the double-height living section, and the kitchen, with units by Leicht, sourced from Keatings Fitted Furniture.

4. Even though this house is only a decade old, the existence of mature boundaries and landscaping from its former use, in tennis court days, really beds this ‘new’ arrival down in its Hilton heartland.

5. Open and airy stairwells are ideal for displaying art: one’s own private gallery.

6. White stone fireplace was sourced from Prestige Fireplaces, designed by Gavin Scott.

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