REPLACING a former cottage on its site, this Ballyorban, Monkstown Cork home is a bit of a surprise — it’s bigger and better than you’d ever imagine from passing by.
By Tommy Barker
Although keeping modest, cottage-like front facade proportions, it’s got a wide and welcoming entrance porch and new sash windows in price of place indicating money has been spent on the makeover. But, the place grows all the more on visiting once through the accommodation hall door. It’s pretty huge, and you can see straight the way through 60’ of internal space, to the rear sun room’s back west-facing windows.
The original cottage here on the Raffeen/Rochestown road two miles from the Rochestown Inn was demolished to make way for this 3,200 sq ft replacement, and it is probable that planning conditions dictated its understated first impression and low-pitch dormer tile roof.
Home to a building contractor and his family, it was built back in the busy times, around 2005, when anyone with a few bob was putting it into high end finishes... if not second and third house purchases.
Here, the owners spend on building right, and quality tradespeople were drafted in for this five-bed home project on a country half acre of private gardens. There’s a very good floor plan, with large airy spaces and a bit of extra height to the ceilings, about 9’, note agents Clare O’Sullivan and Catherine McAuliffe of Savills who seek €495,000 for the property, in showhouse condition. The spend started underfoot, with €20,000 worth of porcelain tiling going down on underfloor heating, and this porcelain spans the entire ground level, except for the 21’ by 17’ main living room. This front-to-back double aspect room has a raised white marble stone gas-insert fireplace as a hearth feature, with French doors to a south-facing decked space, which is also accessed off the kitchen/dining room.
Best space of all is this L-shaped kitchen/dining/family-sun room, all floored in porcelain and over 30’ in each direction or leg of the ‘L.’ The kitchen has solid oak units, in solid timber carcases, made by Cordiners of Northern Ireland, and units are topped with mix of black granite and tough teak in the island with its sunken steel sink. This teak will take a lifetime of toil. Appliances include twin Fisher and Paykel dishwashers, a wide Smeg oven plus Bosh ovens, double fridge and ceilings overhead are coved.
Also at ground level is a compact home office, utility, playroom and a fifth or guest bedroom, alongside and accessible to a guest WC with shower.
The central stairs is the scene- setter in the main hall, with lots of accessible storage underneath its core, and treads and handrail are in walnut, with white gloss spindles, all in all a quality job by Cork’s Rosewood Joinery, who also made the solid oak internal doors. Walnut is used again on the upper landing (where there’s space for a sofa,) and the four bedrooms off are floored in semi-solid maple. All the bedrooms are doubles (the 18’ by 17’ master bedroom has also got a walk-in wardrobe,) and three of the four up here have their own en suite bathrooms with showers. The main family bathroom, in a sloping ceiling space, has a double ended stand-alone bath, and unusually, the skirtings here are in tumbled stone or tile, contrasting with solid walnut floor. There also a walk-in linen store/hot-press, shelved, with eaves storage access as a bonus.
Other high-end features include central vacuum, there’s a pressurised water system, high-end pvc sash windows from Leo West, and the sun-trap rear paved patio overlooks a raised and safe lawn and play area.
VERDICT: as Savills’ Clare O’Sullivan says, turning a key in the hall door will be the sum of your efforts to move in.
Expecting the unexpected is par for the course for the members of ITSA Theatre Company, which is staging its annual Improvised Panto at the Half Moon Theatre in Cork from Dec 6-21. Now in its third year, this fun event is, to some extent, guided by the over-16s audience.