The Hermitage is host to some stylish properties,including the so-stylish No 14 Tommy Barker reports.
The Hermitage, Glanmire, Cork
Size: 257 sq m (2,750 sq ft)
Best Feature: well-set, immaculate and with high-end finishes.
THE family rearing and the party house period lasted 20 years at No 14, The Hermitage: now, this most hospitable of homes is ready to reprise that role all over again, only for a new family.
Having lived and travelled extensively abroad in earlier years, the travel bug hasn’t quite left the just-retired, fit and active couple who built No 14 two decades ago, and who have adult children now moved back to Ireland after they did their own travel and work abroad thing. Grandchildren, too have arrived: how did the decades ever get to pass in such a blur?
Now coming up for sale for the first time ever, as the couple prepare to ‘rightsize’ in a new build which they can lock up and leave to go travelling in their next life/retirement chapter. The 2,750 sq ft home they’re vacating, above Glanmire and Sallybrook a minute or two’s drive from the M8, is pretty impressive in just about every respect.
And, notably, it comes for sale just a year after two other neighbouring one-offs in the same niche scheme of just 15 detached homes (most to a dormer design template), sold extremely well, with Nos 6 and No 7 making €850,000 and €805,000.
They were near-record prices for homes in any development in this hinterland just east of Cork city ‘proper’ — in fact, Sallybrook’s Hermitage is effectively at the very north-eastern part of ‘Cork city’ after last year’s boundary extension, with the county boundary now the line of the M8 here above the Glanmire valley.
With its long views over the valley towards Sarsfield’s Court medical campus, No 14 is the second house on the left entering into the Hermitage, where individual home owners bought serviced sites and built to their own designs, more or less done over a three year span back 20 years ago.
They used planning and design firm BFH to come up with the house layout, and builders were Cork firm HG Construction, and while the house hasn’t grown beyond the 2,750 sq ft (257 sq metres) put in place at the time, internally it has changed and been modified as the family grew up.
High end from top to toe, and visually as fresh as a new home upstairs and downstairs also, thanks to constant tweaks and decor changes, it carries a price guide of €725,000 via estate agent Suzanne Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, whose agency sold No 7 last year, when it got €805,000.
No 7 had gone to market guiding €695,000, and had been enlarged from an initial 2,000 sq ft to over 3,000 sq ft by its owners, who are in the bar business and who used preofessional/commercial design and fit-out teams they were familair with in their own home.
No 7’s vendors reaped the reward, when bidding drove it €110,000 over the asking price on launch.
And, for No 6, well, it was far larger again, ‘bigged up’ to 4,700 sq ft, complete with leisure centre/swiming pool, and a garage for classic cars. No 6 had launched at €950,000, and sold for €850,000.
Now, No 14’s a relatively more ‘affordable’ proposition and while smaller than Nos 6 or 7, is no slouch in the quality stakes, with every square inch and square foot usable for families of most age ranges.
It has four en suite bedrooms fitted from day one, and one of those four bedrooms is at ground floor level, just left of the hall with a bay window to the front, making it ideal for more independent children, teenagers, grandparents, visitors or simply the grown-ups in a home who may chose to give the stairs a miss.
Here, the bespoke stairs at No 14 is in ash, with an oak hall floor and after adaptations, there’s now a great flow of rooms at ground level, encompassing a very large (c 25’ by 16’) triple aspect oak floored living room, with wood burning stove, sourced via Cork company Flame by Design, and a bay window with superb display shelving by Willow Design.
It links to a reconfigured kitchen/dining room, with several seating area options, depending on numbers to be accomodated, from a tall breakfast/coffee table for a small gatherings, to a more expansive seated dining area, overlooking the sweep of banked garden, patio and BBQ section, all capable internally of taking 10-20 diners and much used at Christmas time and family gatherings.
The house-proud family now selling can appreciate the tranquility now of an empty nest, especially when contrasting it with the college-going years, when gangs of lads would descend after party nights in the city centre, back in droves by taxi and hackneys to the Hermitage, complete with boxes and bags of late-night/early morning provisions from the now-legendary Hillbilly’s takeaway.
The parental challenge was to get down early enough the morning after the night before and remove the Hillbilly chipper detritus, before the dog got to rummage in the waste packaging and curry cartons.....
That’s all quite the distant memory now, though, given the pristine nature of what’s presented as No 14 goes to market and on view, with not an item out of place and rooms presented to woo and win over any home hunters with a budget to match the price level here.
The good news is there’ll be nothing at all to spend, and much of the furniture can even be included/negotiated for, and much of it looks like it has just walked out of a showroom.
A new kitchen and some reordering took place here about seven years ago, and got further tweaked a couple of years after that, done to an exceptional standard by Cork company Glenline, with a kinked or S-shaped kitchen island in walnut, topped with white granite or marble.
That island has an underset sink served by a architecturally ‘woke’ main mixer tap, a bit like an angular crane, while to the side is a second, swish tap set-up that delivers filtered cold water, or instant boiling hot water, via tiny levered taps.
That on-tap boiling water spout is a massive energy saver over the likes of a standard kettle, and the new induction hob with central extractor, set down amid the hob’s discreet rings, also is an energy efficient piece of kitchen kit.
Separately, kitchen presses and storage are capacious, and a pantry-like press had lustrous walnut double doors that open back to reveal a serving counter, curved shelving/display, and masses of storage on the doors’ inner sides too. Units of similar quality, also in walnut by Glenline, separately house a tall fridge by the dining table, and across the door, a display cabinet for glasses, plates etc.
When this kitchen and its good-sized adjacent pantry/utility was being upgraded a few years back, the owners made the decision to put in underfloor heating in these two rooms, while there’s also a tall, dark grey wall-mounted raditor by the glazed door to the hall.
The hall itself has a feature in
ternal arch to one side, next to the family room/TV room/den, picking up on the tall feature arch window by the stairs to the front of No 14, which also has a small arched viewing window in the extra wide, solid wood front door (and, getting extra large furniture in and out of No 14’s a breeze, much appreciated by delivery gangs, thanks to the door girth.)
In keeping with this ground floor’s ‘go with the flow’ philosophy, that very comfortable family room has a second set of doors, which give optional access back to the Karndean-floored kitchen, by the dining area: those slender twin doors, hinged at the sides and opening back along a central vertical divide, are in a frame just about the width of a standard single door and are both effective and a feature in their own right.
Auctionner Suzanne Tyrrell says No 14 scores strongly for a cohort of buyers (might they get underbidders from 2019’s sales of Nos 6 & 7?) and for a young family, there’s years to enjoy colonising to their own rhythm and needs.
In its current adaptable bedroom layout style, No 14’s dormer style first floor is home to three en suite bedrooms, with the largest master suite also having a walk-in robe/dressing area, with lots of shelving, plus there’s eaves storage, and a walk-in hotpress.
When first configured, this upper level also had a family bathroom with Jacuzzi bath; but, as it was rarely, if ever, used, it was taken back out, and was set up instead as a nursery/bedroom for visiting grandchildren.
The plumbing’s still there, concealed, if new owners want to go back and take the big bath plunge, it’s pointed out.
The owners did and redid No 14 to a very high level, both day one and subsequently, and sometimes drafted in the advice of interior designer Catherine Troy for a second opinion: they readily credit her with, for example, detailing the main living room’s feature display shelving, with offset shelves, hidden lighting for object display and for integrating thin strips of silver into some uprights to raise it all to just another level, with the cabinetry work done by Willow Design.
Elsewhere, there’s some bang-on-trend lighting, sourced mostly from Cork firm Lightplan, and externally there’s also lighting and power, storage spaces and sheds, and a much-used terrace/patio in an arc, backed by old rail sleepers.
The property’s on circa one third of an acre of landscaped grounds, sloping up towards the elevated back boundary with fencing, seasonally red robinia and has several clusters of trees planted, including a stand of silver birches, and some in a corner are used in summer months from which to sling hammocks.
VERDICT: Hermitage has proven itself as a a top, accessible east of city location.