With its close proximity to UCC and the city centre, beautiful Buxton Terrace should attract plenty of interest, writes Tommy Barker.
OVER its nearly 180 year history, the terrace of late Georgian/early Victorian homes at Cork’s Buxton Terrace, imperious in its setting in lofty Sunday’s Well, has seen many changes.
The terrace of five houses, three storeyed with attic rooms, first witnessed the fledgling days of UCC, when the Queen’s university was established in 1845, early in the reign of Queen Victoria, when built as a terraced handful of investment properties for a local gentryman’s (a Lord Buxton? suggest the owners) daughters.
It has seen college campus building after building crowd into its view, as well as the arrival of Bon Secours hospital and its latest huge new wing, along with the inexorable growth of the suburbs, while County Hall punctuates the skyline to the west, and the marginally taller Elysian to the east.
And, more recently, No 1 Buxton Terrace has seen the arrival of Airbnb, with No 1’s owners reckoning they were the first in Cork to let out a room under the now-global guest hosting business.
Evidence of their hospitality is evident as you cross the threshold of this tall, end of terrace home, with a formal dining room to the front, with a table set for parties and guests, and a sideboard laden with crystal decanters, and a few bottles too....all ‘pure’ Sunday’s Well.
In addition to the formal sit-down dining, tea and coffee is also ‘taken, in the elegant first floor drawing room; there’s also a bistro-style kitchen breakfast option, by the ‘scullery,’ under original ceiling hooks once used for hanging meats, and externally there’s a casual al fresco snacking table on a broad terrace to the front of this south-facing home, by the bright red front door and the ornate stucco-detailed windows surrounds.
Behind, in the lushly-landscaped back garden, there’s a further sit-out gathering spot, with hardwood table and chairs in a stone-wall fringed sheltered niche, to the backdrop of a water feature.
After years of entertaining friends, and paying guests, the couple who made No 1 their first home together have decided its downsizing time – but, having become acclimatised to the good life on the city’s venerable north suburbs, with light all day and captivating views by day and by night, they aren’t moving far.
They’ve already bought a new pad even higher up, on Blarney Street, and are looking forward to the chance to do that up next.
Their hardest challenge appears to be how to decant possessions, paintings, art, family memorabilia, a collection of old clocks and timepieces and furniture amassed over many years. They’ve enlisted the aid of auctioneer Darragh Taaffe of Keane Mahony Smith to sell No 1 Buxton Terrace, and he guides the robust, and invitingly presented No 1 Buxton Terrace at €495,000.
Running to almost 2,200 sq ft, it’s been well kept, but not over restored, with due respect for original features, floors, ceilings, shutters and, especially its impressive fireplaces, while the owners decided not to open up rooms at ground level front to back, so as to keep faith with original period proportions. No 1 Buxton Terrace is at the city end of the run of five three-bay homes, notable for their ornate camber-headed windows surrounds, with ornate brackets under the sills.
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage rightly describes the terrace (it calls it Buxton Villas) as “a dominant presence on Sunday’s Well Road,” a road which has long found favour with occupants and owners drawn from the medical and legal professions, as well as academics, given proximity to the city centre, major hospital and, of course, UCC.
The €495k price guide quoted by KMS’s Darragh Taaffe puts it within the grasp of a range of buyers, with a particular appeal for those favouring an easy urban living experience and city centre proximity (for car owners, parking is on-street, with residents’ permit.)
Internally, No 1 is laid out in age-appropriate fashion with ground floor dining room with very ornate white marble fireplace, with carvings of bunches of grapes a real feature. Behind is a kitchen with scullery and there’s access via a back utility at the hall’s end to an old-fashioned yard with outbuildings.
The first floor has a 20’ by 13’ ‘piano nobile’ or drawing room, with three tall, one over one sash windows, round headed on the top panes, plus there’s another very fine stone fireplace.
Behind is a guest bedroom with some faux ‘distressed’ ceiling frescos by some of the many guests and artists who passed through as Airbnb visitors, paying for their stay by adding to the decor.
There are bathrooms on each of the two return levels, while the second floor houses two more bedrooms, master to the front with fireplace and direct south views to UCC’s Aula Maxima, with dressing room, while the second one looks the garden greenery, and, up another level, the attic eyerie has a further bedroom and office/den/music room.
VERDICT: A lofty home, aloof and inviting.
Sunday’s Well, Cork
Size: 205 sq m (2,190 sq ft)