Generous open spaces well worth the drive

You get the sense of space and airiness once inside No 14 The Drive, this walk-in 5-bed notable for its room sizes, writes Tommy Barker

RESALES of family homes running along one side of Foxwood Drive, up in Cork’s Garryduff by Rochestown, are few and far between: in fact, the last sale is likely to have been of this home, No 14, about 11 years back along.

Now it’s back for sale, and is most probably better than ever.

The section where No 14 The Drive sits, part of the larger Foxwood scheme, is where the project’s overall developers O’Brien & O’Flynn sold on just six or seven serviced sites, on grounds of up to a quarter acre, back in the early 2000s.

Each of those one-off houses built at the time is different and individual; all are large, and one or two are very sizeable indeed. One by the entrance to the cul de sac has since been given a very contemporised makeover, but hides behind tall walls and gates.

Most have been built with a brick external finish, and for whatever reason, there’s almost a US New England feel to the row, possibly because of the red-brick finishes most were completed with, keeping in tune with the brick in evidence in most of the rest of Foxwood.

However, the first owners of No 14 The Drive eschewed the option to build with an all-brick facade. Instead, they went for render, with brick trim in pillars and at the lower plinth level right the way around the surprisingly sizeable dormer, and they added in features like tall, apex windows in a front gable, and again at the end of a sun room, off the kitchen.

Thanks to the changes in elevation, gable front and fenestration, the front facade doesn’t suggest this house is quite as big as it really is, and in fact there’s around 3,250 sq ft within, and it’s notable for its overall airiness and room sizes.

You get that sense of space straight away once inside and in the hall’s core.

Immediately left and right of the entry point (and before a wide corridor suggests many rooms to come) are the two principal reception rooms. On the left, via double solid oak doors, the sitting room, has a partial high, vaulted ceiling thanks to the apex and angular window, it has quality American oak floor, recessed lighting, and a simply styled inset gas fire.

Across the hall, meanwhile, is a family room, with black cast iron fireplace, oak floor once more, and it tees into what’s now a very large kitchen/dining room, running perpendicular across much of the rear of the home.

How big? Well, it’s now 37’ long, after the current owners moved a wall or two to create a super-sized family gathering space, and as there’s further access from the dining end of the back hall via glazed doors, there’s a lovely circular flow to the generous, open spaces.

The gleaming, bespoke walnut dining table which has two overhead pendant lights can seat 10 easily, and it faces to the cleverly-designed connecting glazed doors, in oak, to the back hall, done in four sections, each with three large panes, and the two central ones slide back over the outer two, gripped by flush brass handles. The same glazed doors are seen again in the connection between the main kitchen end, and the gable’s sun rooms.

Flooring in all of this expanse is pale porcelain tile, into the sun room also, for continuity’s sake, and the kitchen has been ‘repurposed’ from the original, done back in 2001 in cherrywood.

The current owners, now vendors, bought No 14 in the mid to late 2000s, and while they made changes, they didn’t extend: given the size already here, they hardly needed to. While it broadly looks the same from the exterior, inside it’s quite a different feel and layout, used differently too.

They drafted in the services of high-end kitchen maker David Kiely, who fairly advised the family not to get rid of the existing kitchen, but suggested a redesign and reuse of the vast majority of it.

Kiely altered the layout, added extra sections, and some feature curves, topped the units with sparkling white granite, and then the entire, combined suite of units were hand-painted to bring them all together visually.

Effectively, No 14’s a five-bed home, with three ground-floor double bedrooms, one of them with an en suite and walk-in dressing room (one’s currently used as well-kitted out home gym.) There’s a very spacious utility room, and a main family bathroom, painted in a fresh, strong shade of grey to match the hall. It works well with the white sanitary ware, serving too as a guest WC. It also has a bath, and a separate shower enclosure.

That ‘sleeping’ end is set off by a step or two up to a carpeted turn in off the corridor, where there’s an open tread staircase to the dormer house’s upper level: this level is almost unexpected, given the lack of dormer windows or Veluxes as clues to the front.

The first floor’s home, first and foremost, to a very decent en suite master bedroom, about 17’ square, with Veluxes to the back, and off it is a walk-in dressing room, 15’ deep and fully shelved on two sides. The private bathroom, at the far end, is wide, fully tiled on floor and walls, and has a double shower enclosure.

Selling agent for No 14 is Brian Olden of Cohalan Downing Associates, describing the one-off home as being in walk-in condition, and he can claim a certain familiarity with it, as Cohalan Downing also

sold it last time around, about a decade ago.

Back then, CDA sold this home, and the one right next door, but those sums paid at the time aren’t on record as it was back in pre-Price Register days, but the adjacent, 2,500 sq ft one-off had carried a €875,000 asking price, our own records show.

Both sold in smooth order, for quite premium prices too, given it was headed to market peak times, with agents Cohalan Downing doing those deals: now, they guide the further upgraded No 14 once more, at €715,000.

Externally, it’s on very good grounds, with an apron of brick pavers around the front, side and rear patios, and there’s a pedestrian gate and path, as well as main drive with good off-street parking.

The grounds are nicely planted up, well matured now and ‘compartmentalised’ with lawns, shrubbed beds, plus good shrubbed boundaries giving excellent privacy.

One section which, when the children were younger (now teens and/or away at college) held the obligatory trampoline is now a big composting bed, there’s a good-sized garden shed with part perspex roof, and the side passage has a pergola with clematis, some bamboo and an abundant, currently flowering Portuguese laurel.

The vendors traded up to here from nearby Kensington, and say they’ve seen this end of upper Rochestown change considerably in their time of family rearing here.

The delivery of a regular bus service and Leap cards after the completion of Foxwood, Mount Oval Village and several other residential schemes of varying scale has been transformative for easy family life, getting to and from schools and sport and more.

There’s now a ‘new’ national school as part of Foxwood’s grant of planning, serving quite a wide ‘outer Douglas’ catchment and back towards Monkstown.

Shops and services are around the corner, within Mount Oval Village, and directly across the road from Foxwood’s entrances are the sports grounds, hockey pitches and amenities of Garryduff Sports Club, edged on two sides by paths into a Coillte wooded hillside.

In coming years, the upgrades to the main Ringaskiddy port from the city’s ring road, the €220m M28, will make changes to the Maryborough/outer Douglas/Carrigaline.

Already this week there’s clear evidence of upgrades, with significant progress up along Maryborough Hill, a new roundabout is being provided to link the hill towards the Garryduff/Mount Oval side and back, west, into Maryborough Woods, where publicly-quoted house builders Glenveagh recently acquired a significant land bank for short to medium term development.

VERDICT: Worth the Drive.

Garryduff, Rochestown - €715,000

  • Size: 302 sq m (3,250 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 4
  • BER: B3
  • Best Feature: Expansive
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