Hammer a great deal at Annville

Rockboro Avenue’s Annville has been fully rebuilt from the ground up and was then extended, finds Tommy Barker.

IN CASE you just missed out in the rapid bidding on a done-up semi-d called Hillside, in a cracking inner suburban Cork setting on the Old Blackrock Road just one month ago, well, here’s a second chance to buy.

Listed just after a ‘sale agreed’ note went up in rapid-fire order on the 2,000 sq ft home Hillside, near the South Infirmary, comes Annville, at 22 Rockboro Avenue, just around the corner and looking west over its back garden to the snapped-up Hillside.

That home, Hillside, went to market at the start of February, with a €440,000 price guide via agents Cohalan Downing. In the event, and despite a sluggish start to the 2019 property market, it sort of bucked the trend of subdued activity.

Hillside (it was a Cover Story in these pages last month) got about two dozen viewings, attracted four bidders and bids topped €500,000, for a mid-1900s home, extended and upgraded in 2009, with a good B3 BER as an endorsement of its renewal.

Viewings there came from those returning to Cork, from traders-down and traders-in, who valued the setting within a very short walk of the city centre and near schools and amenities.

All those boxes will be ticked too, plus some additional ones, at Annville, 100 metres away at 22 Rockboro Avenue.

In effect, Annville’s a new-build, as previous owners all-but demolished the original mid 1900s semi-d, and rebuilt and enlarged it.

Then, it sold to its current owners in 2014, who rejigged and extended further, out the back in a cool, contemporary style, and who then did a full- top-to-toe fastidious upgrade. They fitted two of the three bedrooms out with en suite bathrooms, with the master bedroom’s private bathroom reached past a walk-through dressing room, with window to the front of the house.

The owners, now with a young family, did it to a high level, not expecting to be moving on anytime soon. But, the chance to trade up to a family member’s larger home, off-market has cropped up and they’ve still got the energy to go again. So, off they go.

They’ve listed the 1,730 sq ft Annville with auctioneers Timothy Sullivan & Associates, who guide it at €465,000, noting the quality of fit-out and finish, the brightness and the space, as well as the accessible location.

And, Tim Sullivan rightly says the accommodation within its sliding electric access gates is entirely deceptive, more capacious than you’d imagine from a cursory look from the outside on Rockboro Avenue, which is one of two side-by-side roads linking the city end of the Boreenmanna Road by the city link road to the genteel Old Blackrock Road.

It’s now got a B2 BER, just for starters, and pretty much all the bells and whistles in a low-key way, with west-facing rear single storey extension, leading to a sun-trap, two-tier raised patio with feature glass balusters; it has a very good garden shed/playhouse/den/workroom, has a hideaway attic conversion with stunning city views from a modest-sized rear Velux, and is a chillaxed sort of recreation space, complete with retractable home cinema screen.

The owners say they like to cook and to entertain, and that’s immediately evident from the L-shaped kitchen/diner, with swish painted units, island and breakfast bar all from the House of Coolmore, the plethora of cook books and the presence of a gas-fired Aga, flanked on either side by AEG electric rings, plus there are separate, wall mounted ovens either side of a large, double fridge. (The black Aga gets switched off in summer as the home would overheat, the owners say.) They added the kitchen/diner extension, with wide-board oak floor, and which has twin roof lights set into a membrane roof, all ringed around by a deep, overhang plinth externally.

One side window by the dining table has a feature, wooden slatted screen in situ, to avoid any overlooking issue with a neighbour’s back garden: it’s there for a barely discernible reason, but is part of the extension and terrace’s aesthetic almost in it own right.

The slick kitchen tees-into a compact family sitting section (it used to be the old kitchen) and next to it is a well-fitted out utility/comms rooms, with side passage access.

Elsewhere at ground is a comfortable, carpeted front sitting room, 16’ by 12’ with wood-burning stove, in a simple surround, oak floored hall and an oak floored guest WC with dado/wainscoting and wallpapered walls depicting hunting scenes.

Upstairs, meanwhile has three bedrooms, three bathrooms (two en suites) and stairs access to the 17’ by 12’ attic eyrie. Both this level, and the first floor’s back rooms, have engrossing views back west towards the city centre, many church steeples, and to the Elysian tower less than a kilometre away, which gleams in the sunlight, and when all lit up at night.

VERDICT: entirely deceptive on the outside and from first glance, Annville’s worth going hammer and tongs for, especially for keen traders-down and traders in.

The location is future-proofed, the most recent resale on the Old Blackrock Road shows market demand for such convenience, and the home’s effectively a new-build, while the bobs weren’t spared in smartly extending and finishing it out, to the last detail.

Rockboro Avenue, Cork City


Size: 162 sq m (1,753 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3+attic

Bathrooms: 4


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