Tommy Barker views a thoroughly upgraded five-bedroom and expanded home in one of the most highly desirable parts of Cork’s western suburbs
Size: 315 sq m (3,391 sq ft)
IT’S not quite a decade yet since Cahernacrinn last appeared in these pages but you could be forgiven for not recognising it: it has been more than doubled in size, and transformed, in the interim.
Right on the city end of Cork city’s Model Farm Road, south-facing to the back and set opposite the Farranlea Road junction by the Rendezvous Bar, it’s fresh in every way, and fresh to market too with estate agents Johnny O’Flynn and Sheila O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald, who give it a price guide of €985,000.
Done up to the nines, with some architectural aplomb and, quirkily, with a strong, pink-hued thread running through its decor and interior design, it’s now a very sizeable 3,391 sq ft private family home, on a private, mature, settled suburban site that’s a full 200’ deep and, as well as a good mix of rooms plus library, has five bedrooms, with two en-suites.
Accommodating? For sure. Good quality, too.
That’s in a bit of a contrast to how it presented back in September 2010, when it came to a subdued and chastened property market, and launched in that year’s early autumn market, with a €550,000 price guide quoted, and with some upgrades (new kitchen, windows, central heating etc) having already taken place prior to that sale. Its floor area back then was 1,450 sq ft, so now it’s well over twice the size, measuring up just a few square inches short 3,400 sq ft.
It must have gotten immediate and early traction, bidding and negotiation and a deal tied up on it too nine years back, as it turns up on the very early days of the Price Register as a successful December 2010 sale, at a recorded €560,000.
Cahernacrinn had last sold via agent Dennis Guerin of Frank V Murphy & Co — who, coincidentally, has just gone ‘sale agreed’ on a large detached home at the far end of Farranlea Road, for over €1m, which had a €1.2m guide earlier this year. Mr Guerin declined to comment on the agreed sale price of that, so the curious will have to await the clarity of the Price Register.
Back to Cahernacrinn, though, at its sub-€1m launch price point via Sherry FitzGerald.
Having done all the work, to a uniformly high standard, after design input from Derek O’Leary of O’Leary Architecture and Design, the vendors, who are a local family, are set to move on a bit out of town. Given its location, so close to the CUH/CUMH campus, to CIT, to UCC, to the Bon Secours, to the Technology Park, and County Hall, there’s going to be a quite wide cross-section of viewing and bidding interest despite the current property market’s understandable current state of stasis.
Cahernacrinn is set in a quiet select row where, back in the early- to mid-2000s, a number of neighbouring one-offs got quite sizeable extensions and upgrades, some of them in effect complete rebuilds.
The Price Register shows only a half a dozen or so Model Farm Road resales in excess of €1m since 2010, and at least two of them were properties bought for site/redevelopment values.
They include Vailima, sold at €1.35m and since resold as a cleared site with full planning for seven detacheds for about €1.8 million, or €250,000 per site ‘stand’, bought by a Cork builder expected to partner up with Dublin backers. Also sold earlier this year, for €1.764 m via Lisney, was St Catherine’s Convent, on Highfield Lawn.
On the wider front, there are plans afoot for one or two niche schemes such as at Vailima, and Orchard Road, where high-end new-builds would have been expected to sell for €1m and more when tails were well up.
Now with market tails a-drooping, caution might be in the wings for would-be builders of A-rated 2,500 to 3,500 sq ft home on expensive sites — and those who had them in their sights might have to wait a bit longer to wait for finished product to roll off the construction line.
That delivery hiatus might well work to the favour of the vendors of Cahernacrinn, as given that they are offering a finished entity, something a new family of occupants can take over and make their own, with minimum fuss, once a sale concludes.
The work done has seen its BER rating rise to a B2, and that’s the minimum standard that Government policy now wants all significant older home upgrades to hit, but just how they will monitor/enforce it has yet to be fully detailed.
Those building regs, plus the NZEB ones for new builds which will make obligatory the need for an electric charging point (EV) for cars, are due to come into force after November this year and, interestingly, Cahernacrinn already ticks many of the new regs boxes.
It has an EV charging point in place, with wiring for electric access gates by the Model Farm Road entrance pillars, where, handily a garage/storage building has been built, just short of garage-sized, while the main house is wired and plumbed up ready for solar-powered water heating for the pressurised water system. It has high insulation levels too, with remote controllable Climote gas fired and zoned central heating, plus CAT 6 cabling for tech-fiends.
Internally, the deep-set house on a deep site has a spacious and interlinked open-plan kitchen/dining/living room, with underfloor heating. The family-friendly area accesses the rear terrace which is fringed with eye-catching pink-painted low surround walls à la Diarmuid Gavin, before the long lawn rolls further to the garden’s walled back boundary.
Other well-finished rooms include a drawing room with alcove reading/library area, an extensively shelved study, and a play room, as well as a utility and a guest WC, all off the reconfigured hall.
Naturally enough, the bright and quite colourful kitchen’s the hub of this home, with extensive glazing, as well as two raised rooflights punched up into the ceiling at different angles. In terms of layout and looks, there’s a mix of country and contemporary, with a plethora of painted units in shades of blue and grey from the company Stylecraft, as well as a painted dresser, with a wide range cooker under a country style hood/extractor with corbels. There’s colourful splashback tiling, an underslung ceramic sink amid runs of black granite worktops — the big free-standing island has solid oak worktops for contrast.
The floor’s an easy-on-the-eye travertine, in oblong tiles, while the floor-to ceiling glazing on two sides is in a pleasant sort of putty-coloured hue, in contrast to the deliberately mis-matched colours of the dining table and chairs.
Linked behind by an ope is the ‘smaller’ family room, still about 20’ by 12’, with wide-plank solid oak floor, while the subtle eye-catcher is the small white solid-fuel burning stove, inset on a hearth by a hand-painted, tall retained original fireplace, with the central oak-floored hall and ‘feature’ stairs visible midships, via glazed double doors.
Upstairs off a bright landing with overhead roof light are five bedrooms with two good-sized double bedrooms, each of which are en-suite with showers, and three more compact ones, two possibly small doubles, one’s a single, and the gable-fronted detached two-storey build is now distinguished externally by some standing-seam zinc roof finishes to either side.
Sherry FitzGerald’s Sheila O’Flynn says the overall condition of this one-off family home is top quality, while the Model Farm Road setting is “one of Cork’s most prestigious and sought-after addresses.”
She, and her Sherry FitzGerald co-agent Johnny O’Flynn, had one of the Model Farm Road’s stronger recent sales of a private home, that of Millcove, within a few hundred metres or so away of Cahernacrinn.
That Art Deco-style, 1930s era home had been pushed up by its owners of some 28 years to about 3,500 sq ft, and it launched in August 2017 at €1.3 million.
However, good and all as it was, and on equally large gardens, Millcove had proved sluggish to shift, apparently down to the fact that despite upgrades along the way, it didn’t feature that ‘must-have’ open-plan and airy kitchen/living/dining combo.
The Price Register shows it made €925,000, and its buyer — who had since sold a 21st century bells-and-whistles detached house west of Ballincollig — has taken Millcove to task, and spent lavishly on it, subsequently and, yes, put in the open-plan back family/cooking/eating area with garden access... just the sort of thing Cahernacrinn has already in situ, to its credit.
Externally, this home has front lawns left and right on a graveled drive and a parking area, plus side access then to a back garden. This is part terraced/stepped with a sandstone patio, and with yet more lawn for fun and games beyond the curving pink walls, and high privacy levels. The back boundary is bookended by a cheerily-painted play house/garden room.
Given the space, its condition as a fully-fleshed out entity, creature comforts, and the setting, this sle, say Sherry Fitz say it “makes for an attractive move for buyers wanting to live in this fantastically mature area. it’s property that should not be missed.”
VERDICT: Make a Model Farm Road Rendezvous with Cahernacrinn.