Not rocket science to upgrade to Ardkeale

This three-bed semi shows how a family home can be expertly refurbished without breaking the bank, writes Tommy Barker.

It doesn’t have to be rocket science scale of thinking, to move a modern home up the BER rating scale, to add creature comforts into the energy-saving bargain,and to end up with a more liveable and engaging home, all in the one set of moves.

No 32, Ardkeale, inCork’s Mount Oval Village development, up in the heights of Rochestown, shows how it can all be done, without breaking the bank.

First up, fit a sliding patio door: it turns anexposed front step into an entrance porch, eliminates drafts, and give a more welcoming first impression when the winter’s howling out there. (It’s also a place to leave an umbrella shed the worst of the rain it has gathered.)

Admittedly, the owners of No 32 Arkeale were able to do it because of the shape of the house’ front facades, with a shared canopy over paired front doors which meet at the middle, next to a projecting bay window.

Thus a sliding patio door, and the expedient of a glass screen at the boundary with the neighbour’s front door, and the job was oxo.

With a bit of lateral thinking, other semi-d house designs might be made to yield similar results, especially if the neighbours next door follow suit. (Turns out at this Ardkeale run of homes, most of them semis, only one other houses in a row of 12 or so has done a similar trick as done at No 32. Seems a pity).

But, that’s only the firstof the alterations to thestandard layout/format here, by its house-proud owners.

They also added a sun room out the back, about 16’ by 12’ with a solid roof punched through with four Veluxes spread over three sides in the high ceilings, and this room (with single door access to a sandstone paved patio) is multi-purpose, set off by a dark blue painted feature wall, and has a multi-fuel stove set in a corner by the house’s original back wall, linking to the kitchen.

Alongside is a compact sitting room/study, about 12’ by 6’, with double door access to the back garden/patio, while there’s a more formal dining room to the front of No 32.

Add in a guest WC, and it’s all pretty well served, and then enhanced with a side annex plumbed, wired and used as a utility, with external access points only, fore and aft on the gable side wall.

Upstairs are three bedrooms, two of them doubles and one with a fully tiled en suite with shower, plus main bathroom with bath.

Helping No 32 to get its B3 BER are two stoves (the other’s in the diningsection), in lieu of an open fireplace or two, upgraded wall and attic insulation, and a new, upgraded highefficiency gas boiler forcentral heating, controlled by Smart Nest multi-zoned settings.

Selling agent is Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald, who saysthis 1,270 sq ft home is inexcellent condition, andshe guides at €365,000, with carpets, curtains, light fittings, kitchen appliances and more all thrown in, with the many painted ‘feature’ walls a bonus, in ranges of colours from dark blue to zingy lime, and shades of brown.

Externally, like its neighbours, No 32 has a brick paved drive for off-street parking, but the back is ramped up a bit above the norm, with lots of mature plants fringing boundary walls, and sections have sandstone paving, and a small bit of decking.

VERDICT: All the evidence here of owner-occupiers who enjoy their home space.

Mount Oval, Rochestown, Cork

Price: €365,000

Size: 118 sq m (1,270 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3

BER: B3

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