FOR SALE: Bachelor Pad, one careful owner for the past 88 years.
Welcome to Elmford, a one-family-owned five-bed home, on a great site, with massive gardens, in one of suburban Cork’s most prized locations, Menloe Gardens.
Built in 1930, Elmford was bought new from Murphy Builders, within a fledgling up-market estate, in the grounds of the period Menloe House on the main Blackrock Road, by a couple, with the house name ‘Elmford’ forged out of Ellen Mary Forde’s own name.
It was to this house that they brought their baby, Jack, home after his birth in the Victoria Hospital, at the start of the Old Blackrock Road: from there, it was a straight road out to Menloe Gardens.
Now, with a significant (late 80s) birthday this month, Jack Forde has decided to flee the nest, leaving behind his lifelong home, and 0.3 acres of tended gardens, to relax in an apartment by the sea.
For nigh on 90 years, Menloe Gardens has been one of Cork’s very best residential estates, mainly for its location, close to Blackrock village, as well as for the way the houses range around a large green, with mature trees, including some magnificent chestnuts.
The houses are a mix of semi-detacheds and detacheds, and none of them would have been overly-large when built.
It’s only when they come for resale that new owners enlarge them and some have gone very large indeed, both detacheds and semis, bought for years of family rearing to come.
Well, that’s going to be the case now for Elmford, with the swings and roundabouts of life chapters all trundling along as they should. Jack Forde is vacating his 1,548 sq ft family home, which got a two-storey side extension when his grandfather came to live with his parents, in the mid-1900s, and there’ll very likely be younger couples or young families bidding for Elmford, to give it new life and the chance to colonise the extensive gardens.
Elmford at €675,000, estate agent Malcolm Tyrrell, of Cohalan Downing, observes that the sale offers “an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a property on a fabulous site, in probably the best residential park on the south side of Cork city.” It’s on one of the biggest sites in Menloe Gardens, with a wedge-shaped back garden widening out as it stretches back, and back.
It has this because of its corner setting and the house next door is similarly blessed.
And, then, there’s the house second-next door, Kincraigie, to consider....
Kincraigie was a detached house on a very deep site. It sold over a year ago, for €865,000. Now, it’s no more, knocked, save for the retention of a ground-floor section of its front facade, and is currently a building site, with a crew on hand constructing a new build.
It will be the second such ‘go very large’ replacement dwelling within Menloe, as 2011 (back in the depths of recession, too) saw a corner detached, called Bruidhnabarra, on a large site, sell for €730,000, only to be knocked and replaced.
Earlier this year, Cohalan Downing, jointly with Marshs Auctioneers, sold a three/four-bed, c 1,800 sq ft, immaculate Menloe Gardens’ semi-d for nearly €90k over its €650k, early 2019 launch price. Originally called Scarteen, it had sold in 2015 for €595,000, according to the Price Register, and had a name change to Sonoma during its vendors’ short tenure. It appears now on the register, once more as Scarteen , at €740,000.
Also within Menloe Gardens, Cohalan Downing, last October, launched a 20-year-old, c 3,500 sq ft one-off detached, called Kingsley, at another corner of Menloe. It floated at €1.25m, and is understood to be ‘sale agreed’ close to the asking price.
So, for the moment, all eyes will be on the sales progress, and future, of the charming Elmford, with very many original features, lovely fireplaces, and doors with original, wooden handles.
It has up to three reception rooms (inc annexe), kitchen, pantry/back hall, guest WC, main family bathroom, and five first-floor bedrooms, several with fireplaces, and several overlooking the glorious centrepiece green.
And, there’s the ace up the sleeve: the enormous private grounds, of c 0.3 acres, with super-mature boundaries, hedges, and old stone walls, glasshouse fruit bushes, rhododendron and hydrangeas, apple trees, and an attached garage.
CDA’s Mr Tyrrell summarises the location as unrivalled, and says that while the comfortable, well-maintained, 1930-built home now needs work (might it get a whole new side wing? probably) the investment will be more than worth it.
VERDICT: One careful owner, indeed.