This luxurious home tucked into one of Cork city’s more secluded areas has been greatly expanded by its owners, writes Tommy Barker.
Although they’ve lived at 22 The Manor since their home was built back in the mid-1990s, the owners of this house haven’t exactly sat on their laurels. They grew the detached home, just off the Model Farm Road, from its initial c 1,800 sq ft, all the way up and out to now span some 4,700 sq ft.
They also added extra ground to their already substantial ‘estate’ corner site, where they created a ‘secret’ garden, complete with enormous insulated storage shed plus a child’s Wendy house, and they landscaped every inch of the c 0.4 acre of private grounds.
Then, they worked and reworked the house’s interior, upping the quality of finishes, adding an array of ground-floor rooms, including a leisure suite, with gym, sauna, and a Swim Spa pool — effectively a large multi-jetted hot-tub with counter-current swim trainer.
Then, they converted the attic, now home to two multi-purpose rooms, plus a top-level bathroom, walk-in dressing room/robes, and left access to acres of eaves storage.
Along the way, and intermittently during their time here, they also moved abroad for long periods, primarily to Asia and to South Korea.
As a result there’s the impression that this has been the retreat home of an international family, none too work shy. Some of those periods working abroad were when subtle changes were made to No 22, oft times without the knowledge of the man of the house.
At one stage, he’d been overseas for a spell, and came back to find two rooms created where one larger one — a front-to-back double reception — had previously been, creating an embracing family/TV room, complete with marble and granite fireplace. It’s not like that inner-core room is compartmentalised: not only is it accessed off the kitchen, it also has double doors opening out to the enormous, added-on wide skirt of kitchen, dining, and day-to-day use family rooms, flooded with light and with a westerly aspect.
Another surprise came during a stint of work overseas, back around 2009, when much of this house’s extra space was astutely grafted on.
A rear sun room/conservatory had to be scrapped to make way for the full-width rear extension, and the woman of the house — loath to see it go to scrap — asked lots of her friends and family if they wanted to take it.
There were no takers. So, she asked the builders who were on site to ‘throw down a foundation in the garden’s corner and refit it there’.
Which they did. It was a welcome surprise when the other half came home to view progress in his absence; with its back wall of stone, and garden and rear deck views, it looks for all the world like it was perfectly planned and placed, rather than an ad-hoc decision and a stubborn refusal to see it go to waste.
Its handy garden room floor area doesn’t even make it into No 22’s overall calculation of floor area... which you may have noticed already is fairly substantial.
So, guess what? After all the moves and changes and upgrades and add-ons (plus a period when it was a very high-end corporate let to an appreciative Canadian family who minded it like it was their home property), it’s now downsizing/moving on time, after nearly 25 years in residence.
The children are reared, and the couple are building anew, from scratch, swapping the ease of western suburban Cork life, for a dramatic coastal one-off outside the mouth of Cork harbour.
So, this week, No 22 The Manor goes on the open market, listed with agents Sheila O’Flynn and Johnny O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald, and they quote a €1.225m price guide for the immaculate and accommodating home.
They can expect local trade-up interest from the city’s upper income echelons: Model Farm Road is no stranger in any case to €1m-plus property transactions.
The Price Register records some six €1m-plus sales with a Model Farm Road address, but the largest, at €1.76m, was of St Catherine’s Convent, bought for redevelopment. So too was the private home called Vailima, sold in 2016 for €1.35m, and now resold again as a cleared site, for close to €1.8m (via Casey & Kingston) with full planning in place for seven detached houses, at a site cost of €250,000 each.
The buyer of Vailima was the Killian Kelly Group, who are due to start construction in September, and prices of up to and over the €1m mark are anticipated, at house sizes from 2,670 sq ft up to 3,700 sq ft.
No 22 The Manor is almost certainly the very largest individual home now within this O’Flynn Construction mid-1990s development of a couple of dozen detacheds, close to the Melbourn Road and Inchigaggin, and close to third-level colleges, a technology park, and major hospital campuses.
The Price Register records the last sale at The Manor as No 18, making €536,000 back in 2010. Possibly the last comparable ‘estate’ sale along and off the Model Farm Road could have been that of No 10 Court Cairn, which made €750,000 back in 2012. So it will be interesting to see how well No 22 The Manor goes, as a detached within a development (as opposed to a one-off), albeit a very individualised one.
Viewers and potential bidders won’t find fault with the quality of what’s gone into No 22, evident immediately in the retained front reception rooms, left and right of a welcoming hallway, carpeted, with carpeted mahogany staircase leading to the first floor and spitalling onwards to the second floor.
But it’s from the hall that this home really mushrooms, back into the over-sized kitchen with high-end Glenline units, and an island topped with marble, and with the breakfast bar topped with cherrywood.
The island alone is the size of many homes’ utility rooms, and is a real fulcrum point, with masses of built-ins around the walls, crisp and white, framed by pilasters and marked with corbels, while appliances include a Rangemaster cooker, wine fridge, etc.
As back-up, there’s also a pantry, and a utility/comms room
with twin gas boilers, pressurised water system, servers for the multi-point CCTV/alarm system, and back-up for the Bose surround sound in several the main rooms, and in the master suite.
The ‘new’ c 2009 rear extension (under a sort of Nordmann profile steel tile roof) is more than the full width of the original house: turns out, it’s 24m or over 75ft, from side to side. Its back wall is mostly glass, there’s a raised apex section to get even more light deeper in, plus there are a few roof lights, including a large Velux over the Swim Spa, as well as Skytube-style light tunnels bringing daylight down into a side/back hall.
Added on to the back is that expansive, wide area off the kitchen, with pale porcelain tiles and underfloor heating. There’s also a wide feature wall-inset gas fire, with cherrywood hearth (pic, left).
Then, double doors by the gable end link into a large, double-aspect drawing room, with an over-sized stone fireplace, and open basket for log burning. Handily, this room has a side door out to a side passage where logs are kept covered to dry: roll on Christmas gatherings, say the owners — the house’s flow (and quantity) of rooms is, indeed, a boon for large gathering and parties.
Over on the far end/side, along with the utility space/gym etc, there’s also a study, and further useful space has been found behind what was originally the double garage, with the old doors retained but only visible externally: this most modern and deceptive of homes really does have ‘wings’ to it.
Overhead, the first floor is no bigger than it ever was, but — unsurprisingly — it too has been reconfigured.
What was a floor level with four bedrooms has been reduced to three/four, with three double bedrooms, two of them sharing an en-suite in a Jack-and-Jill set-up, and the master bedroom seems to take up half of the floor area, with bedroom, large en-suite bathroom and two spacious his & hers dressing rooms.
A section of the landing now hosts a spiral stairs to the attic level, where there’s one large and very adaptable central space, easily divided into two, if necessary, with shower/bathroom and storage. Teenagers will love the sense of remove, and of being aloof, aloft in an almost self-contained level.
Sherry FitzGerald agent Johnny O’Flynn says there are options for those looking for more bedrooms than the three doubles currently in the mid level; one can be refashioned once more by losing/moving the dressing rooms, and the ground level also has rooms on either side, if necessary.
The main house now has a good B3 BER, has solar panels, CCTV, Bose sound system, zoned gas central heating — with twin boilers for back-up and longevity, but used only one at a time — partial underfloor heating, along with very high quality bathrooms with power showers. Really, it’s a fairly unstinting spec from top to bottom.
Then, factor in the bonus of a wholly-landscaped site with huge parking apron of printed concrete cobble pattern, part of the private grounds that are now just over 0.4 of an acre. Extra land was gained by No 22, and by a few of its neighbours too in this section of the cul de sac, The Manor, when the former Tennis Village complex was being redeveloped to the west.
Thus, now there’s an intriguing garden door and archway leading from the original wide back garden and low-maintenance synthetic decking, into the further ‘secret garden’, where there’s a timber painted Wendy House, and a hobbyist’s dream of a bone-dry large steel storage shed/workspace, with concrete floor, power supply and insulated panels.
Storage? You could stock a shop from it.
1. Frame your best views. The gardens at 22 The Manor are landscaped to a high degree, with a great mix of soft and hard landscaping. this pergola partition, with doors either side, is the link element between the main back garden and the later-acquired ‘secret’ garden on the other side of a mature tree boundary
2 On a fine day, can you ever have too many places to sit and enjoy a garden’s glories? No 22 has several vantage points and when the house was extended, the ‘old’ sun room/conservatory was removed, an placed instead in a far corner of the garden, ideal for all-weather comforts
3 Time flies: Moving on finally, after family’s reared, the family at No 22 saw it swell from 1,800 sq ft to 4,700 sq f, so it’s not too large for the couple
4 What secrets lie within? Once past the garden’s pergola gates, glimpses are caught of a Wendy House, and a large, insulated steel storage workshed, well removed from the garden’s ‘prettier’ sections
5 Let there be light: a long link corridor along the original house’s flank, joining to one of its two new wings, has lightbouncing down thanks to ceiling- and roof-mounted mirrored tubes
6 Upwardly mobile, with a spiral staircase to the second floor rooms