WATCH: Chance to make your mark by the Lee

Carmel offers plenty of space close to the city and will receive plenty of  attention for urban dwellers looking for that rural feel, says Tommy Barker

Model Farm Road, Cork €595,000

Size: 232 sq m (2,499 sq ft) 0.87 acre
Bedrooms: 2+
Bathrooms: 3
BER: C2

JUST as one size doesn’t fit all, neither does a house’s bedrooms tally have to fit any particular standard or template.

Not everyone needs five, four or even three bedrooms.

Others need six or seven.

It’s now quite the moveable feast, as household formations differ so wildly.

A woman who downsized and built Carmel just off Cork city’s Model Farm Road, in a ‘Golden Triangle’ setting back in 1999, didn’t need loads of bedrooms, so among her wish-list to her designer at the time, she specified ‘just’ two bedrooms upstairs, but with lots of dressing room and storage options to go with them, which was duly delivered.

When Carmel changed hands a decade or so ago, its professional couple buyers at the time similarly didn’t need extra, surplus or spare bedrooms.

They simply used what it came with, and relished all of the ground floor accommodation, plus the quite remarkable-sized site of 0.87 of an acre on low-profile Inchigaggin Lane.

Into cooking and entertaining, they re-did and upgraded the kitchen and utility, with upmarket and contemporary new kitchen units, and large seating and serving island from Kube Kitchens, kept the Stanley range for sentiment and serious output reasons, and backed it up with new electric cooking options also in the new units, and even in the purposeful, all-accommodating utility room, complete with wine fridge.

The kitchen being the hub of the home, it has trunking now for multi-media, music and sound/AV, and Bose speakers too, with a casual dining area by a front facing patio, and other dining options beyond.

The previous owner had a dining room off the main, double-aspect living room, via hardwood double doors, but the current owners have used that space as a TV room/den, and also as a gym.

And, because the hall is just so central, large and airy (the woman who built here day-one came out of a large house, and certainly didn’t want mean circulation areas in her new home: another item on her spec list) they even set it up occasionally for dinner parties.

Now though, it’s moving on time once more, and the highly individual, and very well built dormer called Carmel on a quite exceptional plot of ground is up for sale, listed this week with estate agent Sheila O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald, with a quoted €595,000 AMV, and it’s so much more than the sum of its notional bedrooms’ count.

The current configuration, and even more so the house’s central siting on its large grounds, means there are many extension options, in just about every direction, at ground level alone for a bedrooms wing, or over two levels, perhaps with ground level garden room, and a few more overhead beds? It all comes down, really and quite simply, to what its next owners will want.

Right now, it’s just about 2,500 sq ft, with solid hardwood internal joinery (varnished, but paintable to instantly update a look if so desired) and good finishes, has a top-quality kitchen/dining room with patio access , and an adjoining large utility with access to a rear patio with feature stone-clad heat-absorbing wall with a run of stalky lavender plants.

There’s also a good living room, double aspect with west-facing patio access (sun room add-on here?), plus it has an open fireplace, and adjacent den, while the guest WC was originally plumbed for a shower.

Overhead, meanwhile, there’s a main family bathroom and the two bedrooms are spacious, with one en suite, and it has two linked dressing rooms, or a dressing room plus study, gym or nursery.

What Carmel also does have, all day long, is a cracking good location, between Cork city’s western suburbs and Ballincollig.

It’s set amid and close to some old and historic period homes, a townhouse development called The Orchards, and is one of just a half-dozen or so detached homes in the setting.

Immediately to the north is a very large one-off, built over a decade ago when its owner bought an already-good bungalow which has been owned by an IDA regional manager... and flattened it, delivering an impressively-sized new, luxurious two-storey build in its stead.

And, since then, that neighbour has since leased land acquired by the City Council, and proceeded to put in a menage and other equestrian facilities for the family’s horses, so now on fine evening that soft thud of horses over jumps can be discerned from Carmel.

The proximity of that house, and other large homes close by could mean that getting planning planning permission to ‘go even grander’ with Carmel mightn’t be too difficult.

If that’s what new occupants want, they’ll be dealing with Cork County Council, not the City Council, as the die-straight, leafy Inchigaggin Lane is the actual city/county boundary divide and Carmel’s just on the cusp, on the western side.

Those coming to view can take solace in the fact that, back in 2009, when much of the Lee Fields, some of Inchigaggin Lane and indeed swathes of Cork city centre and UCC campus went under flood waters after an exceptional release from the Inniscarra Dam, Carmel and its gardens stayed unaffected.

It remained dryly aloof from the impact of what has since been billed as a 100-year flood event.

VERDICT: Good as it stands, Carmel could so easily be taken to yet another level, such is its site appeal.



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