Knock on heaven's door

IT'S hard not to fall into eulogies with a house like Knockgriffin - it's a classic example of domestic revival architecture.

Built in 1946, this five-bed home on the edge of Midleton in east Cork wouldn't look out of place in any exclusive suburb.

It has only ever had two families of owners, and is only changing hands now because of an "empty nest" situation.

Immaculate both inside and out, the 3,000 sq ft home was originally built for members of the Dwyer family of Sunbeam, and it truly had the best craftsmen and workmen pass through its doors during construction.

The architect was John Wilkinson, of the now-defunct firm of Chillingworth and Levie, who did a number of such quality commissions.

Knockgriffin, just off the N25 access point for Midleton, is price-guided by Peter Cave of Hamilton Osborne King at €850,000, modest by city standards.

While a few short years ago it was probable that any new owner would be a local professional (as is the vendor), the vastly improved road and tunnel links to Cork put it within an easy strike of Cork city and a huge pool of possible buyers.

Its gardens of 1.5 acres are mature, immaculate, relatively easily kept and even easier to enjoy. The maturity suits the house, and ivies and wisteria happily cloak its walls.

It has many of the features of typically English "domestic revival" architecture, including a quite steeply pitched tiled roof, dormer windows and bays, small panes of glass, and tall chimneys with deep roof eaves.

Some houses of this type feature timber framing, but here at Knockgriffin, brick gives the visual relief. It still has its original steel windows and French doors with brass handles.

All of its main rooms are impressively large: even the main entrance hall, at 23' by 12', is a party-piece, with arched brick fireplace, Japanese maple floor and double height core with sweeping staircase and mahogany banister.

The wood floor continues into the 20' by 16' dining room, which has a simple sandstone fireplace and French doors to the south-facing gardens.

There's a study/comfortable family room with marble fireplace and access to the gardens and a sheltered patio. The main reception room is 20' by 14' and it, too, has discreet plasterwork coving.

Across the hall, the kitchen (with homely oil-fired Aga) area is backed up by four purposeful rooms off a long rear hall, suitable for a multiplicity of uses like spare/guest/granny/au pair quarters, etc.

The back hall opens to a sheltered yard with fuel stores, and just beyond is a huge double garage, with high roof and sliding doors.

Upstairs, there is a wide L-shaped landing which overlooks the staircase, the master bedroom is suite-sized with dressing area with built-ins, bay window and bathroom, a second bedroom also has a modern en suite. All five bedrooms are large rooms, and all come with fireplaces. There's also a fine main bathroom, plus store room with attic access.

Externally, the property has surrounding patios with crazy paving, and the landscaping is judicious and generous, and includes a pond, rockery, stables and orchard.

It's bliss.

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