Arbutus perfect sanctuary

Tommy Barker is impressed by this upgraded Lough property.

A STEELY interior is concealed within the wooden walls of extended and upgraded Arbutus.

Making the open airiness which is such a feature of this Cork suburban home near the water amenity and wildfowl sanctuary the Lough possible is an amount of steel supports and RSJs (girders) which allowed internal and rear supporting walls to be removed, and an open-plan area put in their stead.

The result is a room 27’ deep, by over 17’ wide, and it is where the family who put it together spend all of their time. Until now.

Having put together the sort of inside-outside room so fashionable at the moment, separated by smart sliding doors, they are upping sticks to move to a place in the county, with a lot more land, and yes, a doing-up challenge once again.

Terence O’Leary of Property Partners O’Mahony Walsh seeks €600,000 for Arbutus, a place in St Finbarr’s Park which needs only the slightest of first floor touching up to match the quality of what’s so evident at ground level.

The brightness is the key, and the architectural ‘must-haves’ of light and space have been achieved here by clever design and by marginally raised ceilings as well as an end wall of glass, including glazed panels over those over-sized sliding doors in scented cedar.

Vendors Richard and Geraldine Hanley (she’s a professional store window stylist) have brought an experienced eye to bear on this rear extension, and what the ‘team,’ including Carrigaline Joinery and builder John Fitzgerald, have achieved has lifted it well out of the ordinary, with nicely finished and landscaped gardens to boot.

The job is Oxo, and inside is the main contemporary-styled living space which combines the old back reception room, the original kitchen and the newly provided bright living and dining space. Verily, three into one does go, quite divinely, in this 27’ by 17’ combined room.

There’s another reception room to the front of the house, measuring 13’ by 12’ with bay window with smashing new sash frames, crisply detailed with brass fittings and sharing the same style of white plantation shutters (from Shutters of Ireland) with the other windows across the front of the house.

Express Kitchens did the kitchen units in walnut, and the floor is also done in walnut to match and blend, and off the kitchen is a side door with guest WC/wet room shower, fully tiled. On the first floor are three bedrooms, two doubles with fireplaces and a single, plus main bathroom with Jacuzzi bath contrasting with the old high-level Darnley cistern for the loo.

Richard knocked on neighbours’ doors in St Finbarr’s Park to see how they got in stairs to their attics level and borrowed ideas, so now there’s a permanent staircase to this uppermost level, useful as a study area or optional fourth bedroom. Views from this light-flooded room are towards the Lough, via a Velux, and to the CUH from the back.

Arbutus has kept much of its pre-war originality and feel inside, thanks to retained fireplaces and the old hall tiles, but comes across with a modern twist, with creature comforts like a water purifier in the kitchen, a pressurised water hearing system, double glazing and a knock-out, knock-through rear extension.

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