St Mary’s, done by the book

A HOUSE and a half, in more ways than one – that’s what this original, 1940s, suburban semi-detached par excellence is.

St Mary’s, with all the evidence of careful maintenance, has everything going for it – and will have everyone else enviously looking over it.

Originally an above-average-sized semi, with a wing grafted on behind the protruding, attached garage, it has 1,450 sq ft of space, with a great floor-plan, and is eminently and easily extendable out the back (just peep over the fence to see the smart job done right next door). First, the basics – a setting just off the main Douglas Road, within the cul de sac estate of Woolhara: in Cork city’s hierarchical terms, the location is about as good as it gets. Not flashy, just decent.

Next, perfect aspect, with a west-facing back garden – a single-storey extension here will grab light all day long. Plus, throw in a site that’s 160 feet long from front gate to rear old stone wall boundary, and you know you can build away and still have a decent garden left afterwards.

So the size, location and aspect boxes are all ticked: next, the charm offensive.

The front door is sheltered by two gently-curved plastered walls, and opens to an immaculate, unscuffed original solid oak floor.

This hall is big, and a dog-leg shape off to the left makes it extra-big and airy. The hall’s side wall is home to shelves of old books (in fact, a quick nose in the garage, with its original sliding doors pulling back on steel tracks, reveals a sign for the former Lee Bookstore. You don’t need to be a detective novel fan to figure out that St Mary’s vendors were in the book trade, the evidence is everywhere, neatly shelved.

Windows to the front are the original steel frames, with brass handles and appear in good order. Fireplaces in the two reception rooms are tiled, in perfect nick, and similarly the kitchen floor tiles are mint, relics of their time. Worktops are worn formica, draining to a ceramic Belfast-style sink. Some viewers will cherish this originality, and work with it, others will want to make sweeping changes

The bathroom is at the back on the stair return by what might be called the annexe, but in truth this extra portion of house under a proper pitched roof keeps the hall and landing airy and open.

Up on the main first floor, there are two good double bedrooms, one smaller one (with access to dormer eaves storage), and a single. St Mary’s has been underpinned with drains work done a number of years ago, and gas central heating is in place. There’s a shed to the back of the house, and the garage is convertible, but great to have as it stands.

Agent Dennis Guerin of Frank V Murphy & Co guides St Mary’s at €550,000, and he starts viewings today, 12 to 1pm. Bidding will be competitive, take that as a given.

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