Lower price for high-spec house

BACK when it was built, in the mid-2000s, Ardfionn represented exactly what the market (if not the economy) thinking was – spend away, the only way is up.

Sadly, the country has followed the property market in its tailspin: values , in many regards, have gone out the window.

This exceptional Cork city home, on an elevated, difficult site to develop, cost more to build than its asking reflected back 15 months ago. Now, another slice has been taken off, to the vendor’s chagrin, but to buyer’s gain.

Down from a summer 2009 asking price of €1.1m, to €900,000, this is a 2,800 sq ft home built and equipped to a very high standard, inside and out. Its recently-appointed joint agent, Dennis Guerin, of Frank V Murphy & Co, joining Cohalan Downing, says it cost €1.3m to finish to this level.

Packed with the brand names still commonly seen in quality interiors magazines, it is a two-storey, upside-down house on a sloping, wooded Shanakiel site, above the River Lee, by Wellington Bridge, with wide-ranging views, up river beyond County Hall, and back east towards UCC and the city centre – all of them a walk away.

The build and design is a mix of the traditional and the modern, making the best of the south-facing site’s quirks and aspects, but would-be buyers will have to get their head around the site’s constraints: no grass, for example (the lawnmower would run away downhill), so the site is landscaped with hard surfaces, beds, banks of shrubs, bamboo, tree ferns, for easy maintenance.

The other practical oddity, but a fun one, is the turntable for turning cars in the drive, making it easier to shuffle a few motors in and out, especially given the drive’s steep top section and tight entry curve. Internally, Ardfionn has its living quarters at the upper level, with high, vaulted ceilings, and several open out to swathes of decking for outdoor dining, BBQs, etc.

One of its four bedrooms is at this upper level, and going down to the other three and the family/media room is like entering a womb-like, hotel spa.

Flooring, generally, is marble or oak, while it’s smart-wired for IT and sound, with quality lighting fittings.

The kitchen is by Houseworks, with a gas Aga, Siematic units and Siemens, Neff and Gaggenau appliances.

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