Big Fella on the Blackrock Road

Knocknacurra on the upmarket Blackrock Road is twice its original size and stylishly refitted, says Tommy Barker.

A JOBS move unexpectedly brings this massively-extended Blackrock Road family home to market, as the last of the work is done.

The couple who bought Knocknacurra, at the junction of Crab Lane and Blackrock Road, opposite Lindville in Ballintemple, made a career move to Cork from Galway at the Irish property market’s peak, buying here in 2006/07. They started on a prolonged — and costly — renovation, mini-piling/underpinning, interior upgrade and extension that doubled the size, insulated to the last, and with under-floor heating in the enormous family room and kitchen.

With a young family arriving, the renovation took a couple of years — and now they’re moving to Cavan, for a new job. The next owners will have little to do, bar maybe putting their own stamp on the big home, now 2,500 sq ft, up from 1,300 sq ft. Knocknacurra was built by Madge Hales (sister of Michael Collins’ ally, the executed TD and General Sean Hales), and whose Knocknacurra, Bandon family home was burned down in 1921: Michael Collins’ rifle, along with Hales brothers’ memorabilia, hung over the fireplace in this Blackrock Road home for many years.

Now, it has been extended to the side, and to the back, as well as up into the attic, where there’s a further 350 sq ft of space (on top of the 2,500 sq ft) done to domestic standards (ie, insulated, wired, plumbed) with south-facing Veluxes, needing only a stairs for access.

Knocknacurra is with estate agent Jeremy Murphy for €590,000, who says it is a quality home in a great location, within a walk of the city centre, and near schools and suburban services.

The scene-stealer is the David Kiely-sourced kitchen, the spot with potential to be the heart of the home. This is big, with large central island, hand-painted quality wood, curved cabinets and corbels, and worktops topped with large runs of brown-veined and coloured grain matched with oak inserts. It’s a job for life.

Location of this costly kitchen (think tens of thousands of euro) is behind one of the formal front rooms, via glazed double doors, and the kitchen looks out of the over spaces of a linked dining/family room, south-facing, flooded with light, and with zoned under-floor heating ticking away efficiently under large, creamy-beige porcelain floor tiles, which continue their run back down the central hall to the front door.

Because the semi-detached house was effectively doubled in width with a new side extension left of the hall, there are now two front reception rooms, giving a great amount of ground-floor living space.

As there are only three first-floor bedrooms, buyers looking for a fourth bed can easily keep the most private front reception room as a fourth/guest bedroom, served by a ground-floor guest bathroom with large shower tray, one of four showers in the home.

Upstairs, the master bedroom really earns the title ‘extra large,’ with a big, south-facing window overlooking the back garden, and it has a good en-suite bathroom with power shower and a very large walk-in wardrobe/dressing room, well-conceived and with open (but tidy) shelving nicely out of sight.

The family bathroom is big, with separate shower and bath, (there’s not a small room here.)

The next two bedrooms, bright and fresh, are good doubles in size, and the front corner one has both a front and smaller gable window for double aspect, and morning light.

So much of the house obviously feels new because of the extent of the work done, but keeping faith with the house’s age is the retained original staircase with painted handrail and spindles. Paintwork, tiling, carpets, blinds etc, all are fresh and easy on the eye, lighting is a mix of recessed spots and some select, small, quirky chandeliers and pendants, and windows to the front in the bays are Leo West-supplied sliding sash, prompting lots of calls as to who supplied them from passers-by also doing up older homes to higher specifications.

Quite a package internally, Knocknacurra’s on a modest-sized corner site, with front lawn and pedestrian gate to the main Blackrock Road, and has its car access and off-street parking in the rear, graveled back garden/yard, on narrow Crab Lane with its national school at the far end.

VERDICT: Great, comfortable and bright living space inside, but small gardens. It’s been heavily invested in, with ready options for extra bedrooms if needed.

Location: Blackrock Road, Cork

Price: €590,000

Size: 233 sq m (2,500 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3/4

BER rating: B3

Best feature: Great makeover

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