House of the week

YOU need to see beyond the wintry November days, the slight smell of damp, and the drab colours, to see the potential in 4 Alexandra Terrace — because the scope to refashion subtly is there in abundance.

YOU need to see beyond the wintry November days, the slight smell of damp, and the drab colours, to see the potential in 4 Alexandra Terrace — because the scope to refashion subtly is there in abundance.

No 4 is end of terrace, of a small cluster of four, up above St Luke’s Cross in Cork city. There’s no mistaking the specific location when you visit the house, every window in front and to the east gable wall has engrossing views of Victorian and Edwardian domesticity, with the city and Rive Lee hoving into view further to the south.

No 4 seems embedded onto its rocky perch, at the end of this quarter of homes built around the 1890s, in the still-glory days of the British military presence, now Collins Barracks. There’s such a commanding view from No 4, it could well have served as a city and river viewing outpost for any occupying forces.

It comes to market now as part of an estate sale with selling agent Andrew Moore, who has a bit of a grá for the real period deals like this. He prizes the fact that it hasn’t really been interfered with down the decades, bar a poor choice of pvc windows, and still has huge architectural detailing and integrity. Case in point is the system of bells for summoning servants to rooms like the bedrooms, drawing room and bathroom — more hot water, Ruby?

But, most of all, Andy Moore loves its double aspect, with windows south and east, lifted even on a depressing winter’s day thanks to its gable windows in key rooms on all three levels. There’s plenty of places here to simply sit, and to watch the world go by from.

It appears to be the most untouched/ original of all four in the terrace, and its three neighbours have been upgraded in the past few years from the visible evidence to the rear, with some interesting architectural interventions going on or recently done, in this short terrace up behind the back of the Ambassador Hotel. Sensitive work on No 4 should complete Alexandra Terrace’s renewal.

It has a guide price of €200,000 plus, and at that level is well within the grasp of architectural aficionados who’ll relish what should be a fairly manageable project ahead.

It’s big, but not overly so, at about 2,600 sq ft, thanks to its three storey return wing, giving kitchen at lower level, bathroom and WC overhead, and a fifth bedroom on the top floor.

Throughout, there are fireplaces aplenty (and the main southerly aspect draws heat in too), but right now it feels like the sort of place that could do with a bit of heat and drying out applied to it.

Yet, there’s no scent or sense of lurking horrors, it all seems honest but needing, well, a good run through with an engineer/ architect, and a small builder in tow.

Aiding or assisting the work that will need to be done is the handy fact of rear lane access to the back garden/ yard, via a garage, so heavy building stuff can have a downhill run to the backdoor (and onwards with the debris, all the way down in front, down the steps to a skip).

Alternatively, getting permission to temporarily breach the 200’ long side rendered and part-dashed stone wall along the property’s boundary would make even lighter work of the heavy work.

Thoughts like those are what will naturally tease viewers of No 4, as you’d nearly itch to get stuck in, and if a place like this shows such potential in mid-winter, imagine how persuasive it would be if offered for sale on a sunny June morning?

It needs heating, insulating, attention to windows and to the bay window too, but has so much going for it, including loads of trendy landscaping options thanks to the site’s shape and slope.

VERDICT: The city’s at your doorstep and the place is crying out for fresh hands.

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