High five for No 6 — it’s leafy, large and very liveable

Tommy Barker finds a three-storey decent-sized family home with a high comfort factor on all of its levels

High five for No 6 — it’s leafy, large and very liveable

A very decent-sized family home, built about nine years ago, it doesn’t immediately jump out in terms of design or architectural excitement, and the decor is on the safe end of the modern spectrum - but what it does, it does really well.

Adapted at the plans stage by its current owners who are relocating for work reasons, it’s got a slightly tweaked or individualised floor plan on each of its three levels, as well as having a sun room/conservatory add-on to the back. So, in overall terms it’s one of the larger (and possibly better) of these generally well-conceived detached homes, modestly designed by architect Richard Rainey.

Location is at Belmont, in Cork’s Garryduff area of Rochestown, and No 6 Jamesmount is one of 20 broadly similar, and lofty, three-storey detached homes built in the grounds of the local Butler family’s Belmont House. The Butlers built other house types, semis and terraceds, lower down on their lands as they slope towards Garryduff sports ground and look over to Garryduff woods — the latter woods, cut through with streams, are being fairly drastically harvested right now, and are perennially popular with walkers, runners and mountain bikers.

Selling agent for No 6 is Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald, who guides it at €610,000, and she acknowledges that at that sort of sum it’s at the upper end of the current market for Rochestown. In fact while the Property Price Register shows a half a dozen-plus Rochestown house sales over the half a million euro mark in 2011, there were just two houses sold in Rochestown in 2012 for over €500,000, both in Clarkes Wood, Mount Oval, at €508,000 and €565,000 — so No 6 is setting its sights high at its €610,000 mark.

When new, these Jamesmount homes sold in the €400,000 to €600,000 price bracket, in a fast-rising new-homes market, and at least one re-sale since went to the €900k level.

No 6 shows very well, and key selling points include the bedrooms’ tally, and the size of the rooms, with not a bad room in the whole place, as well as good landing/circulation spaces on the two upper levels to boot.

But the clincher will be the front reception room, now 24’ wide and 15’ deep, thanks to the single-storey side wing, and the front bay window. It’s just a great space, and its capacity hits you as soon as you open the door off the hall and you see over 20’ away to the far end wall, with French doors at this far corner to a rear sun-room extension.

Agent Ann O’Mahony highlights the flow of accommodation, so that this living room and the sun room behind each link back at different points to the rear kitchen/dining/family room, making it ideal for a party flow of bustling and jostling crowds.

No 6 is getting a good B2 BER energy rating, scoring above an earlier tested B3 level thanks to the recent installation of a highly efficient Boru solid fuel stove in the main living space. Facing the stove are a bank of big sofas, while underfoot is quality Junkers beech flooring, which is in evidence through much of the ground floor level.

The back section of this accommodating house has a big, T-shaped kitchen/dining room stretching back into a family-room extension, with high ceiling in this projecting back room with its good garden views. Also at this house’s lower level is a decent utility, with banks of storage and a wide guest WC, again with Junkers flooring.

There’s feature full-height stained glass panels either side of the hall’s front door, and another larger panel is in situ on the stairs, done in a coastal marine theme, full of deep oceanic greens and blues, complete with depictions of a lighthouse and boats, personally commissioned by the owners from LeadLines at the Shandon Craft Centre when the house was being built; it’s an example of the design thought that went into it day one, say Sherry FitzGerald.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is a nice-sized 18’ by 13’ with large en suite bathroom with lots of mosaic-style blue wall tiling, and alongside is a walk-in wardrobe/dressing room, with landing access.

The owner re-ordered the rooms a bit here at first floor level too, so now there’s two further bedrooms, a double and a single, plus family bathroom with shower over the bath.

Meanwhile up on the next floor (spindles and newels are in hardwood)) are two further bedrooms, each of them doubles, and what’s probably the house’s best bathroom, with separate shower and corner jetted bath.

The landing area up top here is virtually a room in its own right, with enough space for a home office/den or quiet reading space, and there’s a walk-in hotpress. Although the house is tall enough at three-storeys, it goes on again for an attic level for storage.

Even on the dark days of the past week, No 6’s interiors felt bright and warm, with the promise of good comfort levels. The house faces south, so the back garden decking is unfortunately north-facing, but it picks up evening sun, and it’s so big it’s going to accommodate gangs for outdoor dining once spring and summer make an appearance.

Overall site size is a fifth of an acre, and like most of the 20 Jamesmount houses it includes a block-built garden/storage shed.

The back boundary wall is old stone, with mature ash trees at the perimeter (visitors include jays and squirrels, the owners say), with more recent palms and tree fern showing good health despite the last two previous tough winters. Access gates to the back garden, either side of the house are in mahogany, as is the secure railing around the decking — so very Rochestown!

The front garden is landscaped at the perimeter, and brick-paved in the centre with enough off-street parking for several cars, and Jamesmount’s overall impression is of well-kept family homes in this Rochestown cul de sac, with maturing landscaping creating an increasingly leafy feel.

House design in the scheme was by architect Richard Rainey, and the facades include dash, tile and brick. The initial interior design included stepped internal levels between the kitchen/dining room and the family add-on space, with its apex-high ceilings. Here, though, No 6’s owners kept everything on the one level downstairs, for ease of getting around. The main break from the acres of Junkers beech floor (wearing well, too) is the tiling around the kitchen units and island, all of them topped with luscious brown granite. The sun room off the dining section has a carpeted floor, as it’s used as a play room by the house’s current owners and their young family, and this room has a glass roof.

Agents Sherry FitzGerald stress the location’s strengths, with new national school nearby, there’s walks and sports amenities at Garyduff, and the south city ring road’s a mile or so away, either via Clarkes Hill to the Rochestown Road, or via Maryborough Hill.

VERDICT: No 6 Jamesmount doesn’t shout about its wares, but just gets on with its job of offering space and comfort for family living.

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