House of the week

If you want to live in a boring box of a home, it’s best to give Woodbrook House a skip; it’s a one-off, bursting with individuality, comfortably provisioned with creature comforts and five en suite bedrooms, architect-designed and all ageing gracefully and on sloping grounds of dense planting, with pergola, pond and privacy.

House of the week

Built back in the pre-boom era on 1995, its owners had built once before (a bungalow) and wanted to make a bit more of a statement second time around and to have an adaptable house for a growing family. Woodbrook very much fulfilled its brief, but now with children grown and profitably employed elsewhere, and retirement secured, it’s just too big for its owning couple, hence this down-sizing sale via Robert O’Keeffe of Irish and European.

The 3,000 sq ft multi-level home is a one-off that responded to a steeply sloping site, on Church Hill in Cork’s Glanmire. It looks out over woodland and down toward the plain spire of the local Church of Ireland St Mary’s and All Saints Church, with the tall, brick-finished house set on a relatively small, scooped-out footprint of its 0.75 acre site, with a wide drive sweeping down to a parking and turing area once past electrically controlled access gates bearing its name and 1995 origins.

Design is by architect James Leahy, and Woodbrook has his signature style of off-standard glazing and break-outs, as well a utilising skilled arts/craft work, such as stained glass in feature settings and by the front doors.

It is very much a split level house, with entry at a middle level, and with a feature hardwood stairwell showcasing the many rooms off. It’s got shared spaces at the entrance/lower ground level, and five upstairs bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms, and that provision of some necessity means that none of the rooms for sleeping are particularly big — though none’s very small either.

And, literally on top of the 3,000 sq ft on the three main levels is a very decent attic conversion, reached gratis of a spiral staircase, and this has been well finished out by the house’s owner, whose several passions include fishing, fly-tying (there’s a study devoted to this skill) and DIY/carpentry. The attic level is essentially in two large sections, with loads of eaves space left for storage, all of it easily reached. (The sale, by the way, includes a table tennis table, installed before the roof was put on. Bar sawing it up in pieces, there’s now no way to get it back down the spiral stairs!)

Living rooms are at the middle level, with a 21’ by 18’ main living space with two windows for floating above the greenery views, complete with wood-burning stove, there’s also a small family/TV room with electric stove, and a study.

Drop down another level, and there’s an airy kitchen with pine units, high ceilings, and a lofty, double-height south-east facing window which floods the space with light. A few steps below is a family/dining room with access to a feature sun room, another double height space with views back up towards the entry level hall, but screened by a timber and glazed wall. Double doors lead from this sun-spot to the garden’s terraces and water feature, with sun-screening at the lower tier now provided by a pergola entwined with foliage.

There’s been a generous hand with the planting, old railway sleepers have been well used and integrated to serve as retaining wall and steps and with the mellowing brick right the way around the house (with contrasting dark green Hele pvc windows) maturity is settling nicely on Woodbrook House.

LOCATION: Glanmire, Co Cork

PRICE: €670,000

SIZE: 280 (3,000 sq ft)

BEDROOMS: 5

BATHROOMS: 6

BER RATING: C1

BEST ASSET: Huge individuality

VERDICT: When built, this lofty home was well ahead. It’s still refreshingly solid and different.

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