Hey, Cinders! Is No 4 Hill Terrace a bit of a Cinderella house, finally and belatedly recognised for its glories? Quite probably, after its methodical, decade-long refurb by its family owners. But, it also earns the nick-name ‘Cinders’ at another level — down at ground level.
When excavating the original floors downstairs, the owners, and their builders David and Kevin McCarthy, found tonnes of burnt coal used as a sub-floor insulation (bottles were used sometimes too), and it was. they admit, a dirty job to dig out when redoing floors and foundations. It’s proof, though, that the renovations were literally done from the ground right up, to roof level, and the couple, now with four children, also found a carpenter or builder’s signature pencilled in on a roof rafter dated 1909, when it had also previously been reroofed. In between roof and foundations, pretty much everything else got scrutinised, secured and improved by the family in proud occupation — so much so that now the Victorian home has scored an impressive C1 BER.
And, just as all the work comes together, the owners are off again — another challenge beckons. As a result, it’s a January 2014 market offering, listed with West Cork and Ballincollig estate agent Brendan Bowe with a €279,000 guide, for a walk-in job within five minute walk of Bandon’s Main Street, and with views from its many front windows of the river-set town, and its oddly complementary church spires.
This terrace of six, tall three-storey (plus attics) houses is on aptly-named Hill Terrace, near the town’s old military barracks, designed for the officer class and “the alley to the back is just wide and high enough to accommodate a horse!” remarks one of the owners.
They extended an earlier extension, so now there’s 2,100 sq ft of living space, a good mix of reception rooms and four bedrooms (originally these houses had first floor drawing rooms) and the largest space is the capacious rear kitchen/dining/family room, now about 21’ by 21’.
The linked-in front room has an open fireplace for blazing fires, and most windows have working shutters. Other retained and enhanced architectural features include architraves, ceiling plasterwork, tiling etc. Windows were previously replaced, and oil-fired central heating and new insulation, right up to and into the attic has made the place more comfy than at any time in the past two centuries. It’s also been rewired and replumbed, with two upstairs bathrooms and a guest WC plus utility.
“Our chimney also was rebuilt from its foundation this November, and we had planned to do the garden in summer but as neither of us is green fingered we will leave it to the next owners,” say the departing occupants, having left a firm improving hand and finish on No 4.
“We’ll miss the character of the house and the convenience, as it is right in the town, but, it’s on to another house now to make our mark again,” say the woman of this house. (No 6 in the same lofty terrace is also for sale, as a total do-er upper, with a price drop this month from €150,000 to €125k - for those for like what they see here in No 4, and have the energy to try and copy it.)
Estate agent Brendan Bowe says No 4 Hill Terrace is now flawless: so roll up, or ride up, you can leave the horse in the long back garden, with its very old apple tree and large, almost stable-sized shed.
All the hard work, and the prettifying, has been done at handily-set No 4 Hill Terrace, and it’s good to go now for many decades more.