House of the week: Applewood, Blackrock Road, Cork €380,000

SET on a hidden site, just before the start of Cork’s Blackrock Road, is Applewood — a dormer with a difference.

House of the week: Applewood, Blackrock Road, Cork €380,000

Built in the 1990s by an architect as his own home, it sold around the year 2000, and a testament to its design from Day One is that it still feels bang up to date, and just that little bit different.

Way back then, when we last visited, we wrote that “it shows dormers don’t have to be dull” — and that’s exactly how it still feels today. Plus, it’s really extra-bright inside.

Simple enough things like the flow of rooms, and their interconnectedness, as well as easy transitioning from indoors to outdoors with lots of French doors from the main living room alone make it a most comfortable and user-friendly house in the first instance. Then, there’s the location, by the Old Blackrock Road/Victoria Avenue junction, within a walk of the city centre along a choice of routes, with Kennedy Park almost on the doorstep, and the Marina out the way.

Selling agent is Kevin Barry of Barry Auctioneers, who guides at €380,000, and who admits he’s been swamped with request for viewings since he put it on the market. That’s as much down to difference, design and appeal as to the sheer lack of supply on the market in the past few weeks and months.

Mr Barry has been having grouped viewings of four to six people at a time, and by now it has had over 30 parties through the doors, pretty much all of whom are mightily impressed by the package.

If there’s a downside, it is that there isn’t a huge amount of garden as the site was acquired as the one-time back garden of a former local shop: there’s a bit of lawn to the front to be sure, and parking, and behind it’s a bit more constrained — yet, every square foot outside is also maximised.

Viewers are all private buyers to date, with lots of couples and professionals, with the impression there’s cash buyers there too for this, and its appeal crosses the age spectrum — you can imagine an older, trading-down buyer being keen on it.

Original owner was architect Mark Collins of CBA Architecture in Douglas, and he built this after he returned from Australia. He designed it to maximise the light coming in, so glazing placement and shape is important, as well as aspect, and it picks up a good deal of favourable south-west light.

Back when last sold in 2000, it had a shallow pond almost right up to the back door as a landscaping feature, quite Japanese in fact, and it had the effect of sending shimmering water reflections up onto the ceilings of the main living room through the glazed cedar French doors.

The current occupants (it’s gone into second generation ownership in the family) have since done away with the pond, decking over it, and other changes include putting in a stone outdoor fireplace, a stone pizza oven and a food prep in a back garden corner. There’s about 2,000 sq ft of bright quality space here, and while it needs tiny bit of attention in places, and the kitchen’s a tad conservative, it’s otherwise standing up well, not showing any signs of dating in design or functionality.

Its front windows still look contemporary with double Veluxes in front, in the roof and down into the front wall in one bedroom, and behind two other bedrooms have large box dormers, clad in cedar shingles.

Cedar is also used in the windows and French doors, and there’s so much use made of this attractive scented wood that it’s only a surprise the house wasn’t called Cedarwood back when first built: in fact, the equally fragrant Applewood name came from the presence of old apple trees over the boundary wall, which regualry dropped windfalls into this site.

In the past decade or some, there’s been some tree felling around the site, and so now Applewood is a little bit more obvious to passers-by on the road beneath then in its early hey-day — it’s not hiding its light under a bushel of apples.

Selling agent Kevin Barry says if he had a bunch of houses as distinctive, as well located and as well kept, he’d shift the lot of them, given its immediate positive market reaction and response.

He praises the floor plan and aspect and brightness, the fact all four bedrooms are doubles, and the size of the main living area. The main living/dining room is a sizeable 27’ by 13’ alone, with three sets of French doors to the side and back. There’s a well-placed open fire, and dark-stained solid wood floor here, while there’s a separate sitting room to the front, off the double-height hall, plus utility, pantry and guest WC.

Applewood was built in timber frame by specialists Cygnum, with windows by Cedarlan, and it’s achieved a solid, warming C2 BER rating — good, but not as hot as the viewing demand and interest.

VERDICT: Likely to be a quick seller — whereever the bidding takes it, as it’s already at the asking price in bids.

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