Quality residence is close to city centre

The ground floor at No 51 Marina Park, says Tommy Barker, can be as open as you like with lots of options to compartmentalise if you wish.

Quality residence is close to city centre

Marina Park, Cork €350,000

Sq m 150 (1,615)

Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 2


Best feature: Tucked away location and smartly extended

THERE’S a whole lot to like at the handsomely-extended No 51 Marina Park, the very last house in at the end of this off-radar park, by the very start of Cork City’s Blackrock Road.

You can see the backs of some of this park’s semi-ds from the amenity green at Kennedy Park (it’s where you’d sometimes see gangs playing American Football) but you have to drive in to see Marina Park’s two dead-legs or cul-de-sacs, home to a few dozen superbly-sited post-war semis, within minutes of the city centre.

Curiously, Marina Park was shared by builders Murrays (who built No 51) and Lanes, and although house numbers notionally go up to 51, there’s less than 40 houses here in all.

It’s likely Lanes had planned to build more, but in the interim the adjoining site off Monahan was developed by Lanes, who had their Cedarlan timber business/yard here, over the wall from No 51.

Re-sales here are very rare: nearby No 49 showed up on the price register as making €180,000 in mid-2013, it then needed a full overhaul, and since No 49’s has been upgraded and extended.

Meanwhile, in absolutely tip-top order, well-ordered and thoughtfully extended is No 51, on a slightly wider site in the park, with a €350,000 price guide indicated by Ann O’Mahony and Paul O’Shea of Sherry FitzGerald, who have open viewings today 2.45-3.30pm, and Wednesday 4.30-5.30pm.

It could make well over its seemingly modest guide, given the quality on offer.

No 51 last changed hands seven years ago when its purchasers gave it a thorough makeover and updating, mostly at ground floor level. The single storey rear extension has a back wall 27’ wide, mostly glass, with sliding doors to a deck/seating space and walled in south-facing garden with distant corner water feature.

Internally, the ground floor can be as open plan as one likes, as the multi-use rear space opens via double doors to the old ‘good’ front room – a cosy, carpeted good room that’s now even better.

Yet, it can be closed off and compartmentalised at will, but the run-through right now of rooms makes it all light, bright and very family friendly.

One of the owners is a quantity surveyor, and the couple put that professional expertise to work in making their changes here. They even drafted in the willing aid of one of their dads (a cabinet-maker in Limerick) to make the solid walnut kitchen units, and other joinery tasks. The same obliging, talented granddad also made a super kiddie playhouse/den, which graces the garden’s back corner, and it’s staying in situ if any new owner wants it.

The floor plan’s good in the ‘main’ house, and No 51 also scores highly on that modern requisite – storage. The original garage has been part-kept, so there’s external access for a half-garage store for bikes, buggies, sports paraphernalia and more, and it’s accessible too from the entry hall, where there’s a useful storage cupboard with boiler. Then, step through to the back living space (there’s some nice timber scroll work on the stairs), and here there is access to the understairs for more storage, while back off the kitchen is a utility room/pantry, leading to a guest WC, all in the back half of the former garage. It’s all well crafted and tucked away, for out of sight/out of mind jobs and bits and bobs.

The simple, yet smartly-conceived extension is where day-to-day life will centre, with a 7.7kw wood-burning stove at one side on a black granite plinth with the kitchen and island (with pinkish granite tops and corner sink) facing, almost 30’ away across the space. Most of the flooring, bar the cream-tiled hall, is in walnut, the timber of choice for much of the internal joinery.

The owners say the stove is so effective, and there’s so much solar gain from the glazing across the back, that they very rarely turn on the zoned central heating. This new extension is flat-roofed, but has a suite of four Veluxes across its width to suck the light deep within, ensuring the slightly enclosed former ‘back’ room is good and bright. It’s sort of used as dining space, and the old fireplace is left in place behind a wooden screen (thanks to the dad,) while the front room has an open cast-iron fireplace, and bay window.

Like much of the rest of the house, there’s recessed lighting, with a few feature pendant lights over the kitchen island. Upstairs are three bedrooms, and even the smallest, a single, is reasonably-sized, while the bathroom’s got a separate shower and bath. Architraves are white deal, stained to match walnut doors, and there’s Stira access to a part-floored attic.

VERDICT: A seamless, seemingly simple job, well executed, with the city centre a trot away.

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